A few posts ago, I promised to stay away from the course for a while and wait for my game to heal. Well, I didn’t touch a club for two whole weeks. That wouldn’t have been a long time for most of my golf career, but it’s the longest I’ve gone without playing in several years.
I woke up Monday morning itching to play, went to the course, and decided to ignore the light drizzle after a few other members of my regular Monday group showed up. The Cotton Baron was back from the high plains for one of his breaks from the colder weather. One of the cowboys was there, too, so the three of us took our place in the stableford tournament.
The break seemed to have it’s desired effect and I broke 80 for the first time since my game collapsed. But more importantly, I was hitting the ball solidly again and my swing felt like it belonged to me. I felt relaxed and into the game, not tense, frustrated, and distracted. As a side benefit I was able to welcome the Cotton Baron back by taking some of his money, so the day was an unqualified success.
I played again today, somewhat against my better judgement, and shot 86. I wasn’t into the game as much and the ball seemed to be afraid of the dark, but I was still hitting it solidly. I felt good, despite the mediocre score, and I only returned a small portion of my Monday winnings to the Baron.
These two rounds let me know what I want to do with my golf game. I really enjoyed Monday and I think I played well because it was different. I love the group of guys I play with and I like the course we usually play, but I need a little variety. I also enjoy playing in smaller groups sometimes, and even like a round by myself every now and then. It keeps my head more in the game.
So I’m going to add some rounds at courses I haven’t played before into my golf schedule. I’ll take a few solo trips to courses within an easy drive from my home, and concentrate on the less crowded and inexpensive courses. I’ll hit the small town public courses in the area and walk rather than ride. I’ll still play with the guys once a week or so because I really enjoy our rounds together, but I’ll lead a double life.
I think the first course on my agenda will be at Utopia, the course that inspired the book Golf’s Sacred Journey and the movie Seven Days in Utopia. It’s a little 9 hole track about 45 minutes from my house, and it seems like an appropriate place to start a pilgrimage.
I’ll let everyone know how it goes.