What I Love About Playing Golf

There are so many things I love about playing the game of golf.

I love the nature. I grew up outside of St. Louis in small town Barnhart, Missouri on 33 acres of mostly wooded land. My Dad was a high school math teacher and my Mom taught middle school math, science, and art. We had a bunch of farm animals and our closest neighbors were over a quarter mile away, so my brother and I spent a lot of time by ourselves in nature growing up. Playing golf and seeing all the various animals on the course brings me back to those childhood memories.

I love the practice. When I was growing up, one of my favorite things to do was practice sports. I would come home from school and one of the first things I’d do would be to go shoot free throws on the court my Dad built us. Or in the summer, I’d pitch buckets of baseballs from a homemade mound over a wooden home plate into a tarp draped over a chicken wire backstop with cedar posts. Today I still get that same type of satisfaction hitting tennis balls against a ball machine or in golf with hitting driving range balls or working on my short game. There’s something about practice that really grabs me and makes me lose track of time.

I love the solitude. I’m an introvert by nature and I recharge when I’m by myself. This serves me well in golf and also feeds into my love of practice because in order to be really good, you have to spend time alone just working on your game. So, when I practice alone, not only am I recharging my batteries, I’m also building skills as a player.

That being said, I do still like being around people. In fact, one of the other things I love about professional sports is the vibe of the crowd. I was fortunate enough to be in left field when Mark McGuire hit his then record 70th home run. Every single pitch, the entire stadium would light up with camera flashes and there was this anticipation in the air that exploded when that ball cleared the fence. I love the electricity of that atmosphere and respond to it when I’m in it as a player. Some of my best moments in sports and golf have come when the cameras are on and crowds are there watching. Golf gives me a chance to be around people and in that atmosphere, yet still be thriving by myself and doing my own thing.

Jaacob Bowden hits his tee shot on a Par 3 during British Open qualifying in England

I love the inner reflection. For me, golf is a very spiritual journey. I’ve worked with a mental coach for many years and I really enjoy shining the light inward and pulling apart the fears that come up in varying degrees for all of us as humans, whether that be a fear of success, a fear of failure, wanting to be liked or loved, being vulnerable in front of others, and more.

Jaacob Bowden watches the sunset in Jacksonville, Florida

I love the travel. Who knows where my life would have been had I not answered that call at the PGA Championship to leave my corporate job and pursue a golf career. But because I took that leap of faith, golf has since taken me around the world, from North America, to Europe, to Africa, to the Middle East, to Asia, and to Australia.

Jaacob Bowden plays the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai

I love the sunsets. I’ll play at any time of day, but my favorite time to play is late in the day and at dusk followed by taking in the sunset. I remember when I was in Alaska for a US Open Qualifier one May, dusk lasted what seemed like forever and you can play until after midnight if you want.

What do you love about playing the game?