Addressing the ball
“As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.” Ben Hogan
Is golf a metaphor for life?
That’s the question I was asking myself last week as I made the trek from my home in St George’s to Port Royal to volunteer for the PGA Bermuda Championship golf tournament.
After six long hours travelling back and forth in the car – and several more staring out across the green – I have come to the conclusion that it really depends who you ask because you would most likely receive a different answer depending on whether or not the person you are asking is themselves a golfer; even then, the answer depends on whether their attitude towards golf is in any way comparable to their attitude towards life.
Take me for example.
I always tell people that I don’t really play golf because I need to save something for my retirement but the truth is I really do enjoy playing golf “the way I like to play it”; I have been known to treat other people to a round simply for the joy of watching them play.
So if you are reading this and you fancy yourself to be a “serious golfer” just stop where you are and turn the page – I have no desire to offend anyone.
However, if you aren’t a good golfer you might give the following a try next time you head out (or are dragged out) on the course:
To begin with (unless you are vying for a spot in the Bermuda Championship) carefully remove all scorecards from your cart and that of anyone you are playing with. If you can’t keep track of your running score in your head you’ve got more important things to worry about than whether you are winning or losing. If it takes you more than three swings to reach the green you needn’t dwell on it by writing it down as this is only going to further increase the likelihood of more errant shots as you proceed.
This is not negotiable. If you are so hung up on winning things that you need proof, you are never going to really enjoy your victories anyway.
Secondly, once you arrive at the first tee select the club that feels right to you (not necessarily the one the experts recommend) and then stand in the tee box and take a mighty swing.
If things go well, you proceed.
If they don’t, perhaps you tee up another ball.
Or perhaps you just get back in the cart and ride to the next hole. After all, it’s just a game and if you know that you can’t drive the ball far enough to cross the water hazard on the fifth tee at Mid Ocean, then why waste six perfectly good golf balls trying?
Thirdly, be sure to take time to celebrate the small stuff and get some photos – some days it’s the whale that you spotted breaching from the fairway at Port Royal, or the chicken with twelve fluffy yellow chicks playing in the bunker that made the whole outing worthwhile.
Keep in mind that the person who returns to the clubhouse with more golf balls than they set out with is the real winner of any round and your chances of finding balls actually increases each time that your tee shot winds up in the bushes.
Yes, if you take the whole thing very seriously you might eventually manage to shave a couple of strokes off your handicap, but you might also be missing the point: you can channel your inner Tiger Woods all you want but to do this successfully you must first learn to enjoy your life.
Robin Trimingham is the chief operating officer of The Olderhood Group Ltd and a virtual presenter, journalist, podcaster and thought leader in the fields of life transition and change management. Connect with Robin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/olderhoodgroup1/ or email@example.com