Thursday, June 28, 2012

Golf Gods, Mojo, and Karma

I play golf four to five times a week when the weather allows. Golf is good exercise, a fun way to socialize, and a good way to enjoy the outdoors. Some may think it would be boring to play the same course so frequently, but it’s not. There are many, many variables in every round.

The biggest wildcard is you. Do you have your mojo today?  Will your drives find the fairways and bounce straight and true? Will you be hitting your irons? How will your short game treat you? Can you avoid the dreaded three-putt? Will you best yesterday’s score? As your game improves, there are always surprises (good and bad). You can have an awful hole; then birdie the next one. The Golf Gods are fickle that way. They can be cruel, but they don’t actually ever want you to give up. That wouldn’t be any fun.

Mother Nature also provides variation. Granted, it’s often clear and sunny in Prescott. But the wind may howl and knock your ball out of the air, the temperature can be cold or hot, the sun gets in your eyes, and the summer monsoons provide pop-up thunderstorms that send you scurrying for cover. Once we played in a snow squall. Some conditions truly test your powers of concentration.

The course itself is a constant challenge. Think about it. You never hit the ball twice in exactly the same spot. Pin positions change from day to day. The fairway undulates. The sand in the bunkers could be dry as a bone or heavy and wet. An unlucky bounce leaves you in someone else’s divot. When your ball strays into the desert, you may be puzzling over whether or how you can punch your ball out from under a bush or from behind a rock – all while keeping an eye out for rattlesnakes. There are uphill lies, and downhill lies. Your may be forced to practice a “specialty shot” out of a tricky situation. And, just because your #3 hybrid got you over the chasm on 11 yesterday doesn’t mean it will today. Trust me on that one.

The first tee at Talking Rock
Golf is a great way to make friends and deepen relationships. (For that reason, I wish I had played when I was in the business world.) Golf requires confidence, honesty, and infinite grace. You must to follow the rules, celebrate successes with humility, suffer nobly through your own failures, and support your partner’s play. People’s true nature shines through on the course.

Every time I stand on the first tee I feel intense anticipation and excitement. I take a deep breath of clear mountain air, stretch my shoulders, tee up, wind up for my first drive, and hope for good karma! 

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