I say "attempted" because I don't consider myself an actual player.
Back when I was living in Western NY and we had about 4 months of good weather, I was fortunate to get out 2 or 3 times a year. That's not nearly enough practice to get better, so I considered myself lucky to crack 100. (Most of the time, I didn't even bother taking score.)
There are so many minute details involved in swinging a golf club that it looks like magic when someone can consistently hit great shots.
Among the myriad of things to think about and perfect, there's your stance. Then there's your grip on the club, your backswing, your follow-through, your shoulder position, your hips - and that's just you and your body!
There are also external factors like the wind, and where the ball is lying (and I always seem to find myself in shin-high grass that won't let go of my ball!). Even the golf clubs themselves impact your swing.
It's enough to make you crazy.
Clearly, I haven't found the right combination of details because I have what's known as a "boomerang slice."
When I hit the ball, it shoots off like a rocket towards the hole, and then, as if it has a mind of its own, it hangs a right in mid-air and ends up somewhere else entirely.
The ball has actually been known to turn so sharply that it ends up behind where I started! I've tried anti-slice clubs and balls, but not even technology can save me.
But to me, the most frustrating part of golf is this:
After playing an absolutely horrifying round - peppering every fairway except my own with golf balls; trudging through every sand trap; and donating case-loads of balls to every pond, creek, storm drain, and puddle on the course - I would resolve to never pick up another golf club.
Then, on my last shot of the day, I make one incredible shot that so impresses the people I'm playing with it leaves them "ooh"-ing and "ahh"-ing.
I stand there in awe, feeling like the golf gods just aligned the planets, my body, my swing, for the sole purpose of sucking me back into this game that I suck at most of the time. I get just enough of the taste of perfection that I want to come back and do it again.
Miraculous swings and sucky games aside, I'm not going to be a professional golfer in my lifetime.
For me, golf holds a different attraction. Aside from the obvious joy of being out in nature and spending time with friends,
Golf is a microcosm for life:
- In golf, the ultimate goal is to get that little ball in the hole. But the harder you squeeze the golf club and wish that ball closer to the hole, the farther away it gets. It is only in relaxing that you get closer to your goal.
- Every shot you take is different: the circumstances, the lie of the ball, and even your body are all different every time. You have to forget about every bad shot that you've taken before and every good/bad shot that you'll take in the future. You only have this one: the shot in front of you right now. You have to be fully and completely present.
- Lastly, it's easy to give up when things aren't going your way. When the ball is flying everywhere except where you want it to go, it's maddening and you say four letter words and throw your club on the ground. With each stroke you take, all you can do is keep aiming for that hole. Each shot - however good or bad - is bringing you closer to your goal and that's progress - even if it doesn't look that way. You just have to keep swinging.
- In golf, just like in life, the worst thing you can do is give up.
Remember to follow me on Twitter (@ultrasmoov) or Facebook. Click the link below to find me. And I'm looking forward to telling you about LFB's first golf experiences!