The relationship between a person and the sport they play has always fascinated me. Some people play sports in high school then quit while others seem to continue to play a sport for most of their lives. Another thing that I find interesting is the fact that playing a sport is actually a job for some people. I always feel as if no matter how long you play a sport and no matter what sport, there has to be a connection between you and the game. Something that releases you every time you play.
I met Sam at a semester away program in New York City, where we soon discovered that one of the things we had in common was the sport (in fact, we realized that we had actually been to some of the same school tournaments). Sam has a love for the sport that amazes me-- he shipped his clubs up to New York, he wrote a paper about golf, he always seems to be out on the range practicing, and he enjoys various parts about the sport.
I have been golfing with Sam a few times (he is super good at it and a very determined player) and the sport always seems to make him happy. We decided to set a day (actually ended up being two days) to shoot some photos that would later turn into a small series of photos titled 18 Holes.
So why golf?
"It's important because it helps me think outside of my own mind. I sometimes let myself get trapped inside my head, and that's a box that's really hard to open. It helps when I have four miles of golf course as an outlet for all of my pent up anxiety, and I feel like I have so much more room to breathe, both mentally and physically. "
"It makes me happy because it's an outdoor activity on a beautiful piece of land that is like no other. It's so mentally challenging, because there are so many numbers and there is no running clock; basically, no split-second decisions. But it's also physically challenging; I mean, you have to hit a ball that is 1.68 inches in diameter with a club that is more than three feet long at a hole that is about four inches wide. It's a game of numbers and a game of absolute physical precision, all played on a unique stretch of perfectly manicured land."
"It helps when I'm stressed out because it's really hard to focus on playing well and on whatever is stressing me out at the same time. If I start playing poor golf, that takes over my thoughts; I start to think about the way I'm playing rather than the thing that was stressing me out before I started playing."
"The best part about golf is that the way you play every shot is determined not by the rules of the game but by the requirements of the course, which makes the sport unique. No two courses are the same, and no two rounds are the same, and no two holes are the same, and no two shots are the same. The shot that I am hitting, in that moment, has never been hit before and will never be hit again. And that's pretty cool."
Thanks to Sam
- Mercer Malakoff