It’s the easiest game on the planet, or so they say. All you have to do is get the ball in the hole! Or here is another overused, misconstrued lie about the game of golf: it’s the simplest of all the sports; the ball just lies there. It isn’t being thrown at you, it isn’t approaching you at a great speed, you don’t have to hit it while it’s moving toward you, you don’t have to catch it, you just take a club and strike it, whenever you want, at whatever pace you want, with as much strength as you want, and in whatever direction that you want. The outcome is completely in your hands. What could be so hard about that?
Believe it or not, the reality is that the game of golf is the most complex, frustrating, mentally exhausting, discouraging, stressful, irritating… most fun, relaxing, stress relieving, exciting, encouraging, addictive, and most importantly, most rewarding game on the planet.
It’s not something I’ve always done. In fact, I used to despise the game. I thought it was boring, it took way too long, it was extremely hard for me to stay quiet, and I have just about the amount of patience that an infant does when he’s at the grocery store with his mother. I’ve never had a hair of interest or desire to play golf, and heaven forbid, I definitely did not want to watch it. Watching golf to me in my earlier years was my childhood equivalent to waiting with my mom at her doctor’s appointment, or watching paint dry, or whatever extremely and beyond miserable simile you can personally think of that relates to pure boredom.
I never imagined being a golfer until the summer before my junior year of college. Twenty years old, just a sorority girl at the University of Alabama, trying to graduate in four and what not.
Okay, I cannot deny the fact that I am a member in a sorority at one of the largest greek schools is the country but I assure you my personality strays away from the cliche stereotype of a “srat" girl. I’ll defend myself. If you were asked to describe what you would say is your image of an ideal sorority girl, I’m sure your response would be much different than “a tomboy that hangs out with her boy golf friends, wears no makeup, wears a collared shirt on the reg, and if possible, spends dusk to dawn, or whatever free chance she can, in 105 degree weather, at the golf course each day.” Right?
I am not exactly sure what triggered my interest in playing that first day, but what I do know is that the sport has become my favorite addiction still until this present day.
I played almost every day that summer; most days I would play 18,27, or 36 holes. Same for this summer and most days in between. I played more golf this summer than most people have played in their life.
In the mornings, we coached for The First Tee, a youth golf program grounded and started by the Professional Golfer’s Association (PGA), for a good three, four hours, then we’d drive our carts up to the clubhouse, grab a bite to eat, and then go back out and play until the sun went down. We had the same routine May through August. It was the best summer ever. And what made it even better, the employees get to play for free.
My desire to play, I think, first and foremost stems from the feeling I feel after I get done playing. I always want to get better. There is always room for improvement. There is always a way to increase your score. It’s toxic. I always want to shoot one less stroke than I did the time before. This urge and motive is what in the beginning of my golf career and still now, keeps me going back to the course each chance that I can. The addiction is triggered by my internal craving and motivation to get better, and to become the player that I believe I can be. Sure, I can hit thirty or so bad shots in a round, but the one or two great, pure, flawless shots I hit after all of the bad ones is what brings me back to the same place, to the play the same game the next day.
I had one mission that accompanied my return to Tuscaloosa going into my junior year of college and that was to find a golf course where I felt comfortable to play. I wanted to find somewhere that I didn’t have to have anyone with me and where I would not feel embarrassed walking in alone as a college-aged girl. Golf was all that I could think about and all I wanted to do was find somewhere where I could practice and play and then practice again if I wanted to. Sitting here a year later, it’s a blessing I found Ol’ Colony Golf Complex when I did and it’s amazing the impact the game of golf has made in my life.
Though a year and a half seems as a short amount of time, in comparison to my life as a whole, there have been countless numbers of days, long scorching hours in the sun, sun up to sundown, spent practicing to bring my skill where it sits now. It takes an great amount of holes played, hours on the practice range, and evenings right before dusk spent on the putting range. Just like my boss told me a week or two into the job, “If you just practice every day of the week that ends with a Y, I guarantee you will get better.” Some people might assume that they could find something better to do with their 24 hours of the day. I disagree. And here is why:
Aside from the physical aspect of it, there’s something beautiful about the way it makes me feel, and the way it can make you feel, too. I am a twenty one year old college student, not on the university golf team, not on the university club golf team, not planning to pursue a career as a golfer, and did not grow up as one, either. And sure, it may seem bizarre that someone like me would be the one to try and convince you why you should play golf but personally, I think it’s a perfect task for a girl like me.
The sport is usually stereotyped as a rich man’s sport. Some like to say that the only people who play golf are a bunch of retired, stuck up, rich men that have a lot of money. Though I may not be able to deny that statement, because sure, there probably are some retired, stuck up, rich men that have money and just play golf every single day, does not mean the sport is limited to just that crew.
In reality, that is only the view from the outside.
