What’s Golf for People Like Me?

June 08, 2018

My father belongs to a generation of men (and some women) who, if the weather is right, leave work for a few hours to play a round of golf in the middle of the day. For as long as I can remember my father has been participating in this hobby which was always tangential to conducting business.

My father is an insurance man, so through golfing he builds relationships that eventually lead to a life insurance policy. But he doesn’t just golf with other insurance agents, he golfs with doctors and dentists, city council people, contractors, business owners, and more. All co-mingling and building their social network and social capital.

Part of me views leaving work mid-day to play as a bit irresponsible or an insult to Protestant work ethic. But as I get older, I see it as extremely healthy: take breaks, converse with people, build relationships.

This all has me wondering… what’s golf for people like me?

“Golf.”

Sure. Har-dee-har-har. But golf doesn’t quite work for me. I’ve come to realize I was never really suited for sports, I’m more of an “indoor type” Pokémon. There are tens of us worldwide.

Meetups and Hackathons used to occupy this void; business-oriented social hours. And while I’ve fostered great relationships though meetups, they still feel like work. It’s after hours, I’m already tired, and it’s a lot of effort to stay in a learning mode for the rest of the night. Since I had kids ~5 years ago, I can almost count the number of meetups I’ve attended on two hands.

I’m half-wondering if video games are a potential option. Hopping into an online game multiplayer game like Overwatch in the middle of the day with other industry and non-industry related people. Would this be a nerdier (less outdoorsy) take on the country club golfing lifestyle?

Even though I’m “video games positive”, it still seems slightly irresponsible. Is it tho? Or is there a stigma around video games that doesn’t exist with aimlessly hanging around in a Slack chat room making puns (you know who y’all are!). Or is it acceptable because in a Slack chat I’m only two keystrokes away from doing actual work again? Is this a sales people thing, not a code-monkey thing? Can I unionize to make playing video games in the middle of the day a thing?

So that’s my question. What’s golf for people like me?