It’s spring, the daffodils are starting to peek and golf is in the air. I have dusted off my golf clubs and given them a clean, paying particular attention to the seldom-used sweet spots. I’m not a good golfer, but it gets me out the house and is sociable. I play about a dozen times a year.

I started to think whether there’s any connection with my writing. Could the golf inspire my writing? Could my writing inspire my golf?

  1. The more you practice, the better you’ll get.
    • No matter how bad you are at golf, if you get out there and play once a week or once every couple of weeks then by the end of the summer, you’ll be a better player. It’ll improve your fitness, health and flexibility. And you’ll feel good for the achievement. You’ll be able to measure your progress, your improvement.
    • No more to be said, you get it. Write often, write everyday. You’ll get better and you’ll feel good.
  2. There are techniques to learn
    • Golf lessons are helpful. I’ve taken a few over the years. They get you out of bad habits. They teach you how to hit the ball more cleanly.
    • There are techniques for writing too. I’m trying to write fiction. Writing courses help. Read articles, read books, practice your style, analyse your content and improve its structure. (See, thanks to Roz Morris, I didn’t put the apostrophe in its, that’s a simple improvement I’ve made ☺ )
  3. Hit the ball harder
    • One of my friends hits the ball harder than me. His ball goes further. It’s that simple. Easily explained but tricky to achieve.
    • When you write, try typing faster. You’ll get more written. I find that my writing brain is faster than my fingers. Is that the case with you? And I don’t just mean you should write faster WITH mistakes – I mean proper clean fault-free typing, WITHOUT the back-space key. That’s the hard bit. Just type faster properly and you’ll get more done.
  4. Join a club.
    • I have never joined a golf club. I can’t commit to the time and the cost, or I won’t commit. What does that say? Many people do make that commitment and their golf improves as a result.
    • I am in a couple of writing groups. They make me write, they help me to learn, they keep me honest. Join one, it really helps. It’s commitment.
  5. Equip yourself properly.
    • I need a new driver. Do I? Can I justify that? Would my golf really improve that much? Well, to a point, yes I think it can. The right gear is right for a reason. It doesn’t have to be that expensive, but it does have to be reasonable.
    • For my writing, I use Scrivener, plus a number of other bits of software I could make the subject of a separate blog. The right tools do help. If you want to use a paper notebook, make it a good one, with a good pen. Go on, spoil yourself, you’re worth it.
  6. Go in the right direction – keep the ball straight
    • The idea of golf is to hit the ball toward the pin, usually in as straight a line as possible, avoiding obstacles on the way. Heading off into the rough is not a good idea, and you can easily lose your ball completely.
    • How many times do you write off down a cul-de-sac? Have a plan, write with a purpose and direction. I like to try to do that, so as to avoid my writing rough and lose my plot. I hate wasting scenes. I think with practice that I should actually waste a bit more than I do (kill your darlings and all that) but overall, a goal helps. Aim for the pin.
  7. Putting
    • A good golfer practices his/her putting. Half your shots in a round of golf are on the green. It’s not all about hitting the ball a long way, sometimes it’s about the finesse of short-range accuracy.
    • For me, good writing has a healthy dose of close-up detail. As a reader, those details help me to build a picture of the scene. The flaking paint on a wall, the musty smell in an unventilated cellar, the tiny laughter lines around her mouth, the little inflexions of green in her blue eyes, the way he pushes his glasses back up his nose, anything that draws attention to the very smallest detail helps you visualise better.
  8. Take it seriously.
    • Even as a fun hobby, golf is more rewarding if taken seriously. Some will say that the whole ethos of golf is quite stuffy with the smartness of dress required and the etiquette around the course, but all this helps to make for better play.
    • If you’re a writer, be a writer. Tell people you are and don’t make excuses. I’m writing a novel. It’s not a grand design, or on my life’s wish-list: it’s real, underway and in the execution phase. If it’s to be good, I need to behave as a professional writer with the etiquette that requires.

What are your experiences with golf? Could they help your writing?