Golf and Life (A Quick Lesson)

I was never much of a golfer. Mainly because I was never able to hit the ball straight. I never hit the ball very far or played very well. I played when I was much younger. This was during early mornings on the weekends when The Old Man would take me. The idea was to play a quick nine holes, which was never quick.

The game we played was called long-ball, short-ball. We played this because my golf swing was poor and my shots never landed very close to the green. On the other hand The Old Man played well. His shots were always closer to the green. So, in an effort to speed the game up and not jam up the people who played behind us, I would play the ball that was closest to the green. The Old Man would play the ball furthest from the hole. This allowed me to move quicker and gave The Old Man a chance to play the ball from the fairway.

The biggest problem I had was with my swing. I would tend to lift my head too early. Hence, this would affect my shot and either topple the ball or slice it in an off direction. There are different stations of a golf swing. However, I am not a pro whatsoever, nor am I looking for golf lessons anytime soon. However, there is something to the entire motion that transfers energy and when done correctly, the club swings around from the backswing and knocks a little white ball a long, screaming distance. 

There is one memory I have on the fourth hole of a dogleg at a nine hole course. The hole we played is called a dogleg because the fairway is crooked, like the shape of a dog’s hind leg. I can remember the quiet. I remember the wetness of the early morning grass and the smell in the air. I can remember there was a slight mist hovering at the ground. The sun had only been awake for a short while. The Old Man and I had arrived early to get an early tee time. 

My first three holes were not so great. To be honest no other hole was memorable, except for this one. I can recall standing at the tee. I can see myself standing with the golf ball in front of me. My club was gripped properly in my hands. I can recall The Old Man coaching me to start my back swing. His instructions were to follow through and allow my weight to transfer through. I can see my club, which was a gray wooden club, lined up next to the ball. There were Canadian geese on the course. Everything was so quiet. It was a spring morning and picture perfect. The sky had a shade of orange and purple hue.

I began my back swing with my eyes focused diagonally on the sweet spot of the ball. I did not want to lift my head or lose my shift of motion. This was typically my problem. This is why I’d shank the ball or hit it poorly down the fairway. But not this time. For the first and only time, I brought my club around without flaw and without fail, I swung through and sent the ball down the fairway. I lost sight of the ball in the air and was surprised to see that I landed on the green. And, for the first and only time, I hit a golf ball closer to the hole than my Old Man.

There are two memories that I have with this. First, I remember the feeling of my energy as it transferred perfectly. I remember the basic mechanics of my shot. But more, I remember the cheers from my Old Man. I remember how his cheers erupted from the silence. I remember the sound of flapping wings from the nearby geese that flew away because The Old Man broke out and screamed, “What a shot!”

I remember the feelings of joy. I can remember the permanent smile that would not go away (until the next hole). I remember walking down the fairway and towards the green. I was prepared to play my own ball, which for the first and only time, I sunk in two shots. To be honest, I could have walked off the course right then and there. I could have retired successfully.

What a great feeling this was.

It has been many years since I’ve swung a golf club. I don’t mind the early wake-ups. I mean, after all, I began writing this to you before the hour of 4:00am. However, golf has never been my game. I wouldn’t mind going to a driving range and swinging at a few balls. I suppose that would be fun. I never played since the days with The Old Man. I never screamed “Fore!” While hitting a golf ball either, but I think I’d like to (maybe just once). I think this means “look out” for the  people down the fairway to let them know a ball is coming through the air. But either way, there is a lot to the game of golf. There is a lot to learn when perfecting your swing.

I will say that there is a lesson to be learned in the transfer of energy. I will say that our energy needs to be focused, otherwise, it’s like me on the golf course; I’d lift my head and never hit the ball far or straight. Our energy in life is similar. If we allow our energy to be misled or allow our focus to become distracted, our performance can never reach its best potential. Perhaps I would lift my head during my golf swing because I wanted to see where the ball was going. Maybe this was it. Or, maybe I was just a bad golfer, in which case; I’m fine. There are a lot of bad golfers out there. However, I can see how this applies to life as well.

We become so invested and focused on the outcomes that we lose focus on our efforts and output. Anything else beyond “Me” is out of my control. However, the one point I learned on the fourth hole at that dogleg and at place called Cantiague Golf Course is this: If I pay attention to my energy and if I allow myself to properly go through the stations of my swing and the transfer of energy, I am capable of great things. 

A friend of mine once told me “We are in the effort business. Not the results business,” ever proving and ever reminding me to focus on my efforts. Everything else is out of my control. We tend to focus our energies on things that we cannot fix or change. We waste energy on concerns for the unknown. Meanwhile, we have a life to live. We have a game to play and shortly, I will swallow the last gulp of my coffee, wash my face, brush my teeth and then I will be off to work. I have to focus. I have to allow my transfer of energy. I have to follow through with my swing (so-to-speak) and keep my eye on the ball. Otherwise, I fall short of my goals.

“Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible; and suddenly, you’re doing the impossible.”

I love this idea.
Time to focus –

“Fore!”

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