1. Every course is different
There is no major sport where differences in the playing fields are as significant as they are in golf. Not to underplay the significance of thousands of screaming home-field fans, all baseball fields, basketball courts, and tennis courts are near-identical compared to the dramatic differences among golf courses. Even on the same course, the conditions, pin placement, and tee placement vary from round to round. There are well over half a million different golf holes existing in the world, meaning you could theoretically play a full 18-hole round every day from the time you’re a toddler until you turn 90 and never play the same hole twice.
2. Don’t trust TV
Golf on TV is boring, yes — I won’t argue with you there. The reason, ironically, is that it’s actually faster-paced than golf IRL. To cover dozens of players all swinging simultaneously, telecasts have to cut from one player to another in a way that totally disrupts the flow of the game; it’s like watching a driving range. It’s as if dozens of storytellers were speaking at once, but a camera kept cutting among them so you only got to hear the crucial plot points of the top several stories. Televised golf is to played golf as CliffsNotes are to novels.
3. There is a clock ticking — even if there’s not
There’s no shot clock in golf, but that doesn’t mean there’s no pressure. As soon as you take a shot, you’re already thinking about the next one, while also keeping tabs on what your fellow-opponents are doing. By the next time it’s your turn to shoot, all eyes are on you, watching (ideally) in respectful silence while you take your stance. You can feel those eyes burning, waiting for you to take a deep breath and swing your club.
4. You have only yourself to blame
Or thank! In football you can get blitzed, in soccer you can get tricked, but in golf your performance is entirely up to you. The drama is between your ears, but that doesn’t make it any less intense.
5. You get to hit things farther than in any other sport
That’s got to be worth something, right? There’s a reason that when Alan Shepard went to the moon, he didn’t bring a pigskin or a Frisbee: he brought a motherfucking golf club. He knocked the ball two-and-a-half miles away — and that was just with a six-iron!