Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Why Golf and Triathlon are Alike

Tazer and I finish our initial golf lessons at the Downers Grove Golf Club tonight. Laima starts her lessons Thursday, and a new round of lessons await Gaigai and me next week. I've played golf on and off (mostly off) since senior year of High School, have always enjoyed it, but was never any good due to my propensity to just whacking away at the ball. This time I'm approaching it in a more mature manner, being relaxed, and getting some lessons. Starting up golf reminded me of my initial foray into triathlon (which I also flailed away at for several years), and I got to thinking about how much golf and triathlon are alike.

Golf and triathlon? Alike? Yup.

Both sports have three main components to its execution. Triathlon has swim/bike/run, while golf has tee/fairway/green. In both cases, you don't have to excel at any one of the facets, but be consistently good in all three. You've got to practice to improve in both sports - running off the bike for the first time will humble even the strongest runners. Both sports require mental toughness, whether it's standing on the first tee in front of a crowded 19th Hole or facing your first OWS.

Like Golf, Triathlon is cost prohibitive. You don't NEED the newest fancy equipment, but it APPEARS that it will improve your game. And, to a certain point, it will. Some years ago, friends of my wife gave us an old Bridgestone road bike, which I had refurbished to act as my first road/tri bike. It was a quality steel bike, well-made and a classic. Fast-forward to several years ago. While ogling bikes in my LBS, I noticed a full carbon Look 555 with Campy components, weighing not much more than a feather, on sale for a ridiculously low price (all things being relative). There is no question in my mind that I am a far superior cyclist on the Look (not that it's saying much), compared to that old Bridgestone. Sometimes new, quality materials improve your performance, yes they do.

In both sports, three basic tenets will lead to success. Practice, plan for success (viualization), and play to your strengths - completing the course will be the more enjoyable for it.


  1. I was actually involved in a conversation about this the other day-good point with the 3 aspects of the game as compared with tris.

  2. Huh, I thought golf actually went tee-beer-fairway-beer-green-beer...

  3. Looking forward to more lessons - and golfing with the family!

  4. Bravo. You've far exceeded you own previous record for executing well hidden passive-aggressiveness. Nicely played.

    Do I think golf is a sport? Sure, but only because I'll respect tradition and accept that many years ago, it was decided that people who partook in Golf, along with Fox Hunting and Archery, were deemed "Sportsman". But that's pretty much where the comparison ends.

  5. interesting, never thought of it that way. too bad you cant drink beer during a tri, that would ROCK! also...both are ridiculously time consuming! im finding i cant do both at the same time, not enough hours in the day

  6. Great to hear you will be going for nice 4 hour walks.

    Also remember, if you spend an hour practicing your swing, spend an hour practicing your putting.

    Par 4 - 1st shot fairway, 2nd shot green, 2 putts.

    1/2 the game is putting.


  7. Nice little analogy you got going. I do like country club bathrooms better than porta potties, though. Free tampons and all.

  8. but where's the similarity in the throwing . . . . whenever pita plays golf there is the throwing of clubs.

  9. Emz, I've seen dudes throw bikes...

  10. I love this analogy! How about this one too--both take their sports way too seriously? I can say this 'cause I am a lapsed (but soon to be again) triathlete.

  11. Great comparison. Too much thinking in golf though.

  12. Well... I guess I'll give mental toughness. You can do a lot of self-beating with the pressure of everyone watching you tee off/etc. Heck I get worked up when I "play" and the group behind me is "watching" me.

    Now all we need is an ironman video game... Or adulterous scandal.


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