Monday, June 14, 2010

My Quest to Find Love Again

On Tuesday morning I will be making the trip that any golfer with a pulse would die for. It involves boarding a plane, golf clubs in tow, and heading across the pond to the home of golf. I'm going to Scotland to tee it up at some of the most famous golf courses in the world with my dad, gearing up for a British Open qualifier that will take place the following week.

It is the trip of a lifetime, but more than that to me. It's an opportunity to fall back in love with a game that I've started to dislike. I will be embarking on a trip to reinvent my golfing soul, something I never thought I'd lose, and I'm expecting ... no, hoping ... that this feeling goes away.

See, the last year or so has been a weird one for me. Like most people in their mid-20s, I've been dealing with a ton of changes, some serious and some not so serious. The problem is, my golf game has suffered like never before, and although the scores don't necessarily show it (I can still find a number around par after I finish up the 18th), it isn't the same. It's like those lulls in a relationship when just nothing seems to be working for you or the significant other, and you go to bed at night hoping that the next day will bring you a little hope.

I've spent the last year hating the game I love to play, and was blessed to be pretty decent at it. My friends can't comprehend the pain I feel on the golf course, struggling to hit the shots I want. They think I'm whining when I hit it 20-feet or so from 110 yards because to them it is a decent shot, but the hard part is understanding where I'm coming from (on the contrary, I get why they think I'm annoying ... most would love to be able to do that on a consistent basis and I hate being the guy that is yelling all over the course at "bad" shots).

I'm going to take this trip with absolutely no worries. I don't want to think about my score or my shot or my negativity. I want to stand on every tee with hope that my shot will turn out how I envisioned it, and if it doesn't, try and find it and hit it again. This game can be frustrated on every level, and I am trying to be more positive with it. Starting on Tuesday, my new journey begins.

I don't really know why I'm writing this for the masses. Maybe it's an opportunity for me to actually say what I want to say about golf, and how I'm really hoping to be able to have fun playing it again. I am sick of walking to my car with my head down, and my wedges shuttering at some of the shots I made them hit. I don't want to be that guy that bitches about every shot. I want to go out and leave happy and fulfilled, because I think the pain I feel on the golf course is starting to seep out in other parts of my life.

It's just a game to most, but to me it's my livelihood. While I know I'll never win the Masters, I do consider myself a respectable golfer that will always be able to perform on the links. I'm hoping the next seven days will give me an opportunity to pick up my golf clubs, begin the journey on the outward nine, and just smile a little.

It might be a good walk spoiled to some, but to me it is my first love, and I hope we can rekindle it on our little vacation. (That means you have to be sweet too, golf.)


Andrew said...

Well said my friend.
Although we constantly give you crap about being unsatisfied with what we consider to be great shots; we know that you expect better (and we've all witnessed it). Half the time we make comments to make up for the shot that we just hit into the desert (skinned it!).

Good luck in Scotland. Make birdies and know that we're all very jealous and fully expect you to qualify for the Open.


Roody said...

I know what you mean, but in a slightly different way. Last year I was able to get my handicap down to a 10 for the first time in my life. I ended the season on a pretty high note.

This year rolls around, and I feel like now that I've achieved that level of golf, any time I don't shoot that well I've "failed". Or any time I leave myself a 40 foot putt I groan about it. Or any time I hit a drive into a hazard, I bitch at myself for "wasted strokes". I can only imagine how much harder it is for someone who can actually break par on a regular basis.

And the thing is, I hope I can get to where you are someday. Bring on the misery!! :-)

Have a blast in Scotland. Looking forward to reading about it.

johnraser said...

You're gonna have an amazing time, Shane. My dad and I went to Scotland in 2000 and played most of the courses on the British Open rotation. Turnberry, Carnoustie, Western Gailes, Prestwick, Troon, etc. We also went to Saturday and Sunday of The Open Championship when Tiger won. I was one of the ringleaders of that running charge over the burn and down the 18th fairway on Sunday. (Which reminds me, I've got it all on video and need to transfer it to DVD and post it) We stayed at Russacks Hotel on 18, shopped at Auchterlonies, and dined at quaint restaurants while listening to bagpipers.

The highlight of the trip had to be getting into the lottery and playing St. Andrews the Wednesday after the Open! What an amazing experience that was to be playing at the home of golf with the grandstands and scoreboards still up!

To this day, it is the greatest trip I've ever taken. You are gonna feel so close to golf's roots that you'll be reinvigorated and re-energized. It's a magical place for lovers of the game. Have a blast, buddy! Cheers!

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