Three Questions: Golf Phenomenon

By Marianne Neifeld

I remember my mother-in-law telling me years ago that she didn’t want to be a “golf widow,” so she took up golf. “I never would have seen my husband otherwise,” she said. As it turned out, she, too, became obsessed.

Now my husband has inherited the golf gene. I was clueless to the golf mania that would come in his later years. A little golf here and there turned into golf at every opportunity.

True, there are golfers who are level-headed about their sport, but those obsessed seem to have a different view of the world. While the rest of us live on planet Earth, they seem to be living on one giant golf ball. Everything is golf, revolves around golf, and should be golf.

Doug Wiltsie, PGA professional and head golf pro at Red Hook Golf Club, started playing golf at age 12 with his father, a big influence in his golf career.

“I have yet to wake up in the morning and want to roll over and go back to sleep. I look forward to every day,” he said. “My wife and I love living in Red Hook; it doesn’t get any better than being able to have a job in the community you love.”

Doug Wiltsie
Doug Wiltsie

The Questions
Here’s what Doug has to say about the golf phenomenon…

To what do you attribute golf’s popularity?

Golf does not discriminate on the basis of age or skill level. If you are capable of swinging a golf club, you are able to enjoy the game. My 2-year-old son hits golf balls every day. I also see people in their 80s and 90s at the golf course daily. Whether you shoot even par or 100, it can still be enjoyable. Golf is definitely a unique sport. What other sport is there where a 14-year-old girl and 85-year-old man can compete against each other?

Why are some golfers so obsessed with the game?

There are an infinite number of reasons for why people are obsessed with the game. For many, it is the thrill of competition; for others, it’s a chance to spend time with family or friends in the outdoors; for some, it is the never-ending challenge to get better.

What’s your No. 1 tip for people who have to live with golfers?

Go out and try it. Over my years in golf, I have come across many people who said, “I don’t understand why anyone would want to chase a ball around all day.” Out of those people who tried it, an overwhelming number of people enjoyed it as well. You may not understand golf until you try it.

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