GOLF & LIFE: SAME PUZZLE

One day this week I was at the practice green, nearby the first tee. It’s well past mid-season now. A dedicated golfer, well-known to me, tees it up and I hear the metallic clink of the driver, followed by a loud, solid knock of the golf ball against a tree trunk. That same weak fade into the trees, followed by the predictable expletive. Another golf season, another year going by, stuck in the same pattern despite the lessons, equipment changes, tips, and wager motivations. BUT, the voices arise in protest (or self-reassurance) “I’m just here to have fun,” or “I made a great drive/putt/up-and-down (pick one) yesterday, you should have seen it.” The same voices also might be heard saying “My game is gone” or “I just can’t score anymore,” or “tomorrw’s round will be better.” Other commonly overheard remarks are “It’s still better than working,” or “It’s better to be above the grass than under it,” or “let’s have a beer/lunch/dinner.”
The fundamental issue is: what we’re doing on the golf course is a lot like what we’re doing with our lives. We tee off every morning with the same hopes for a great round; yet too many days we instead find that familiar weak fade into the trees. We’re trying to find a way through the round(s), a way to make sense of good and bad breaks, of outcomes we cannot explain, of hazards and penalties that always seem to be out there, of the transient joys and dashed or surprisingly fulfilled expectations. Most of all, we have some vague awareness that the end of the round lies somewhere ahead. So now is the time to look at yourself and your game. We shouldn’t waste the any round, since each round provides us the opportunity to sort out that weak fade and to get beyond our programmed reactions to it and, instead, to open ourselves to the game’s higher possibilities. The first step is often to privately acknowledge that there is something more to be found on the course; we all know it, and everyone has sensed it at least once.

Dr. Rich