Play Happy Golf (even when it rains on your Myrtle Beach golf vacation)
My title sounds easy enough to accomplish, but I assure you it is one of the hardest lessons that I’ve set out to achieve this season.
Two simple words, “play” and “happy” were taught to me as soon as I could enter a sandbox but it appears that I have forgotten the true meaning behind them. Allow me to explain.
Winds were whipping, rain fell heavily and it was bone-chilling cold last week in Myrtle Beach. Temperatures rarely rose above 50 degrees. With the lack of sunlight and clothing that I brought for spring-like conditions my focus dwindled with every passing hole at both Meadowlands and Tidewater Golf Clubs.
Although I tried to smile, my teeth were chattering. Every time the rain intensified my facial muscles contracted and my back tightened. Driving along in the cart made me shiver. Even though Barry kept his arm tightly around my shoulders it was a never-ending battle between myself and the elements. My smile turned upside down and stayed in that position throughout most of my much-needed golf vacation.
This hurt my game. As a matter of fact, I really didn’t have a game this past week. I can’t blame this on the elements, only on my inability to keep those two words as my mental focus.
Seems like an easy enough concept to grasp, right?
Last night I watched the Champions Tour AT&T Classic and although the conditions were similar to the ones I encountered the outcome was amazingly different. It wasn’t just a few more layers of clothing that separated me from Tom Kite but it was also his tremendous ability to block out what he couldn’t control and concentrate solely on the task at hand. Kite didn’t fall apart, I did.
That made me think about my goal this season, that is, the ability to “let a smile be my umbrella". Tom Kite laughed at the gloominess even though he was clearly uncomfortable. He didn’t let the elements get to him. He didn’t let the slick grips of his clubs or his less-than-perfect shots faze him. He merely shook it all off and calmly made his way through the course.
I’ve seen Tiger Woods among the guilty too. He occasionally curses and throws a club or two (and on national television too!) but he has a short memory. Phil Mickelson, after missing one of those nefarious three-footers for par, pastes a blatantly fake smile in his attempt to regain his composure and forget what happened only seconds earlier. Although Lefty’s fans know that his smile is not a genuine attempt at forgetting his bad play, we sympathize with him until he gets back on track.
Perhaps the illusion of happiness is all we need to change our disposition?
Whether you’re a novice like myself or if you have been playing golf for years, the ability to conquer anger during a round affects us all. Everyone hits bads shots. Golf is a game of recovery. Those that learn this confidently smile in the face of adversity.
I have dedicated this season to learning how to play happier, how not to allow annoyances such as fat shots on a meticulously manicured fairway or thin shot out of a wet sand trap ruin an entire round of golf. It’s going to be a difficult lesson to re-learn even though its the single idea that can turn a beginner like me into a real “player".
Welcome to Golf for Beginners, because we’re always learning.
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And, with over 100 golf courses in MB, the powers that be are going to have to do something to attract players or courses are going to close. Condos are where the $$$ are nowadays. Make way for the bulldozers...
Golf is a game of recovery. It's all in the realization that from a bad shot you can always score.
I'm glad you decided to play golf again and I'm glad your female friend has decided to continue playing. We need more women out there on the course!!
Keep smilin'...and enjoy the scenery!
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