THIS month sees the official start to the golf season.
It’s the time when "preferred lies" come off the course, meaning you can no longer pick up your ball up and put it in a better place and the first monthly medal of the year is held.
Hackers and single figure handicappers alike are dusting down their trusty weapons of choice ready to do battle once again with the unrelenting golf courses around Huddersfield.
Whether you are just starting out in the game or have been playing since you were knee-high to a grasshopper, there’s no getting away from the fact that golf is an extremely frustrating occupation.
It has reduced grown men and women to tears, expletives and random acts of violence as clubs are smashed into the ground, snapped in half or flung away in temper tantrums when the little white ball didn’t do just what you wanted it to do.
So why do we golfers look forward to the new season so much? Why do we subject ourselves to many hours of irritation and disappointment, only to be ultimately thwarted year after year?
Far more sensible are the people who play football. At least you can blame your team mates when you lose. Or walking, now there’s an excellent hobby. We’re surrounded by beautiful countryside, so what better way of passing a relaxing day than going for a stroll over the hills and stopping off at the pub for lunch? Angling is a serene pastime – endless hours spent dozing on a chair at the side of a canal or river with the prospect of a catch at the end of it.
The problem with golf is that once you’ve made the mistake of learning to play you are hooked. It’s an addiction. Golfers are addicted to hope. The belief that you can hit the perfect shot and one day you will hit a whole round of perfect shots and beat the course and everybody else. Of course, it never happens.
My advice to anyone who has not taken up the sport is simple: don’t. Not unless you want to spend a high proportion of the rest of your life pounding balls at the driving range or sitting in the clubhouse ruing the unlucky bounce or the putt that lipped out.
To outdoor hobbyists everywhere, I wish you a good season. To golfers, you have my commiserations.