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I've Cracked the Code: Wordle Is Golf

If you'd rather spell "divot" than take one, this game's for you.

Holy Hermes, I think I’ve cracked the code.

Why is Wordle, the online word game sensation, so addictively great?

Yes, there’s the sweetly romantic backstory.

And yes, there’s the honorable pro-bono dimension: Creator Josh Wardle didn’t make a dime from his viral gift to the world.

And there's no denying that gorgeously simple interface, or Wardle’s genius move to leverage the scarcity effect: The fact that you can only play once a day massively stokes interest.

But here’s the real secret: Wordle is golf.

Think about it. It’s almost a perfect analog.

You take a big swing off the tee, unleashing the sheer brute power of intuition, and after that, it’s a matter of sharpshooting. Your field of vision narrows. You have to decide whether to go right for the flagstick or just get close enough — by playing a word you know isn’t right but gives you important information — for a gimme putt on the next guess.

Par is four.

If you guess the word in three, that’s a birdie. Five is a bogey and six a double-bogey.

An eagle — guessing it in two — is rare but doable.

An albatross — first try lucky — seems about as unlikely as a hole-in-one on an actual course.

So this is how I think of the game now. And I've gotta say, it's way more fun.

I’ve just had a bevvy from the drink cart and teed off on the back nine on day three of the tourney—hole number 46.

Not shown on the score sheet below is the quadruple-bogey eight I took in the first round.

Factoring that in … and tacking on two strokes for slow play (assessed by the 14-year-old course marshal in the house), and only because I saved bogey with a gaudy up-and-down yesterday (“auras” to “sugar”) I’m lying at …

Nine under.

I'm telling you, this is my kind of golf. It’s less demoralizing than the real thing. And, for me, still actually aspirational.

Because only on the verdant, perfectly manicured course of Wordle is it even conceivable that I will ever shoot my age.

Bruce Grierson
My Wordle score after 46 holes
Source: Bruce Grierson
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