The British Open just finished last weekend and we are at the midway point of The Canadian Open as I complete this entry. I am talking about golf just on the off chance someone was wondering what these events are.
Why write about golf?
Well, it is a summer pastime and it is one of my loves. Just one.
If you don’t golf maybe you will read on anyway to see what I could possibly be thinking about the game and if you do golf you will certainly relate to me “keeping it on the short stuff” and “getting on the dance floor in regulation”; two of the most satisfying feelings any fledgling blogger golfer can feel.
I am not sure if you even like the sport but for a weekend duffer like me golf offers so much as a pastime or pursuit. It helps me focus on my body and mind. It helps me to understand emotional response, how the reaction to emotion can affect my performance and it gets me away from the computer and the internet.
All good things.
One other thing golf can do for anyone is show you what type of person you are; what you are made of.
And let’s not forget that it’s fun…..in a masochistic sort of way.
The pros that play this game are another story altogether.
I never really understood the commitment and the mental pressure these guys and gals face until I actually started playing the game. The competition is so tough and to make it to the top takes an incredible amount of work and dedication. Golf is ruled by minute degrees in judgment, weather, physical and mental toughness and those who make it their profession have a considerable battle with themselves on their hands.
That’s probably why I like golf so much.
The mental game.
It’s really just about you, your clubs, a tiny white dimpled sphere and the course. That’s it. There are no team members that you have to rely on. Simply you and your ability.
There’s no one else to blame.
As much as it sounds like an isolationists dream oddly golf is a very social game. What other sport do you spend 4 1/2 hours with 3 other people and enough down time to tell your life story? Plenty of time to really get to know your friends, colleagues or even some strangers and it is a great way to discover the true personalities of those that you play a round with. You can see what you are made of and what they are made of.
It all comes out on the links.
Have you ever s**t….er….split your pants over a missed putt or had a meltdown over a bad string of holes? That feeling of frustration is something that can run strong and deep in this game. It’s really tough to keep your cool and keep your composure, isn’t it? Heck, we all suck at the game here and there and we all have flashes of brilliance too. Even the pros have off days (think Tiger) but composure certainly helps to swing the pendulum in the right direction more often than not.
If you haven’t heard, the common myth is that a very small percentage (I have heard around 5%) of golfers actually plays under 100 but according to the National Golf Foundation on average 55% of golfers report scores under 100. There has to be some serious flaws in that data because no one really knows if every golfer reporting their score plays by the rules. When you play do you allow mulligan’s, a common golfing do-over, or not (hell, there are no mulligan’s in life, right?)? At any rate, the likelihood that the actual percentage is as low as 5% is just as unlikely as the 55% average being true and we haven’t even approached looking at handicap yet.
What seems to be true though is that if you are shooting in the 90′s consistently you are above average and you certainly “get it” with respect to the pressure to keep that type of streak alive.
Someone may likely say “relax” and comment that golf is simply a pastime for anyone outside of the professional ranks. Do we all really need to be as rigid as to count every single stroke, avoid adjusting the ball position (that dreaded club length rule) to a more palatable lie or take a “provisional” tee shot if you shank one into the woods/rough/weeds? Is there really a problem with a gimme? No but doesn’t that really just comes back down to you challenging yourself to maintain your own personal level of achievement?
Do you have the ability to play the game honestly?
Are you an honest blogger golfer?
Ability also depends where you tee off from.
Playing to your level is an important aspect to being successful in this pursuit and like many things in life where we push ourselves to accomplish more and more, golf is one pursuit that can work against us and our ability to improve.
Personally I have chosen to work much more slowly on my growth as a blogger golfer.
There are several reasons for that; bravado (ego), enjoyment, time and skills development. I consider each an important and integral part of my growth as a blogger and as a golfer. Honesty and integrity are important traits in any pursuit and are drivers in the meaning each of those reasons has for me.
Don’t you think bravado can get in the way of learning?
Teeing off from a deck or playing a course that is beyond your skill range will only limit your ability to play the game effectively and actually enjoy it. It’s ok to play the game that you are capable of playing and over time your skills WILL improve and you WILL advance.
What’s the sense of getting frustrated and then telling yourself its ok that you had a bad day? Why not always have a good day and have the confidence to accept that you can improve over time. There will always be someone who outpaces you, out hits you, has a better short game, and hits a better long ball or is simply an all around star. Just enjoy your game and enjoy your time with them.
Keep your cool, play your game. Learn, live and enjoy.
Time is on your side, my friends.