Let’s start with honesty…The only part of golf remotely on my radar growing up was Happy Gilmore and the occasional family outing at my uncle’s homemade, 9-hole, backyard course. Fast forward to high school and my golfing knowledge slightly grew thanks, in part, to my dad’s latest arcade addition, Golden Tee Golf. These brought about a vague familiarity with the terms and tools needed to physically play (although adding backspin on the ball I now know is harder than pushing a button). Apart from this dismal knowledge, I had no true connection to the game and that was fine by me. I had my own biases about the “elusive country clubs”, the stigma associated with being a golf member, and the rules and regulations that they had in place on and off the course. Let’s just say it wasn’t for me and my self-descripted free spirit. I was more interested in coming home covered in dirt after my sporting events, so the pristine allure of golf never quite took hold.
Take a hard pivot to my late 20’s dating history and that is where my golf story truly begins. I should have seen the writing on the walls when my, now husband, showed up to our casual first date wearing khakis and a polo, which turns out that that was his casual attire. When I was told that the family played golf, I didn’t think much of it, assuming it meant occasionally hitting a bucket at the range after work or an excuse to get out of the honey-do list on a Saturday afternoon. How wrong I was. Golf and life were a symbiotic relationship. A harmonious balance between work and play. A tour through the in-laws home made that very evident: from family photos, tournament trophies, pictures of courses near and far, and of course the golf themed everything. The family did not have one golden child who excelled at the sport, they had three, so if I had strong opinions of rebellion, it most likely meant a hard uphill battle to win over the in-laws. It was time to give the ‘ol golf game a try and figure out what those other numbered clubs were all about.
I have now been a part of this golf family for six years and although my game hasn’t seen much improvement, my naivete of the sport and preconceived notions have been thrown out the window. I have a newfound respect for the mental strength of its’ players, the minute adjustments needed in one’s form to make a swing achieve its’ desired effect, and the skilled art of reading and interpreting each holes’ nuances. I have learned that golf is about more than hitting a ball (cue the eye roll from all golfers) because you practice the same swing repetitiously, club after club, to ingrain the muscle memory needed for the small moments of success. Because of this dedication, the sunk putt or the perfect fairway placement exhilarate you, providing an addictive high that you continue to seek repeatedly. The high lasts until you slice it to the right or overshoot the green, which is where the hard work actually comes to light. To pick up the pieces, remain focused, stay motivated, and recover. The ups and downs of the game seen on the course translates to the adversity we face in our daily lives. Golf has provided me the mental ability to focus myself free from distractions, to work as an individual alongside my team, to take accountability for my actions, and to recognize that positive results only come from hard work. I can whole-heartedly say that I am a proud member of a golf family and am grateful that this family has patiently shown me what the sport is all about. As my husband and I continue to grow our own family, it is without question that golfs’ core principles will be instilled in them on and off the course.