Anyone can play, anyone can invest their time in the hobby, and anyone can acquire the skills. Everyone should. At our course here in Tuscaloosa, I constantly see diverse varieties of people, different ages, race, both male and female, on a daily basis either coming to practice on the driving, chipping, and putting ranges, or coming out to play a round. People of all skill levels are beginning to partake in the game, whether it is for fun, for competition, for a tournament, or simply as a hobby.
Back to the reason I play. It is my therapy. My stress level immediately lowers when I first step onto the course. To me, it is a breath of fresh air and it is always my favorite part of the day. Whether I am with another person or alone, a sense of peace is always present when I am at the course, either playing or practicing.
You see, it isn’t just about the game itself. To me, I see the game of golf as an overall image for life itself. There is a load of emotion involved. There is strict etiquette required. It requires dedication, strength, courage, and perseverance. It forces you to challenge yourself mentally. It strengthens your mental toughness. It is a sport where lifelong friendships are made. It requires integrity and honesty. You learn to tell the truth, and not only to tell the truth, but also to tell all of the truth, and not to leave any part of it out. It is what you do when nobody's watching. Don’t move your ball to a better lie when the others aren’t nearby. Don’t write down a score that you didn’t actually make and that you don’t deserve. Have the audacity to accept the game you brought that day. Write down the honest score you make on each hole. To me, being honest and showing integrity by telling the entire truth are two of the many aspects that will help people to excel and succeed in the sport.
The game of golf has taught me to believe in myself, find happiness in what you love to do, and try and be the best you can be in whatever it is that you are doing. It presents the chance and the motivation to be great, not only in the game itself, but it has a lasting effect that leads these motives to be applied to every aspect in life, as well.
Whether or not the game comes easy or difficult when you begin to play, to me, and hopefully now you too, something that you should stick with. Whether or not you excel quickly, the intriguing and encouraging part is that much more can be taken from the experiences and lessons learned while playing. There is a special, lasting impact that can quickly be dissolved in anyone just by going out and trying to hit a ball for the first time. And if you don’t hit it the first time, just try again. And if you miss it the second time, tell yourself you can do it, high five the ball with your club when you swing, and watch the club hit the ball before you pull your head up. Oh, and always keep your eye on the ball. If you fail again, don’t give up.
It’s just that simple. I mean, what could be so hard about it?
After all, it is the simplest game of all the sports. You just have to get the ball in the hole.
EN408-005 focused on the subject of "suffering," so for our final piece we were to create a 25-30 page original that was worked on and built over the course of the semester.
A piece from my work, "Hopeless" Part I: Depression
Alone in a world that doesn’t have to be lonely:
Drowning, sinking into the damp sheets that occupy the mattress where they lay. You occupy the bed in a time relatable to the time the sheets occupy the mattress.
More difficulty suggested whisper to yourself than it is to physically achieve a command such as this one.
There is a magnet on your back; you know there is too. Underlying force refuses to let you go.
Clinging to you, pulling you forcefully against the surface where you lay—
Horizontally that is, by choice though, for most hours that consume your day.
Motivation lacks presence here, like a wheelbarrow that is idle because without human motivation to activate its mean for existence, it’s completely worthless. Why can’t someone come push me? Others don’t need an additional force to do what their purpose calls for…
A midst the hours of daylight—
Quiet. Lonely. Where did everyone go? Don’t leave me behind!
Dust gathers, an object that is stranded and left lonely until its path is discovered and crossed again.
Do they not have a magnet on their back?
At what point does living flesh turn into a human grave?
No explanation. Words would only partly portray content and reasoning deep within them; past the thick layer of skin that is clearly not transparent or else they try and help they convince themselves.
A magnet because he is alive, though he feels he is nailed down firmly; there’s no way out.
A simple drive could break the attraction between the plus and the minus.
Someone come rescue me.
A piece from my work, "Hopeless" Part II: Anorexia
Fear strikes through the brain,
a hurricane at its peak.
What do you do when you can’t make it stop?
You aren’t in control.
You can’t control the weather.
Stage one now to a stage five storm.
You don’t see it as a problem because you’re addicted to it.
You like the way you feel when you feel skinny.
You like the way you look when you look in the mirror.
Well, you do and you don’t.
Mirrors snatch attention more than a magnet’s plus to its minus.
a magnet’s red to its white—
The resistance is dead to her, nonexistent.
The shiny structure on the wall lures her in.
A deep stare that in her eyes—skewed.
The vision is not the same for the outsiders.
Her most favorite claims:
Healthy Normal Regular
Nothing is wrong.
*A nimble stick
Take a deep breathe then exhale your breathe toward her.
Falls to the ground.
A grain of wheat floating through the wind.
Light. Fragile. Breakable.
A piece from my work, "Hopeless" Part V: Suicide with (referenced: Virginia Woolf)
“I lifted the pencil again, useless though I knew it to be. But even as I did so, the unmistakable tokens of death showed themselves.”
And there she says it—
To her, death is unconquerable.