I suck at golf. I really do. To be good at golf requires consistency over time in mind and body. It requires development of a repetitive swing that holds up over time. I don’t have that, never have, but it has been better in the past. Now, with the 10-year absence of a left side vestibular (balance) nerve, physical repetition seems beyond me. As for the mental aspect, my untreated ADHD, while it is a super-power for my job, creates challenges in focus at times. I’m repetitive about big ideas and concepts over time, according to colleagues, but little moments, not so much.
The thing is, golf can be a pretty abusive relationship. One can spend three or four (or more) hours playing golf and feel pretty beat down. Especially when your score is crappy. You can swear you’ll never play golf again – right up to the moment says, “Next weekend?”
You can easily get to feeling discouraged and beat up while you’re playing, and then it happens – just one perfect shot. If feels like you’ve kissed by the goddess herself. It’s what keeps you coming back….regardless what happens next. It happened to me last Sunday.
For 16 holes, I was kind of all over the place. I hit some really good shots, had some shots go really wrong (hooks and slices), missed a lot of short putts – clearly, I was struggling with both tempo and alignment. On the 17th, a short par five, playing about 483, I just cranked one out. Right down the middle, the ball seemed to hang endlessly in the air. A total of 295 yards, with only 10 or 15 yard of roll. It was glorious.
So, there I am, standing over the ball, just inside 190 yards. Partner and I are talking.
“You’re going to go for it?”
“I guess. I’ve been hitting like shit all day, but this is normally an easy six iron.”
“You’ve got to. You know I would and I don’t have your length.”
We waited for slow group ahead to clear the green. I took my practice swings. They felt good. Step up, swing….and chunked it, hitting a good half-foot behind the ball in the soft turf. This is something I’ve been fighting lately, so while frustrated, I wasn’t terribly surprised. Walk the 70 yards, hit again, put it on the green, and two-putt for an easy par.
All that really matters to me is that I hit that drive.
I played again on Veteran’s Day. It was a gray, rainy day, just like all those days I played in the Willamette Valley in the 1990s. The course was pretty much empty, so I played as a single, unrushed, and working on aspects of my game. As usual, a mix of good and bad, but with no one to watch, either to celebrate the good or mourn (or laugh at) the bad, it was just easy to relax. I got to 17, looking for redemption.
I found it. Sort of. The drive was not perfect, as it came down on the edge of the cart path to the left, behind a stand of trees that intrude into the fairway, 287 yards from the tee. I had no straight shot, has not worried about score or making a conservative play, so attempted a heavy draw with the six iron. I took my stance, aimed wayyy right and almost. Landed in the greenside bunker on the right. I was pin-high and pleased as hell. Still ended a two-putt par, but it was good.
Next hole was a disaster, but I will be back at 9:40 am tomorrow.