Wednesday, June 22, 2011

You Don't Have to be The Best At Golf

Last night the rain cleared up in time for a perfect golf lesson. The Pro brought chardonnay and the driving range was sunny with a slight breeze. I was ready to learn to golf.
Since there were only four of us, the Pro really had the opportunity to spend one on one time “fixing” our slices, whiffs, and frustrations. As he stood behind me, I went through the mental checklist I had created with his previous instructions:
ü  Get in a comfortable athletic position, and look at the ball
ü  Set the ball up in my stance between the buttons on my shirt and the logo
ü  Shoulders slightly back
ü  Visualize my backswing and follow-through, letting my chest lead and body naturally follow
ü  Think about calm breathing technics
ü  And swing
The ball left, but it didn’t go far, and surprise, surprise, it headed to the right. Right into the trees. The pro walked up to me and said “you are doing everything right. That was a great swing and you have improved immensely.” I just stared at him. Sensing my confusion (and maybe noticing my glare that said “are you blind?”) he went on to say, “You did everything exactly correct except for one thing: you aren’t having any fun.” I started to explain to him, mental checklist ready, that he was wrong and here were all the reasons why I could prove I was having fun.
He gave me a similar look as a yoga instructor once gave me before calmly and very zen-likely explaining to me that yoga might not be for me…but that’s another story.
He let me rant, he let me review my checklist above, and then he smiled and walked away and said “add Relax to your list and then swing.”
I hit some great shots last night, and I hit some horrible ones. And at the end of the night he gathered the four of us together, refilled our wine glasses, and told us that despite what our husbands would say or despite what our golfing partners would tell us, we really didn’t have to be the best at golf. He said that our opponent is first the course, then ourselves. That if we can go out, see the course, take some great shots and have fun, that we beat the course no matter what par was. And that then, once we mastered that, we will have also beat ourselves.
It was a little “after school specialy” and maybe it was the wine, but it really hit home for me. Maybe I don’t have to be the best at golf. Maybe the course’s par doesn’t have to be my par. Maybe after three lessons I need to let it go that there is a woman in my class that is a little bit better than me. Maybe I could let golf be just for fun and just for relaxing. I’m not sure if I can do this yet, but I think I have to start by letting go of my checklist. Or at the very least, add “Relax” to this checklist…and maybe to all my lists.

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