Summer brings out two vastly diverse species of sports persons wielding sticks, and I’m not referring to hockey and lacrosse. I’m talking about fishing poles and golf clubs.
While not impossible, it is a rarity to find a golfer who enjoys the rigors of fishing and vice versa. If you happen to do both, good for you. But by and large fisherpersons fish and golfers golf. That is the way the world was created.
Logistics demand it. Both sports require patience and time. Lots of time. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to both fish and play golf. So one must choose. To golf or to fish: that is the question. Unless you need no sleep. But most of us do.
Along with being time hogs, the two activities share a number of commonalities.
The first is money. Both sports can get expensive if you are going to dive in hook, line and sinker. You’ve got to have the right equipment and dress the part. For a fisherperson, this can involve a lucky shirt, lucky hat, a rod, reel, bait, tackle box, life vest and boat. For a golfer, it often includes one glove, lots of clubs, even more balls, double that on tees, a visor, special shoes, a polo shirt, goofy looking pants or maybe knickers and a golf cart, if you are really serious about the sport.
Competitiveness and (dare we say) a propensity to perhaps exaggerate one’s abilities and success on the green or on the water are also par for the course. The way this is demonstrated differs between the two, however. With golf, the scores inexplicably inch lower while with fishing the inches of “the one that got away” grow higher.
Both involve water. Fisherfolk are on the lake. Golfers can be in the drink. With golf, the aim is to put a tiny ball into a tiny hole. With fishing it is to put a big fish into your big boat, or dinghy, if your boat’s not that big. Size matters to fisherman, but only when it pertains to the size of the fish. Size isn’t as important in golf. Accuracy and power of drive lead to success or maybe even a hole in one.
Both activities give you access to fresh air. They involve patience and a steady hand, and all it takes is one great shot or one great catch to make the entire day, well, great.
Golfers and fisherpeeps are known for their litany of excuses when things don’t go as hoped. The wind shifted. The sun was in my eyes. Too many clouds. Wrong ball. Wrong bait. A bad hook. Lost my ball in the drink. Lost my lure in the lake. Sand trap. Sand bar. Lousy swing. Lousy cast. Lousy weather.
The sports also share some of the same terms, albeit with different meanings. Golf involves the dreaded worm burner. Some fisherfolks dread the worm baiting.
In golf a hook is a bad thing. In fishing it is a sharp thing. In golf a birdie is a good thing. In fishing it is a flying thing that may or may not be in competition with a fisherperson for said catch of the day– especially if it is an eagle or albatross. When fishing you hope to catch a lunker. With golf you hope to avoid the bunker.
Golfing and fishing. They are as different as they are the same. And they give us a reason to get outside and enjoy a tiny hook or a tiny white ball, depending on your preference.
And, despite the many comparisons, there’s one difference between golfing and fishing that cannot be overlooked:
No matter how hard you try, you can’t eat golf balls for dinner.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.