If you Google the benefits of golf, you’ll get over 26 million results. There are websites on health, social and even environmental benefits.

Unfortunately, you won’t find much about community benefits — how does golf improve your local society? I can’t understand why because I believe that avid golfers make good citizens. Other sports can boast about keeping kids off the streets, but few can suggest that they build good citizens.

I found this little gem in some of my company marketing materials: “Golf is a wonderful game that has the highest code of honor and civility. It is an activity that presents our youth with character-building situations.”

Sounds promotional, I know, but it also captures the essence of the golf’s societal values — honor, civility and character building.

Honor is a tricky concept in today’s society — it seems to be losing steam. Being honorable today is right up there with keeping your shoes polished. The “little white lies” that get perpetrated today would have gotten me some severe punishment back in the day. It seems that if you have a reason — any reason — then it’s a good reason to tell a lie. Why doesn’t it matter anymore?

Civility is another one of those qualities that seems to be on the wane. The Brits have always seemed to have the corner on civility — thanks in large part to the reign of Queen Victoria. Perhaps they as a society go a little too far for us Americans, but being civil to one another is an important building block for community. Treating others as you would have them treat you is the foundation of civility.

Apparently George Washington felt civility was lacking in his day as well because sometime before he turned 16 he transcribed a 110-point list of “Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation.” How does golf support civility? The rules of golf are associated with some very specific etiquette guidelines. Because golf is played primarily without a referee or other official present, and often with strangers, rules of decorum are important. While etiquette is not a part of the rules, a serious breach of etiquette can have you disqualified from a tournament. According to the USGA, “all players should conduct themselves in a disciplined manner, demonstrating courtesy and sportsmanship at all times, irrespective of how competitive they may be. This is the spirit of the game of golf.”Etiquette in golf covers such topics as safety, consideration for other players, pace of play, priority on the course and care of the course. Experiencing etiquette on the golf course gives youngsters a taste of the importance of civility in contemporary society.Character building is more in vogue today. A simple Google search will give you pages and pages of workshops, articles, education resources and even games. One particular organization’s website has isolated “six pillars” of character. They stress trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship as key components to building character. In golf, the etiquette guidelines cover all these qualities and more:• Be trustworthy in your actions and in your scoring.• Respect your opponents and do nothing to influence their play.• Take responsibility when you violate the rules by calling a penalty on yourself.• Observance of the rules is the first order of fairness.• Care for your fellow competitors by being courteous and respectful.• Care for the course by repairing any damage you may do within the rules.• Be a good citizen in golf by observing the rules and cooperating as a foursome to promote the enjoyment of the game for yourself and others.The one thing you won’t find on the “Character Building” websites and guides is the ability to deal with adversity.Golf is a game that is full of failing. The object is to hole your shot and yet that can only be accomplished once per hole and so only 18 times out of the average person’s 100 strokes per round.You can plan, prepare and play the best shot of your life and it may not go in the hole. We, as a society, need people that aren’t afraid to fail, that know how to deal with their mistakes, learn from them and move on. And the best golfers are those that continue to challenge themselves — risking failure, but learning, developing and improving their skills.Each community should have a place where all youngsters can learn this game of a lifetime at a reasonable price. Las Cruces needs a municipal golf course — not for golf, not for the people, but for the community.A golf architect in New Hampshire for over 20 years, Armstrong brought her craft to Las Cruces last January. She is the founder of Armstrong Golf Architects, which provides planning, designing, permitting and construction monitoring services for golf course projects. You can comment on her writing and view past articles at her blog: https://roadholeshorts17.wordpress.com/.