Most people play 18 holes of golf and call it a day. Thirty-six if you’re trying to play all four courses at Bandon Dunes in a weekend.
But once a year, that isn’t enough. What if you could take a good thing and literally spend all day doing it? Tee off at first light, play all day, and don’t quit until they turn the sprinklers on. (We’ve even used glow-in-the-dark balls to get two more holes in.)
Golf is a serene walk in the park with friends with plenty of time to think—about your last shot, about your next shot, and about life. When you play 84 holes, you have a lot of time to think.
Here are some life lessons I recorded in a journal entry after playing golf from dawn to dusk.
- Know what you’re optimizing for. When you have an end in mind, you know how to make decisions along the way to optimize your results. For example, are you trying to play as many full rounds of golf as possible, are you trying to play as many holes as you can, or are you just out to have fun? When you get backed up behind a couple of slow-playing groups on your third (or was it fourth?) round of the day, your strategy determines whether you wait patiently for the group ahead of you to get out of range, skip ahead a couple holes and circle back later, or go back and replay the last hole. (This time, you’re going to try to drive the green. You’ve been wanting to see if you can carry the water all day…)
- Set things out the night before. Sometimes, you need to leave the house while your brain is still in bed. Instead of trying to think through the fog, set out what you need the night before, when you can think clearly and aren’t rushed. Pack what you can in the car ahead of time. You’ll leave with everything you need, have a better breakfast, and show up at the course relaxed and ready to warm up.
- It doesn’t hurt to ask for a deal. Businesses have three kinds of offers: those which they advertise and everyone knows about, those which are “off-menu” and only available if you know to ask for them (I’m looking at your animal-style fries, In-and-Out…), and the one-off situations that get handled on a case-by-case basis because it’s just not something that anybody does that often. You might have to agree to certain conditions, like committing to have a certain number of players show up. Their person who answers the phone may be authorized to make a deal; you might have to speak with a manager or owner. Maybe you’ll get a deal, maybe you won’t. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
- Work from a list. Checklists are powerful because they are simple and they work. A checklist will help you get consistent results whether you do something daily or once a year. When you realize that you should have brought sunscreen, a USB battery pack for your phone, or a change of socks for when you join your ball in the water hazard, write it down. You’re not going to remember it next time, but a gear checklist will.
- If the point is to have fun, relax. Bobby Jones, an amateur golfer who co-founded the Masters Tournament and Augusta National Golf Club, once said that golf is a game that is played on a five-inch course—the distance between your ears. When you make a mistake—and you will—frequently—you can’t let it get in your head. You’ll get frustrated and ruin your day.
Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly at first. Stick with it. Your first tee shot of the day isn’t going to be your best. It won’t be your worst, either.
You’re going to meet others who wish they could do what you’re doing. The only difference between you and them is that you decided to do it.