The word amateur has been ruined. We hear, “He’s an amateur golf player” and automatically think that he isn’t all that good at golf but must enjoy it enough to pursue it. Ok, that’s accurate, but it’s also kind of a negative perspective, isn’t it? I like to understand amateur for its true Latin roots. Amo, meaning, “for the love of” something. That’s it. No judgement for how good or bad you are. You simply do something because it brings you enjoyment, peace of mind, or whatever it is. It’s important to have something you do for recreation, and it’s important you choose something to grow and develop over a long period of time. It’s one of the things about us that makes us uniquely human, right?
Having a hobby is a great way to express your personality and develop your skills outside of work, home or family commitments. In this post, we’ll discuss the most popular hobbies for the South Texas gentleman. A hobby, or pursuing something as an amateur, should be able to last you a lifetime; it transcends all ages, abilities, budgets, time limits, talents and skills.
Netflix & chill will not make you a better man. Hours spent on Call of Duty will not give you better quality of life. Social media will not satiate a higher state of being, in fact it makes us more depressed. Leisure has lost it’s meaning in today’s world. You might be surprised, but pursuing your hobby can be far more stress relieving or relaxing than binge watching Game of Thrones. Hobbies can fulfill you, develop your attention to detail, keep your mind active & alert, and tap into that innermost desire to create something. Imagine how much more interesting you will sound at parties if you can talk about a canoe you hand-built or regale crowds with stories of catching a sailfish off the coast of Mexico. People love engaging with a well-rounded man.
"People love engaging with a well-rounded man."
Research proves that time spent in nature improves your memory, energy and decreases stress levels. Here are seven great hobbies that should keep you happy & occupied outdoors. And in South Texas, that’s all year long.
Fishing is a great hobby to share with your family, friends, or just connect with nature one-on-one. If you prefer catch-and-release, great! If you prefer to take home your winnings, even better! Fishing is an iconic hobby for men. It doesn’t cost too much to get started with, and you can get as relaxed or competitive as you like. You can also explore your state & the world with fishing. We’re pretty proud that South Texas boasts some of the best places for fishing in our state. Just remember that you need to get a fishing license before you start dropping that line into the water. You can learn more about getting a fishing license in Texas from the Texas Parks & Wildlife website.
Sometimes it isn’t the thrill of the hunt, but instead, the thrill of the shoot. Marksmanship requires practice, concentration and good form. You can find a shooting club or gun range most anywhere in Texas, and take your pick of different gun sports. Just be prepared to save up for this hobby, as shooting can get expensive. If you get good at it, consider signing up for competitions in your area. Many amateur competitions are put together as fundraisers for charity, so you’re also doing the world some good with your hobby.
The benefits of hunting are innumerable. Depending on the type of hunting you choose, it can be great quality time spent with a friend, or valuable time spent with your own thoughts. It’s also a great source of providing quality lean meat for your family. And sometimes it just tastes better knowing the work and patience it took to get it. Hunting also taps into our human instincts and satisfies the caveman in our ancestral blood. If you’re worried about depleting the world of it’s natural resources, you’re wrong. Hunting can be a conscientious and purposeful hobby that gives back to the environment. Some of the most active wildlife conservationists I know are avid hunters. Hunters cherish the challenge of the kill and want to keep those standards high with fruitful and healthy wildlife. Plus, any costs spent on hunting licenses and memberships mostly go back to fund state wildlife agencies. Hunting can be costly as a hobby when considering the equipment, the getup, the guns, licenses and the cost of the kill if you’re on a private reserve. But it doesn’t have to be prohibitive; if you know the right people, or you choose the right game, it can also be affordable.
Golf is simultaneously the most frustrating and relaxing sport in the world. If you’ve already learned how to golf, then you know what we’re talking about. If you never have, please approach it with patience and an open mind. It’s a skill that improves with practice. The more you golf, the more you’ll be able to work on those pesky little habits that keeps your handicap so high. Golf is great with friends, drinks, or alone. Plus, it’s a hobby you can keep up off the course too by following Golf Channel or reading about it. Yes, it can be an expensive hobby (seems like a trend in all our suggestions so far, right?) but it can also be affordable if you are determined to keep costs down. Golf is also a great and easy hobby to take with you around the world. You can travel and attend many of the popular tournaments or play some of the greatest courses out there!
While mowing the yard definitely is not most people’s idea of an enjoyable pastime, gardening can be. You have to learn the terrain, the weather, and the biological aspects of plants. Whether you’re into trends or you’re a trailblazer, gardening can be a healthy and exciting hobby for you. Popular gardening trends this summer include southwestern-vibing with succulents and cacti. Start a backyard fruit and veggie garden. You get to harvest and eat your home-grown fruits of labor, or can them to enjoy another day. Gardening can be a fun way to interact with the great outdoors. All you need is time, patience and a little help from mother nature. Plus, there’s something instantly calming about working with the soil. Gardening is a relatively inexpensive hobby, but can also get expensive if you like to work with exotics. In fact, you probably already have most of the tools you need to get started. Just dust them off and get to planting!
Some people have an insatiable thirst for knowledge, and enjoy the hunt to learn new information. Here are two suggestions for the more intellectually-minded hobbyist.
