More On The Golf/Life Analogy
First of all, thanks to all of you for the well wishes for my brother. I’m glad to report that his recovery from cancer surgery has progressed well, and he’s going home today!!! He’s still got a long way to go in healing and getting around again, and they’ll be starting his next round of chemo-therapy after he’s pretty well healed from the surgery. But he’s alive and they say cancer-free. And he’s going to be able to go on with a reasonably normal life. But he’ll never look at life again the same way, he assured me yesterday.

I’ve been in Houston this week, spending time with him daily and it’s given us lots of time to talk and reflect on life and golf, which has been a part of our lives since we can’t remember. Thanks, Dad, for giving us that gift.

So, yesterday we were talking about how his life is changing because of all this, both physically and emotionally. And it got me to thinking about life and golf as metaphors for one another. Sometimes things happen in life and on the golf course over which you have no control or influence. Most of us tend to get angry and proclaim, “that’s not fair.” Of course it’s not, because neither golf nor life are fair. Things happen that weren’t due to our own actions.

And how we deal with them have a great influence on the quality of our lives and our golf experiences.

In golf, you hit a great drive and find the ball in a nasty divot. Or you hit a great approach, only to figure out that the distance marker was obviously off. Or roll a great putt that hits something and gets knocked off line. The real measure of you as a golfer is how you react to these things, and how you let them affect your enjoyment of the next shot, and the entire round. Those who really enjoy golf and get the most out of it seem to relish the challenges that these things offer up to us.

When my brother and I were in Scotland back in 1990, a caddie told us, “You Americans . . . you do to the language what you did to the game.” Actually that was pretty profound for a guy who carries a golf bag for a living; but he went on to explain that golf is a game of emotional tests – man against the earth, propelling a small white ball across the uneven landscape, trying to get it in a hole a quarter mile away. Dealing with the vagaries and bad bounces was the essence of the game, he explained. It shows what a man is made of, he said. And he loved the game for that very reason.

But we Americans, he pontificated, try to remove the risk from the game, as we do in all of life. Perfect fairways, perfect and soft greens, manicured bunkers for Pete’s sake . . . . he really had a point.

So maybe I’m rambling a bit, but the point I’m trying to make is that golf gives us what we demand from it, and if we try to demand “fairness”, we are sure to be disappointed. So, the next time you play golf, step away and realize that the challenge of hitting a 1.68” golf ball across a quarter mile of real estate, to put it in a 4-1/4” hole, in only four or five strokes . . . well, it really is a pretty darn immense challenge, isn’t it?

So, the moral of my story is to just enjoy it for what it is, and what it gives you. Do your best and smell the flowers along the way. Soak in the scenery and enjoy the fellowship, personal challenge, and the great moments. And don’t take yourself too seriously.

I’m talking about life, but it’s not a bad way to enjoy golf either.
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[ comments ]
Banker85 says:
fantastic read gave me goosebumps. I always try to enjoy every second of being on the course thats why i quit drinking while golfing. I would be trashed by the 12th hole and my score would suffer then the wife would be pissed! when people ask me what i like about golf i say I love the challenge of golf, every shot is different from the one before it and you have an opportunity to make it a great one no matter how bad the latter was. I LOVE GOLF!
activesense says:
Great post Terry, thanks for sharing your thoughts, particularly through these challenging times.
I couldn't agree more with your analogy. Life/golf is what you make of it and how you respond to the challenges you encounter shows your true character.
Carpe Diem. Sieze the Day.
onedollarwed says:
Last Saturday, I was able to play golf with 2 family members for the first time (my mother's cousins). Their fathers, though both married into the family, were like brothers. So my mom's father and her two uncles shared many years of golf together with their kids (excluding my mom and her siblings). So, both of my grandfathers golfed, but not a single of their kids.
When I showed interest in the game I got a few old clubs from grandparents. One grandfather had stopped many years before, and the other played everyday, but was between Vermont and Florida seasonally. The last chance I had, he couldn't play and I never saw him again.
My dad now runs an annual golf event to benefit his local town's veteran's memorial committee (though he's never picked up a club). I invited my mom's cousins from out of state to come - and they made it. In a weird twist of fate, I tore up my knee moments before going to the scramble but could still take part a little.
onedollarwed says:
So it was a weird magical moment over 25 years in waiting - a window to the family's golf legacy. So don't take golf with your family for granted - It's precious. For me, golf with family = one 9-hole scramble and counting. It was weird, but the customs, habits, turns of phrase in my cousin's games were unique echoes of their dads, and their generation. I can see why my gandfather, after WWII Pacific duty, spent all his money and time with his wife and golf - even living in a campground in the summer and cooking over an open wood fire. I think it was Crown Point CC in Springfield VT. Now we have a chance to make memorials in honor of their contributions.
Banker85 says:
did you say he is dating HIS caddie? clarify?
Tim Horan says:
Not sure I'm on the same page here guys...what is this dating of his caddie all about?
singlegolfclubs says:
Golf and life do draw many parallels. You are responsible for your own well being, just as you have to take charge of calling a penalty on yourself in golf. If we could equate the two together, it would be so much easier on everyone.

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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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