Yesterday I played my second game of golf in as many weeks. In fact, it was only the second time that I had been out on a course in the last 3 years. But a couple of factors led to me lay down more than half of my weekly allowance (usually spent on wine) for four hours of leisure.
First, I made a commitment at the beginning of the summer to learn how to play this game. Most of my friends and family feel comfortable on a golf course, work it into the the fabric of their social life and will often use the game as a way of meeting, catching up or simply enjoying time together. I’ve always felt a little left out of that dynamic and I decided that this was the year to change that.
Second, I wanted my own children to begin to be exposed to the idea of leisure in their own lives. Five year-old Luke and I took a series of golf lessons earlier in the summer with the idea that, down the road, this might be a good activity for us to share together.
Finally, I was recently drawn into a circle of guys with which I’ve been loosely associated for many years. They’re all retired from education and are passionate about the game. This year, I was honoured to be invited to be part of their annual “match play” competition, which committed me to playing with each of them at some point in the summer.
Now there was a point where I thought that I was going to be able to play several times a week this year. But I slowly added more and more commitments to my summer schedule and, as a result, my plans to spend this year’s vacation in leisure mode were put to the side. And that’s why yesterday, two weeks before heading back to work, I played my second game of the season.
But it won’t be the last. In fact, I’m hoping to get out and play at least three times next week. And it’s not because I’m good. In fact, at this point I’m pretty bad. And it’s not because I dropped a bit of spare change on the shoes and the hat. Spiffy gear only ensures that I don’t look like a rank amateur when I drive up to the course.
No, my reasons are quite simple.
First, I believe that I can do this. The four or five good shots that I had yesterday (I took 136) made me believe that there was something here that I could learn. The shots that I was proud of represented moments when I actually remembered what I had been taught about keeping my head down, my left arm straight, and…well…my head down! In other words, if I can do better at the fundamentals on a more consistent basis, then I believe that frustration will be replaced by a spirit of learning.
Second, it is something completely different. Most of the things that I do in the name of leisure are actually connected with the work that I do. Other than music, all of my other passions are connected with education, leaving a noticeable gap as, over the next few years, I prepare to move out of the workforce and into retirement. It’s not that I’m going to give up my current education-related pursuits, but it may be time to start thinking about a better sense of balance in my life!
Finally, I really enjoy the game. It’s a 4 hour stroll (or ride) through some pretty pristine landscapes. It’s social: good time spent with friends and family. It’s personal: other than the side competitions that may go on, golf really comes down to you and this particular course!
So, this weekend, after visiting the low-flow toilet event at the Home Depot, some of my time will be spent arranging games for next week. My personal goal for the week is to shave one stroke per hole off yesterday’s score. That would bring me down to a more hopeful118.
I think that I can work with that. I think that I can live with that! I think that I can accomplish that!!!