Twenty-six of the best things in golf, letter by letter

A. Autumn. Surely the pick of the four seasons when you factor in weather and course condition.

B. Birdies. The more of ’em, the better.

C. Chip-ins. Few joys in golf eclipse not having to unsheathe the putter.

D. Drives. Only the first shot on every hole gives you a clean slate, a perfect lie and a chance for redemption. It’s the shot that sets up the hole – and turns heads.

E. Egos. Whether they need inflating or grounding, no other recreation humbles a person like golf does.

F. Flying. The sense of anticipation that comes with boarding a plane to play somewhere exotic is hard to beat.

G. Gear. It’s a realm within the game where it’s easy to get lost – especially with the array of equipment options in the modern game. Yet one thing won’t ever disappear: the sense of hope that comes with the purchase of a new ‘toy’.

H. Handicaps. The chance to play competitively with people of differing standards is what separates golf from other sports.

I. Indexes. Like handicaps, only more specific. These important numerical breakdowns tell us exactly where we have to beat Harry, Dave or Sue.

J. Jitters. OK, so in the moment you don’t love those nerves as you step up to a shot that really means something, but meaning something only heightens the feeling of success after a good shot. Golf would be much less captivating if all shots had the same context.

K. Kids. Because if you haven’t introduced a child to golf, you’re missing out just as much as they are.

L. Lefties. I’m not one, but there’s something oddly fascinating about watching someone play this game the other way around.

M. Manufacturing. No, we’re not talking about the latest material your driver’s made from – this is more about seeing a non-conventional golf shot, manipulating your technique to fit and pulling it off! Few thrills rank higher.

N. Nature. No other sport lets you soak in the playing arena like golf does.

O. Oracles. Be it a learned, trusted voice in the game or that guy at your club who knows everything that’s going on, they enhance your connection to the sport.

P. Partners. Whether you consider this to be a friend, your regular four-ball partner or your spouse, golf is a game that’s far better as a shared exercise.

Q. Quick nines. Either first thing in the morning or chasing the sun late in the day, that rapid nine holes with almost no one else around feels like stealing something you weren’t meant to have.

R. Royals. Be it Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Canberra, Queensland, Hobart, Perth, Fremantle or, well, Pines, our Royal courses add prestige to a game that doesn’t really need it but likes a little all the same. Yes, we’ll count those lesser-but-loved courses bestowed with the ‘royal’ tag as a form of faint praise.

S. Scrambles. Perhaps still better known as “ambroses”, these low-scoring, flag-hunting, partner-urging team events offer the freedom to go for broke rarely afforded when playing your own ball – but coupled with just the right amount of pressure to perform.

T. Trophies. Professional golfers can look ungainly hoisting those often odd-looking prizes. Trophies for us tend to entail getting into your opponent’s wallet – and isn’t that way sweeter?

U. Undulations. They almost can’t be too pronounced and give our arenas their charm. The game is far more interesting when the ball is on the ground.

V. Value. Because nowhere else offers quality golf with a value proposition quite like Australia.

W. Walking. Golf carts certainly have their place but walking in most instances lets you see more.

X. X-out golf balls. They’re cheap, often nasty, but they’re almost indestructible and so much harder to lose than their top-shelf brethren.

Y. Youth. Even if yours is a distant memory, it’s never a bad idea to play like you’re young again. Putt without fear, take on that daring carry, ignore the odds. Hit the shot like there are no consequences.

Z. Zeal. Never lose it. And remember that whether it’s lawn bowls, bridge, cycling or whatever other pastime you’re contemplating instead, nothing can replicate golf.