I was missing a couple of things on the day of my next golf lesson. The first was my 16-year-old son, Sam, who’d been by my side during my learn-to-golf journey as my co-lesson taker and chief complainer. Unfortunately, he was too busy with spring tennis tournaments to continue hanging out with me on the golf course. And while I missed his company, it was pretty nice to have golf pro Marci all to myself. It was also nice to not have to listen to his music on the drive over.
The second thing I didn’t have with me that day on the golf course, which I didn’t realize until the lesson started, was any skill or ability I’d learned during the previous four sessions.
The lesson began with Marci telling me to do a few loosening-up practice swings, which was fine. I’m usually pretty good at warming up. Not a lot of pressure when you’re just moving your body back and forth like a ragdoll. But then, when I tried to take actual swings and hit the actual ball, all I heard was whiff, whiff, whiff. I didn’t even come close to making contact. Time and time again, there was no club-on-ball action happening at all. I was like the Little Leaguer who strikes out every time he’s at bat, then runs off to the dugout to eat snacks and cry. (Memo to self: pack Doritos and tissues for next lesson.)
Unfortunately, the more I started (literally) missing the ball and then angrily telling myself to concentrate on my form and stance, the worse I got. Marci would patiently remind me how to hold my body, where to look and the steps to follow to form my swing, and I’d do exactly what she said—or at least I tried to do exactly what she said—and I still couldn’t make it work.
Whiff, whiff, whiff.
The few balls I actually managed to hit didn’t go far, either. Honestly, I would have been better off just picking them up and throwing them at the hole. (Is that allowed?)
After the lesson ended, I walked back to my car and wondered why the lesson had gone so poorly. Why had I forgotten everything I’d learned so far? Why was everything I did wrong? It perplexed me. After all, I did fairly well in the previous lessons. I paid close attention. I made progress. I have a fairly decent mind/body connection, so I know how to position myself when I’m told. And, this time Sam wasn’t with me, so I couldn’t even blame him for distracting me with his eye rolls.
I started to drive home, and before I could help it, my mind filled with self-sabotaging thoughts like, “You’re too old. This is too hard. You’re going to need Motrin for that shoulder. Maybe you should have just sat on the couch and watched TV instead.” Yes, the good old self-sabotaging thoughts. Don’t you love them?
But here’s the thing about failing when you’re my age: you don’t really care. I mean, you do, but not as much. You’re also able to tell those self-sabotaging thoughts where to stick it because life’s too short to wallow when things don’t go your way. So I had a bad day, so what? It’s not like I was taking golf lessons because I was planning to enter the professional tour. I wasn’t banking on paying my kids’ college tuitions with a sweet endorsement deal from Callaway. Rather, I was just out on the golf course, learning something new, and I’d had a frustrating day. It happens.
Besides, maybe this was the Universe’s way of showing me that I’d get a hole in one on my final lesson. Okay, maybe not, but a girl can hope.