Ditch The Treadmill #1: Urban Golf

Sick of the tedium of gyms I embarked upon a one woman mission to try every alternative way of getting fit, from fighting to flying. I've had a ball...
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Sick of the tedium of gyms I embarked upon a one woman mission to try every alternative way of getting fit, from fighting to flying. I've had a ball...

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I hate gyms. They are to exercise what margarine is to food. They take something that should bring you a huge amount of happiness – using your body – and they ruin it. Instead of running in the fresh air, or climbing, or learning a martial art, or playing underwater hockey (it exists), too many of us are staring, dead-eyed at GMTV from a treadmill, cut off from the neck down. Cut off from one of life’s most vital experiences. Using your body shouldn’t be a chore. It should be a joy – like food, or sex, or sleep.

Basically, if it’s not fun, you’re not doing it right. Or perhaps you’re not doing the right thing. So I’ve made it my mission to explore all the wonderful things that there are to do instead of paying £50 a month to bore yourself silly.

Let’s start with Urban Golf, shall we?

Before last night, I thought they were a myth, but now I may well be one myself: a female who doesn’t find golf unfathomably dull. I honestly thought that being in possession of a set of ovaries somehow made enjoying the game a biological impossibility.

Using your body shouldn’t be a chore. It should be a joy – like food, or sex, or sleep.

Like understanding why it might be necessary to spend £4k on a bicycle that weighs less than a pencil sharpener just to commute 3 miles to work.

Don’t get me wrong, I still wouldn’t watch it on the telly unless I was shackled to a chair with my eyes stapled open, but I very much enjoyed my trip to the inner city driving range in Shoreditch.

As far as I can tell, this has many of the best bits of golf (whack a ball as far as you can) without the challenging things (forage for your ball in a prickly hedgerow, break in to a fit of sand-covered rage in a bunker, be forced to walk 18 holes whilst having a conversation about the relative merits of a BMW versus an Audi).

It’s a great way to spend an hour or so if you ever find yourself at a loose end around Liverpool Street. If you work in that part of town it’d be the perfect lunch break unwinder. Just turn up, hire some balls and clubs, and play.

I was fortunate enough to have a friend with me who is practically a pro, so he taught me the correct grip and all that stuff. I wasn’t what you might call good, but I wasn’t as shockingly bad as I am at nearly all other ball sports.

He tells me the next step is to attempt 9 holes on an actual golf course somewhere. I’m slightly concerned about the ovary effect, but I’ll give it a go. Might take a hip flask though, just in case.

This article first appeared at www.ditchthetreadmill.net

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