There’s always a match taking place at my golf club. Five-dollar Nassaus get traded more than bad jokes. Even though nobody gets rich, the stakes feel high. That’s what pride will do to a golfer. Everyone wants to be a winner. Most will never lift the club championship trophy, but they can earn the feeling of getting paid by their opponent on a weekday evening in the grill room. Abe Lincoln’s face neatly folded in your wallet is a fine reward for sticking it to a friend. It always stings though when you have to hand over the cash. That’s why the matches matter. Having a little on the line will make you play harder. We inflate the importance of a five-dollar Nassau in order to feel a fraction of the nerves that come from larger events. Those three-foot putts on a Thursday night might not mean much in the grand scheme but they matter in the moment. The shots you pull off when playing against your pals become the basis for confident swings down the road. It’s good to turn up the pressure. It’s fun to play for money. We all get a little better five dollars at a time.
If you enjoy these musings, you’ll probably like my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf. It debuted earlier this year as the #1 new release golf book on Amazon.