Cover Story
August 01, 2015

The Happiness Issue: Play Golf, Be Happy

By The Editors Illustrations by Ben Wiseman
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Illustration by Ben Wiseman

To be happy. Distill our infinite dreams and ambitions to an essence, and this is what you get when you ask almost anyone what they want in life. It might come from the sense of serving a higher being, or that first spoonful of mint chocolate chip as their butt sinks into the sofa. If you're reading this, chances are golf is a big part of your strategy to enjoy your short time on this planet.

Later into our years than almost all sports, golf feeds hope. But is that enough? Each year, the question of what makes us happy produces piles of research. A lot of it suggests society's increasing emphasis on materialism and status is driving up depression rates. Indeed, Zen golfers won't help a golf shop stay in business. Others say the mission to eradicate sadness, to throw at it all manner of medications, cute-kitten posts and self-help books, is to unwisely deny the full range of human emotion. What are birdies without bogeys? We invite you to reflect on why you play golf. Hopefully you'll discover a nugget or two that helps your mind stay in the fairway.

Why Good Golfers Are Happy Fools: Science says you'll play better if you lie to yourself.

The 9 Most Cheerful Courses in America: Where joy isn't just a byproduct, it's the main industry.

A Bull Without Horns? Playing without keeping score is harder than it looks.

Goat Hills Rules: Take a page out of Dan Jenkins' book

Why 21 Equals Happiness: It's the most elusive number in golf.

The Big 3 of Chill: Rickie, Rory & Jordan: These new superstars show us how to play like kids again.

Every Putt Breaks Right for Somebody: A mini-history of rims and stifled grins.

Editor’s Letter: Jerry Tarde: Happiness in a shot.

Hooking Up: For those who've had sex on a course, it's a ball.