Get in the swing of it.

I have a profound affection for the game of golf. Not just hacking my way down the fairway or chipping around the green but all that golf has to offer. I delight in the chance to catch up with family or friends and of course taking in the tree selection and the great outdoors. Anytime I play golf I learn something. Oftentimes it’s something about myself. The rules of golf are many and non too simple. The powers that be are starting to change some of these rules a bit to make the game more attractive to new players and hasten the game to promote speed of play. Years ago I remember it said that if you are caught in a lightening storm on the course it was best to throw off your metal cleats and lie face down in a sand trap. I must say if I ever rounded a corner and saw someone lying facedown in a sand trap I’m pretty sure I’d scream out loud and throw my own cleats off for life. Plastic cleats may have changed that recommendation. Lightening is scarey. As it should be. I realize wandering around with a pile of metal shafted clubs isn’t wise but getting to shelter seems more plausible. If you are lucky enough to play on a course that you are able to walk it can be invigorating. Have you ever walked around a neighborhood, possibly your own, and noticed a house or interesting landscaping that you had never noticed in the past yet you'd driven by it hundreds of times? That's what happens when you walk a golf course. You see natures beauty in a way that often escapes you. A fringe benefit of golf. If it’s insanely warm out however, it can be a real bitch. On one such day I mistakenly left the hand controlled brake on my pushcart on. As I was pushing or in this case, shoving my clubs up an incline it truly got the best of me. My girlfriend leaned over and kindly released the brake. Note to self. Brakes are meant for halting movement. Not too helpful in motion.

"Count the smiles and not the strokes" my son suggests. If you are having an unusually bad day on the golf course there aren't a whole lot of smiles to count yet plenty of strokes. Keeping score can be a motivator or can be immensely disheartening. The knowledge that anyone can have a disappointing day on the golf course is somewhat comforting. It can be a real test of self control. Not only does it shake your confidence pretty good it can get the best of you. Arnold Palmer had it right. "Success in golf depends less on strength of body and more on strength of mind and character."

I have learned that I am indeed a fair-weather golfer. I really don't like intense heat or doing anything in the rain. Not even dancing. Although by nature I am a pretty patient person I have to remind myself that golf is just a game. Sweating the small stuff, that tiny ball included, is a waste of time. I'm not terribly competitive but challenging myself can be a good thing. I never saw myself as superstitious but I have been known to have a lucky ball. I've reminded myself that the chance to be with friends or family for a couple of hours is not often given. For me fresh air and companionship are the biggest rewards of the game. Pulled muscles are reminders to sit a round out of whatever it is you're doing. Your body is trying to tell you something. A Fishbellie heated neck wrap is not optional but necessary as occasional injuries are "par for the course". If you haven't afforded yourself the luxury of learning the game of golf do yourself the favor. Take the time to learn it and in turn learn some valuable lessons about yourself.

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