Your mother, spouse or annoyingly precocious 8-year old sister have probably issued you several stern warnings about drinking and decision making. Fortunately, those warnings don’t apply to golf. In fact, it has been proven that drinking alcohol on the golf course can have a positive effect on your game. We explored the phenomenon further.
19th Holes Exist For A Reason
Golf is not the game to play if you’re going to be a worrywart. University of Chicago professor Sian Beilock has been studying stressed out athletes for years and says that one of the most potent killers of your game is overthinking. She observed a lot of adult golfers and contrasted their performance with that of your average 10-year old. Results showed that the 10-year old often fared much better because of a little thing called the prefrontal cortex. As a child, your prefrontal cortex is not yet developed and you therefore rely much more on your senses. You react faster, you go with the flow. Most adults cannot do so to the same degree.
What an overdeveloped prefrontal cortex looks like
Alcohol is an effective means of returning to this childlike state. After a few drinks, your interfering brain takes a back seat and allows you to become a creature of instinct. There is no social filter to stop you from acting on your urges and in a context that requires you to take decisive action, this primal state can make all the difference between winning or losing, eating or being eaten alive. Ask the guy who downs his beer before asking out that beautiful girl, the nervous businessman who buys a shot before his presentation or Rod Pampling, who broke a course record on a hangover.
Reaping The Positive Effects
Alcohol has a positive effect on your physiology on the course. Anyone who’s ever been jittery on the course knows how unpleasant it is to try to hit a ball when you’re gripping the club too tightly with sweaty palms and your swing is so stiff that your ball barely travels. If you’ve ever had a cold beer or two in this unenviable state, you’d also know that your stance and grip become a lot looser and your swing much wider and more relaxed. This is because alcohol literally bleeds the tension from your body. What happens is that your central nervous system is numbed, causing the muscles in your body to become relaxed.
Creating Harmony In The Body
While numbness doesn’t necessarily sound like a good thing, especially with respect to preventing injury, you may be surprised to find that it can actually protect you from damage. A Russian man survived two jumps from his fifth floor apartment with only cuts and bruises, thanks to the three bottles of vodka raging in his system. Because he was so physically relaxed, he didn’t tense up before hitting the ground, which is actually the perfect strategy for preventing your limbs from snapping upon impact. While you’re probably never going to break a limb on the golf course, we can imagine that relaxing your muscles significantly reduces the strain on them.
Life (Including Golf) Is About Having Fun
Alcohol will do nothing but aid you in your primary purpose of playing golf: to have fun. Although it may seem like a solitary game, golf is very social in nature and is a great way of connecting with business partners, friends and family. If you’re going to be interacting with others, social lubricant is never a bad idea. Your raucous fun times will create a host of unforgettable moments that you’ll all treasure forever, which is exactly what you want when you’re indulging in such an expensive hobby. When you’re shelling out $10,000 for a membership and $1,500 for golf balls alone per year, you want to be enjoying yourself.