I’ve talked about the effect that Golf has had in my life, in a previous posting. But, outside of conversations with my wife, I have never openly discussed just how much I wish things could have gone differently for me. Nor how much I wanted I wanted it to be my life…my career.
I first got into golf when my dad introduced me to the sport, when I was in my early teens. I took some early lessons and played a few rounds, here and there. But I didn’t really take it seriously until I took an elective class at Community College, and I met my first long-term golf coach at the Driving Range where my class would meet once a week. He offered to teach me for free, if I would show up 5 days a week. It worked out great. I was down to a single-digit handicap within 18 months and tried to qualify for the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur not long after that. I knew, then and there, that I wanted to make a life out of golf. It wasn’t long after, that I moved to Orlando and really took my Golf life to the next level. I worked at a golf course across from Sea World, where I could get free practice and play, I was playing on local mini-tours. I was well on my way. But 2 years later I ended up getting a class 1 separation in my right shoulder and a class 2 separation in my left shoulder. I had played too much golf and my body had had enough. I required surgery on my left shoulder, and so I moved back home. Even when I had just had surgery, I asked how long it would take before I could swing a golf club. I was told 7 weeks. I practiced my chipping and putting the entire time I was healing, and when the doctor gave me the okay…he told me to take my time. And I did take it slowly until I was fully okay to play 18 holes. But things changed and I went off to Seminary. I still played golf, but I had other things on my mind to occupy me, but golf was always in the background. During the summers, I would go off to Arizona for a few weeks and play/practice out there. I even took some lessons with a coach out there, and it seemed to help. During my fifth year of studies I came down with Chemical Depression and it was agreed that I should take some time away from my studies. I had earned my Bachelor’s Degree, so it wasn’t a total loss. But when faced with what to do next in my life, there was really only one answer. Golf. Within 6 months, I moved out to Arizona and got myself ready, or so I thought, for the next phase of my life in golf. I was going to turn professional. But a terrible thing occurred shortly after that. I lost the ability to hit my Woods. I was a mess off the Tee and no matter what I did, it just would not get any better. The one thing that I didn’t do was fire my coach and get a new one. In hindsight, I should have. The more things he tried, the worse it got. And then I lost my confidence and my love for the game. It was no longer fun to go to the golf course.
Thankfully, I met my future wife and I said goodbye to the game I had always loved.
I would try, from time to time, to see if there was anything there…if there was some kind of spark that might reignite my love for the game. But to no avail.
And then almost 2 years ago, I began the process of seeing what kind of long-term solution I could find to renew my passion for Golf. I knew it would take awhile to get everything to work in a way that I would see results. With the death of my mother, 6-8 months after starting, it took longer than anticipated.
But then something interesting happened. We had started to make some progress on things, right before I had to stop taking lessons to help my mom. But it was a good 7 months or more from the last lesson with my coach and the first one, this past March/April. But I hadn’t lost anything that we had worked on. In fact, I actually had improved without even taking a swing. Enough so that I think my coach realized that things were moving at a much faster pace and decided to “go for broke” as it were, and make some serious adjustments to get me in a position where I would eventually see some big changes.
And then last week…it happened. Ball after ball going far, high, and straight. I took a couple days off to let my head process the things my body was doing, and I went to the driving range on Friday. I was a club longer than I had been when I played in a charity golf tournament, right before we left on vacation. My drives were going around 270 yards, my 8-iron was going around 150 yards. And I was hitting the ball where I wanted to.
And then I felt it. Peace. Not just a feeling of having fun again. I had already started to have that feeling over the past 6 months or so. I genuinely felt at peace, again. I no longer had the angst of all the years that were so frustrating. I no longer felt like I was beating my head against a wall. I sincerely felt like I had finally put all that behind me, and I could go and play golf and not be sour or sad about it.
Yeah…I still think about “What if…” But it’s not the same anymore. I can now think about taking my training to another level. Maybe even being competitive again. Who knows…I’ll be 43 in a few days. Maybe 7 more years until I have a Senior career?
Even if I don’t, I can still say that with a little help from my coach, my wife, and the Man upstairs…I can finally have the peace I need to enjoy the game that I have always loved.
Thanks for listening to me ramble.
See you soon!!!!