Monday, March 31, 2008

The Cold, Windy Desert of Sleepy Ridge

Last Saturday I got the chance to play golf for the first time this year. It was a cold day, and the wind was quite fierce. Those who know my golf game, know that I play a high ball, and the wind typically owns me. When I left to head out to the golf course, I was not expecting any adverse weather conditions. The area by my apartment, the weather was beautiful and the temperature was just perfect. When I got to Sleepy Ridge Golf Course, I stepped out of my car, and immediately thought of heading home. After a short conversation with myself, in which I convinced myself that it was the first round of the year and I would rather play golf in crappy conditions than have to wait another week, I threw on my mock turtleneck and my rain pants and went to start my round.

Seeing as I was one of only a handful of crazy people to play golf on such a day, I got to play by myself. The wind was such that when I was driving downwind, I would hit the ball somewhere over 400 yards and when I was hitting into the wind, I would only hit it a measly 240. I quickly decided that I would just enjoy the journey, and not worry about my score.

I ended up playing pretty well. After figuring out that the wind was about a 2-club wind, I played pretty much even-golf. Which, considering the conditions, and the fact that it was the first round of the year, I was pleasantly surprised. Now, instead of dreading to play golf when I see the trees bending with the wind, I am actually excited to go out and prove that my solid round last Saturday was not a fluke and that I can do it again.

What’s funny is that about a year ago, whenever I would play golf on a windy day and come home with a poor score, I would blame my sad performance on the wind. People would ask how I played, I would mutter my score, and then include a huge description about the horrible conditions. One day I realized that my excuses were stopping my progression. Instead of going out and working on the shots that windy days would require of me, I would choose to play golf on calm days. Instead of learning to hit a lower ball of the tee, I would just concede that I could not hit driver into the wind, and I would play a long iron, to try and at least control the ball a little bit. The fact that I would always blame the weather for my bad round of golf, stopped me from accepting responsibility and making the necessary changes to adjust my game. So sometime last year, I made a goal to stop making excuses. Whenever people would ask me why, I would use this example about how I used to always blame the wind for my hacker-like scores, and how that essentially prevented me from developing into a better golfer.

I recognize that one solid round in horrendous conditions does not qualify me to play in the British Open. I could not even say with confidence that the next time I go out with the breeze blowing I would be able to play with similar confidence or results. But I am glad to finally see that by getting rid of my excuses and being accountable for my weakness gave me the opportunity to grow and finally begin to overcome one of my many nemeses on the golf course.