Early in our marriage, I remember watching golf on tv with my husband and I just couldn’t understand the point of standing out in the grass swinging at a little ball in hopes of making it into an even smaller hole. Golf lovers please pardon my judgement here, but I used to think it was the most boring activity ever. Seriously. Images of old wrinkled men and women in plaid danced in my head. He could forget it. I was not going to be amongst the elderly lined up hitting balls off a platform towards holes most of which can not even be seen from the tee box.
Then one vacation we stayed on a golf course in Palm Desert, California in August. It was the hottest time of the year. One hundred plus degree weather and he was on the course chasing golf balls, sweating to death, yet happy as anything and coming back daily talking about the beauty out there that I was missing. After agreeing to drive the cart for him one morning, it became more clear. I was reticent to admit that I just might be missing something. The peace and quiet against my constantly moving brain was a welcome change. Beauty surrounded me and there was nothing but 5 hours and 18 holes with which to enjoy it in. Golf courses are often gorgeous. It is very evident that much time, money and care are spent in their planning and development. Truth be told, I knew that the day would come when a much slower pace of life would be welcomed and the idea of having this to share as we traveled the country appealed greatly to me.
Like anything new, there is so much to learn about the game. It is a lot more intense than it looks. Each time we walk up to the ball you can believe that golfer is thinking of his strategy for getting that ball to where he wants it to go. As I take my place in front of my ball trying to calculate how far I am from the hole, which club will get me that distance, the placement of my feet and the position of my body…among other things overwhelm is quickly setting in. Step up to the ball and whoosh…it goes left into the trees. This continues as we move forward attempting to hit over water, out of sand traps and mostly from the rough (grass higher than the greens). The goal before it is over becomes how to keep going without getting frustrated when hitting all these carefully placed traps and challenges all the while still keeping the goal of getting the ball in the hole with as few swings as possible. It quickly becomes apparent that no two holes or courses are alike. Each comes with it’s own set of obstacles.
Recently, as my husband is teaching me new things to do in order to improve my game, something he said really stood out to me. “Don’t try to kill the ball. As a matter of fact, don’t even worry about the ball. Just relax and swing with a slow steady motion and the club will do the work,” he said. When I did that, every shot I took was on target. Interestingly enough, it turns out that this little game mimics life. We will encounter times when we have an idea of where we are trying to go but yet we can’t see the exact location and the journey seems loaded with obstacles. But if we don’t get frustrated, realize that even with the best analysis of terrain, club, location, trees etc, we will often miss our target. But if we take it slow and steady…don’t try to overdo everything, the journey will always be the greater experience.