I’ve been playing a lot of golf recently. Recently meaning at least once a week, sometimes twice. There’s something about the game that brings about a piece of mind. Envision serenity, you’ll find it on the links.
I suppose I’m lucky I live in sunny California, where you can participate in this grand game year round and not have to worry about the pitter-patter of raindrops encroaching on your Sunday restitution. After a long week of stress and deadlines, spending 4-5 hours on freshly cut grass with the surroundings of nature about you can do wonders for your mental state, if not the physical.
The time with friends is also quite invigorating. Breakfast in the mornings… a slice of pizza and some beer at the turn… and then a hearty dinner to recap on the day’s events. Most of the conversation falls into the category of “What if’’s” or “I should have’s,” but that’s what makes the game what it is. To hit a tiny sphere less than 2 inches in diameter 400 yards with a flat piece of metal on the end of a stick is quite a challenge. Throw in water hazards, sand bunkers, trees, and the occasional gust of wind, and you have quite the soliloquy of chaos.
Perhaps it’s this challenge that makes the sport so addicting.
Every weekend becomes an effort to better oneself. Unlike most sports, golf is a game of actions, not reactions. The player does not move instinctually, and things do not occur at the blink of an eye. Rather, one sets themselves up for the shot, meticulously calculating what needs to be accomplished, and systematically goes through the motions. It is this quality that makes the game so frustrating, because one is always in total control of the situation. To see yourself fail only drives you become that much better.
A friend of mine likes to try out new courses. Play a different one every weekend, see the world through the eyes of a golf club. This is fine with me, but what becomes the gauge of your ability? To what standards do you measure yourself? Since all courses vary in difficulty and length, you end up comparing apples and oranges, never knowing if you’ve actually increased in ability, or just triumphed over an easier opponent.
I like to play the same course over and over again, hurdling past old obstacles and confronting new ones with the savvy of an experienced veteran… daring myself to perform better. It’s what makes me a perfectionist, and makes me what I am. Like all things in life, golf is about learning from one’s mistakes, and one learns quickly when a plate of chili cheese nachos is at stake.
For those of you that have played the game before, you most likely understand all that I have said. To those of you that have never played before, I am probably spouting unfathomable rhetoric.
And to all those of you yearning for your first opportunity to participate in this game of all games, take initiative of your life and head out to the driving range. Not only will you be addicted for life, but you might find your mind a nicer place to visit.