Swinging for the Trees

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I am not a good golfer. Whatver skills I do have on the golf course are on par with my prowess at nearly all other sports. (Par remains a distant goal.) 

Watching others play golf can be a study in patience, control, consistency and fluid movement. Watching me play golf is often a class on slapstick with rare flourishes of mastery. If there is a tree, I will hit it. Not because I was aiming at the tree, but simply because it is there.

I have two friends that, as part of community service requirements, golf with me in public. My friend Todd has taught me nearly everything I know about golf and has been patient as I search for my errant ball in the wilderness. I’d call it the rough, but someone’s backyard isn’t technically part of the course. When I hit a tree, which I consider a skill, he will ask, “where were you aiming?” I always aim for the pin, but those pesky trees get in my way.

As part of a new initiative to enjoy some free time that accompanies unemployment, I hit the links. After a phone interview and submitting a few applications, I loaded the clubs in my car to chase a ball around, inhale spring allergens and make some desk-bound friends envious.

Golf may not be the best distraction from the frustrations of job hunting, especially if you aren’t that great a golfer. The similarities and analogy potentials are all there: 

  • In the rough
  • Swing and a miss
  • Keeping pace
  • Approach shots

Being on a golf course was a welcome respite. My golf guru Todd succinctly encapsulated the appeal of golf years ago.

Each shot may not be great. Most of them aren’t. But that one great shot you make in a round, that’s what keeps you coming back.

Today I couldn’t hit with my irons and my putting could best be described as aggressive. But I hit some drives really well. Normally this is the weakest part of my game. On the 12th hole, a golfer in the group behind us commented “nice ball” on my drive. I get complimented sporadically when I golf. Sinking an iron shot from 65 yards will be one of my best shots ever. And I have a witness. Getting a bit of praise is that fuel that keeps you going. 

Golf was my $20 therapy today. It reminded me to stay calm and be patient. Finesse is more important than power. Each swing is a new opportunity.

The trick is to keep swinging and aim for the trees.

(If this post reminded you of your community service obligations and you have a lead on jobs in the Chicago area, drop me a note. It’s probably best for society to keep me off the courses.)

  
   

  • Weird coincidence, my friends won’t help me search for my balls, either. But I don’t golf, so I can hardly blame them.