Fort Mill Times

Sehl: What makes golf so addictive?

We hear often that golf is 75 percent mental. Let me disagree completely. The attraction to golf, the hook if you will, that keeps us coming back for more, isn’t mental.

It’s in the senses. Like how ice cream (real ice cream) or cake (made the old-fashioned way with sugar) grabs us in the taste buds.

A golf shot grabs us in the senses. The feel of the club compressing the golf ball is the true allure of golf.

I don’t believe for a minute that Ben Hogan would have hit golf balls every day for hours at a time if he wasn’t addicted to the feel that he got from a perfectly struck shot.

No one, not even the great Hogan, puts him or herself through torture if there isn’t a pay-off somewhere along the way.

Which brings me to another point. Many golf authors say you can’t teach feel.

Or feel isn’t real. It is the science or the geometry of golf that must be taught. Let me disagree again. If a student isn't taught to feel compression, they will quit the game.

Most quitters smokescreen the issue by saying they didn’t have time, or it cost too much, or they just didn’t like it. Unfortunately, they never learned the feel of a chip, or pitch, or full shot that was really compressed.

Ask yourself this question: “Would I continue playing the game of golf if every shot felt terrible, even though my scores were always in the low 70s?”

Teaching feel is giving someone the reward that sends them to the practice tee and the course with optimism. The kind that you hear after a round, “I didn’t score well today; but man did I hit some solid shots today.”

You hear this from Tiger Woods and you hear it from any beginner who learns to compress the ball.

So if you fit into that category that golf isn’t as much fun as you thought. Or it was fun, but isn’t anymore, find a professional who can teach you how to compress a golf ball.

The feel will cause the same delicious sensations as that German chocolate cake your grandmother made, the one with no artificial flavors.

Ed Sehl is a PGA teaching professional at the Tega Cay Golf Club. His website is