GETTING BEYOND ALL THOSE EXCUSES
After I arrived at the course, I learned that I would be playing with 2 other people. One, I noted, had a 5 handicap, the other was a 13. Despite the beauty of the morning, I walked to the first tee carrying several burdens , which you had helped me to become aware of. The first was some “expectation of outcome .” I was hoping for a “good” round, by which I meant a low score, and I was definitely hoping for a first tee shot that would impress my playing group. I was aware of being too concerned about how I was viewed, and all that mental baggage probably contributed to my topping the opening tee shot. I then pulled my mulligan into a fairway bunker, failed to take a club with enough loft so I hit the lip of the bunker coming out. I managed a decent 185 yard rescue to the back fringe of the green, but 3 putted for a double bogey. Who am I going to be today I wondered? On the second tee, a par three, I felt I had something to prove to the others, and hit a 175 yard 4 iron onto the front of the green, but 3 putted again. Now, I feeling irritated with my caddy, who, I was sure, gave me a bad read. The front nine unfolded with an incoherent collection of shots, some well struck, but I felt out of synch and struggling.
On the ninth tee, I finally got in touch with what we have been talking about. I saw that I was hiding in a cloud of excuses and completely out of touch with the present moment of playing golf. I began to think (this all took about 10 seconds) about how many of my rounds are filled with my personal litany of excuses: these people talk too much, I am too tired today, my neck hurts, I don’t have time to practice. But instead of fighting them I just accepted them. It even seemed a little funny to me how this cloud of excuses (sometimes its other ones) follows me around. Once I decided to let go of those excuses, something changed and I became part of a string of pars which seemed effortless. After 6 pars, I faced another of my typical thoughts: how long can this go on? I started to feel I was out of balance during the swing; I became much more focused on finishing out the nine with a great score, I start counting, then I was, once again, “banished from the kingdom,'“ and struggled home to complete the round. But, I think I’m getting it.