In a perfect world, we would play nine and everything would flow like clockwork. Our swings are beautiful, drives go straight, chips roll in the hole, and the people ahead of us play at a perfect speed. Further, the weather is always ideal with our stylish outfits perfectly matching the temperature, and we never think of our problems while on the course. Maybe this had happened to you, but it’s certainly not the norm.
Many times, even the best of rounds are riddled with annoyances and flubs—both related and unrelated to the game.
This is kind of like life.
Nothing rolls perfectly for us on any given day. We make mistakes in our daily lives like we make mistakes on the course. Try as we might, there are some things we just can’t master until finally, we can. And then the next day, we’re back to square one. In addition, factors creep into our lives, reminding us we’re human and have little control in the grand scheme of things. Understanding there’s an intersection between golf and life, and realizing that mistakes in both are part of our humanity, might help us relax and enjoy the game a bit more.
Most importantly, we’ve all be been there.
Deep inter a mediocre round, perhaps starting at #7, and our drive goes into the water. We hit another and, you guessed it, water. Finally, after swearing that you’ll never play again, you hit your third—yes, third—tee shot, which goes left into the rough.
Your friends, of course, say nothing, because it’s one of those moments where “Wow, you suck . . .” is really the only accurate thing to say. It’s what you’re all thinking, even though you all know it’s not true. But it feels true.
Bad golf shots have a way of bringing us down so significantly that we can’t even get our bearings. We just feel bad and then go on to doubt our worth on the golf course, and if we’re doing really poorly, perhaps we begin to doubt many areas of our lives.
“Man, I can’t drive a call to save my life, and I hate my job, have 15 pounds to lose, and my house is a mess . . .”
All of this started because some course architect decided to put a pond right in front of the tee box.
Not fair, but an example of how much of our energy goes into our golf games, and how failures on the course can so deeply impact us, even though they are just micro-snapshots of our time here on Earth and the impact we’re making on the world.
You see, a bad shot, number of bad shots, or a bad round can make us feel terrible. Just like a bad day off the course. Maybe we got a speeding ticket, maybe we screwed something up at work, maybe our teenager is driving us crazy. In life (as in golf), we experience many bumps along the way that challenge our character, reaction style, and the way we feel about ourselves.
We’re also challenged by factors we can’t control. Take for example the foursome that is so slow that it’s messing with your juju and your temper. Or maybe they’re drunk or obnoxious. Or maybe your speed is the problem, and the foursome behind you is breathing down your neck.
Other problems can sabotage our games too . . . like if we didn’t dress appropriately for the round, and we’re too hot, cold, wet, or uncomfortable.
And while none of these circumstances have a direct impact on our games, they all take their toll and eat away at the experience, again calling for us to step up and be our best selves despite all of the external factors interrupting our picture-perfect visions for a great round.
Let’s cross that over into life and consider traffic with its daily tests for us, morning and night. There are just so many things in our lives that test, annoy, and tempt us to stoop to our worst selves simply because we’re just so tired of it all.
Thankfully for us golfers, we have plenty of experience with frustration, annoyance, and adapting to conflict. Every round is riddled with all of the above, and since golf is a game os honor, we’re sort of trained to do our best when those disasters—big and small—strike on the golf course.
Little do we realize how important our work as golfers is, and how well it prepares us for our lives.
This, my friends, is the intersection between golf and life. What other sport delivers so many doses of frustration yet pretty much mandates we handle them all with the grace.
With this knowledge in our bags, we truly are ready to handle anything that comes our way. Even, perhaps, hitting three tee shots in the water.