What a Stupid: I want to play golf again, but now Mother Nature won’t let me
To quote the late, great Hal David—lyricist to Burt Bacharach—raindrops keep falling on my head. And, dang it, I want to play golf!
Now, if you’ve read my most recent posts, you’re probably thinking, “Serves you right.” And, sheepishly, I’d have to concur. After passing much of the glorious summer in a low ebb, seeming to have lost my appetite for the game, I now find myself licking my chops. Yet, thanks to a rather abrupt change of seasons, I am as of this writing unable to satisfy my cravings.
To quote the late, great Roberto De Vicenzo (when he cost himself the 1968 Masters by signing an incorrect scorecard), “What a stupid I am.”
Hopefully the I’ll get enough of a break in the general dreariness in the next day or two to squeeze in one more round before I head off to Dallas and the day job for two weeks. The forecast, however, is not encouraging.
The good news is that the game’s flame within me has been rekindled. After a month’s layoff, I logged three rounds last week—two at my home club, Goswick, and a third at the new-to-me Bamburgh Castle Golf Club. The pictures illustrating this post were snapped during that tour along the Northumberland coast.
Those views, alone, should have been more than enough to get the juices flowing. But, truth be told, it’s what I was thinking and feeling on the inside that really turned the tide.
Simply put: I surrendered. After attempting for much of the summer to consciously “improve” my game—to foolishly pursue the notion that, by sheer force of will, I could “get better”—I finally circled back to where I was in March, switching off my conscious mind and switching on a sense of body awareness.
And a rather amazing thing almost immediately started to happen: I hit more satisfying golf shots. In turn, I began to have fun. And before I knew it, there was a skip in my step and joy in my heart. I was back in love with the game again.
Now, I should hasten to note that this transformation has been neither complete nor continuous. Not every swing of the club of late has ended in pure bliss. The mind/ego is an insidious and determined thing. In moments of weakness, it still finds its way back in. But, in this renewed state of being—that values process over results—I seem to be better able to let such moments pass. If anything, they’re an opportunity to observe and learn. Even an apparent negative has been turned into a positive.
And has been the case since I first stumbled upon his book, Extraordinary Golf, Fred Shoemaker’s words once again echo in my ears. The part about playing the game from a place of “fascination.” And wondering if we can swing the club, not in fear of doing it wrong, but in deep appreciation for how that motion—our unique take on it—feels. And waxing poetic about a game that, in the playing of it, actually makes us more fully human and alive.
That’s the golf I should have indulged in these past few months. That’s the experience I should have embraced on the authentic links of Scotland. That’s the opportunity that, caught in the throes of my small mindedness, I let slip away.
Indeed, what a stupid I have been.
But no more. I have awakened from my trance. As soon as the low pressure system parked overhead moves on, I am determined to act out of this revitalized sense of awareness. And it’s going to be fun!