The gift of walking on a quiet golf course before the players begin in the early morning is found in the tranquility. In the hope for the round ahead. Just as the rising sun and misty aura fills us with hope for a new day. Another chance. When you walk on a golf course in solitude it allows for deep reflection. When you watch a player suit up and “go to battle” on the course it’s hard not to reflect on the round of golf in terms of life and time. When you’re really watching you can see how very hard the game is and how much it really does reflect a day in life!
Each drive off the tee, every iron shot or putt is equivalent to a minute…we don’t know in life or on the course what each shot will bring. We can only hope for the best. Even when we practice and rehearse and have the right mindset and pick the right club…still the shot may not go exactly as planned. Golf is life. Like no other sport.
Each hole itself is like an hour of time. We have three, four or five tries per hole to get it right..and if we don’t — we can’t turn back the clock. The shots…the minutes are gone. Forward march!! There really are no mulligans (do-overs).
Each round of golf is like a day… A long day that can last for 4, 5 or even 6 plus hours. At the end of the golf day, then there are the inevitable questions???? What shot could I have improved on? What went wrong? Think about it. Don’t you end some days the same way when your head hits the pillow? Wondering if you handled everything the best way possible…Should I have? Could I have? Trust. Trust. The day is done. You did your best.
If you really want to teach children about patience, fortitude, perseverance and stamina put a set of golf clubs in their hands. But, only if they express an interest. It’s a grueling sport..long rounds. Crazy weather conditions. Hot summer sun. Frozen wind. High scores. Shots in the weeds and woods. Shots in the streams and bunkers. Some of our days fit this same formula. Off days, heavy days. Some days when we feel like we are always fishing the ball out of the steam or taking a stroke because we can’t find the ball in the hazard, the woods. We do our best! We try so hard to move forward. But sometimes, many times we panic before we actually dig deep and realign. We panic before we steady our inner core in reserve to complete the fight. The belief in ourselves!
Ahhhh, but on a good day on the course golf is a gift, a blessing, almost effortless. When the golf gods reach up and pull down the ball right into that little tin cup. When every drive is laser straight. When approach shots sail in the air close to the pin. So close. Beautiful stuff. When the sounds of birds and the wind and the sun on your face invigorate you and give you peace and balance. The two very things we need and wish for most in life… peace and balance.
A shot, a hole, a round. A minute. An hour. A day. We can’t undo any of these. We can only move on and away! We can only trust that the same golf Gods I’ve witnessed on the course in great rounds and the ones who infuse one last ounce of dignity and reserve on even the worst rounds, are the same ones that guide us in our daily lives. The times when the phone rings with bad news or the times when we get a little extra help from a friend.
We are buoyed by many things in life…little things that we even miss sometimes because life is too fast paced to catch a breath. We miss a warm smile. A friendly wave. A prayer someone said for you. Be still. Listen. Receive. No one day, no one round of golf is spotless, perfect. Impossible. Strengthening a young person’s grit and perseverance through the game of golf is really strengthening his toolbox of life ingredients to make it a long, long way on the journey we call life!!
photo: August, 2014 – Pete Dye Golf Club, Bridgeport, West Virginia. Courtesy of fellow golf mom Ellie Hull, who understands!