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golf will never fail you

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

“I knew the day would come when the American businessman would relax and want some game to play, and I knew that game would be golf. I read about the start of golf in the United States, and knew there would be a great future in it, so I learned all I could about the game: teaching, playing, club-making, greenkeeping and course construction. And then I came to America to grow up with a game in which I had complete confidence.
Golf has never failed me.”

- Donald J. Ross, Golf has Never Failed Me

To myself circa Spring 2005,

“Golf has never failed me.” You are currently of the attitude that Donald J. Ross was crazy. You are of the mindset that you would die a happy person if you were to never play another round of golf. You think the childhood version of you, who loved golf and found the game’s pursuit spiritual, was immature. Stemming from several years of a college golf experience that cannot be understood if not experienced firsthand, you are lost and you cannot help but think golf has failed you.

I tell you this, it has not.

You are about to tour Ireland with Matt Considine and, for that time between the seaside first tee at Royal County Down and the clubhouse situated eighteenth green at Royal Portrush, recover the spirit of the game. But you will not know why, and stateside you will not recapture that spirit. You will return to feeling lost. Each time you yell fore from a tee box, every time you are looking for a lost ball in the woods, and with every three-putt you will return to wondering why you even peg it to begin with.

I wish I could tell you that you will soon recapture that spirit you felt in Ireland. You will not. It will take time, but I write to tell you to take comfort. When you recover the spirit of golf it will burn stronger than ever before. Your soul will be fed with course design and architecture. Your mind will be ignited by performance data and analytics. Your heart will be filled through the invaluable friendships golf has given you. Your interest will be captured by the game and all it has to offer.

You will realize that you saw the game for something it is not. You came to see it as a job. You came to see it as a sport. You came to see it as a grind and an identity. It became important, incredibly important. It became absent of companionship and interest. It became anything but a game. I tell you this, those experiences and feelings will shape you for the better. Those experiences will lay the foundation for you to understand that golf will never fail you even after you have failed it. In the words of Robert Hunter:

“Golf beats us all, and that is the chief reason we shall never cease loving her, nor ever give up our attempt to subdue her.”


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