Do you know what connects top successful leaders in today’s industries? Reading. Bill Gates read 50 books last year— almost one a week. Mark Zuckerberg reported reading one book every two weeks. It doesn’t sound like a very easy hobby to make time for, but the benefits of reading are unmatched to any other hobby on this list— not to mention it’s basically free to enjoy. Public libraries are open almost every day, and books are free to take home with a library card. Book clubs are relatively inexpensive to join and get you in touch with other bibliophiles in your community. Running down the road with no time to pick up a book? Not to worry - Most books are available in an audio book option that you can listen to anytime, anywhere. This is especially true with our smartphones today. Who knew you could carry so many reading materials in your back pocket?
What if you were descended from Jesse James himself? What if you found out you were kin to the great Comanche War Chief, Santa Anna? Or John Coffee Hays of the Texas Rangers? Genealogy can help you dig up the wonders of your ancestry. Websites like Ancestry.com, Family Search and My Heritage, can help you uncover your family tree with subscriptions ranging from free to $19.99 a month. Another great service, for $79, can uncover your ethnic mix, distant relatives and new ancestors with AncestryDNA, a DNA kit that will track your ancestry back to the dawn of time.
Arts & Culture Hobbies
Leave behind a legacy for your family. Art & Culture hobbies can produce magnificent works of art that will be passed down for generations. Others are meant to be consumed in the moment and appreciated for the skill it takes, while some collect and appreciate the talents or aesthetics of others. The arts taps into our inner need to create and is a great release for our emotions or thoughts at the time. Here are five arts & culture hobbies worth considering.
Culinary (in TX this Means BBQ)
Bar-B-Que, the taste of Texas. Cooking Texas Bar-B-Que really is an art within itself. But not just anyone can throw a piece of beef on a pit and get to cooking. This hobby is also not just for you, but a hobby to share with friends and family as well. Learning how to barbeque low and slow requires a tremendous amount of patience, skill, creativity and trial-and-error. But not to fear, there are plenty of courses, camps and workshops to help you refine this delicious craft. Texas A&M University Meat Science Center offers barbeque clinics and workshops three to six times a year. The tuition is relatively inexpensive for most camps where students of all ages learn about BBQ pit maintenance, meat safety and thermometers, rubs and marinades, brining basics, as well as how to prepare a hog for a whole hog barbeque. Travel around to enjoy different BBQ joints or competitions to get new ideas for perfecting your own craft.
Car Collecting & Restoration
There cannot be a more challenging and time consuming hobby than that of car collecting and restoration. A hot rod that seems as if it had been transported from 1973 running down 181 is sure to turn every head on the road. Even more impressive? A man who restored it himself. This is a hobby that costs a pretty penny— but rest easy knowing your efforts will be rewarded once you have a finished product in your driveway. Take your hobby even more public by entering in car shows, volunteer for city parades, and join a regional club to find friends in the industry.
Musical hobbies vary from the performer, to the connoisseur, to the collector. If you have a musical talent, then it’s pretty obvious that refining that skill is the most rewarding hobby you can pursue. People love listening to natural talent, so don’t be shy about yours. Form a band, join a choir, perform at community concerts, and if you have the technology or the means, record yourself for posterity! But the world can’t all be performing musicians. Musicians need an eager audience. If you love music, but don’t have the natural talent, consider becoming a connoisseur as your hobby. Attend live concerts, go to the symphony, stop by the jazz club downtown, buy all the albums of your favorite artists. Speaking of which, you can really make this a hobby by becoming a collector. Collect vinyl, original albums, merchandise - you name it. As a musician myself, we are glad of people who appreciate the arts!
While painting may seem like a girly hobby, it’s actually far from it. Both Winston Churchill and George W. Bush painted in their free time to relax and keep depression and stress away. Painting is simple and the tools you need are probably lying around your home right now. All you need is craft paint, brushes, and a canvas from your local Walmart and you can get right to it. If you’re afraid to put brush to canvas without any training, you may want to invest in a painting class at your local college as an introduction to the art. But honestly, just start painting - you’ll find your voice and you’ll find your technique. One of our employees at Bethune & Son loves painting on his off-time to vent his thoughts and relax. He’s good, and he’s starting to get a reputation in the art community.
First let me correct you. Antiquing is not a hobby for little old ladies who are professional hoarders. Have you ever heard the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”? It rings true in the last hobby on our list— Antiquing. We’re inspired to add antiquing to our list thanks to a local man, Robert, who we affectionately call the “Pyrex Pirate.” Robert has been hugely successful in collecting vintage pyrex from estate sales, Goodwill, small thrift stores and more. Why? Because if you check ebay, it’s worth a heck-of-a-lot. Robert collects it to both hold onto for future investment and to resell for instant returns. It’s almost like making collecting a small business operation. From small pawn shops to large scale antique-weeks and auction houses, there is a place for finding even the rarest oddities. Locally, pawn shops and antique stores are around every corner. However, if you’re looking to score the big finds, you may have to travel to Vogt Auctions in San Antonio or to historic, antique village Round Top. At Vogt Auctions, antique sales are made every month, each auction having a different trend or theme. For example, August’s auction items will be categorized into “Fine Texas Art” on August 12, and “Ranch Furniture and Decor” on August 13. In Round Top, Antique Weeks are held twice a year. Vendors come from far and wide bringing cowhide rugs, furniture, purses, clothing, decor, old airstream RVs, wild game mounts and more. If you can think it, there is probably a vendor there that has it. So pick your poison. What will you collect? Pyrex? Ties? Clocks? The world’s your oyster.
Penny for our thoughts...
The Bethune & Son blog captures the lifestyle of the South Texas gentleman. From men's clothing, to recreations, food and values - this blog tells you all you need to know about being a Bethune & Son gentleman.