The other day I went to lunch with people who were in our office to get some training. One of the guys was a golfer so we were chatting about him not being able to play much yet this year and of course the crummy weather we've been having lately.
Then another gal at the table mentioned that she has started golfing. And then she said, "but I'm not sure I like it".
As we were walking back to the office I realized that I had reacted like someone had badmouthed a friend of mine and it was up to me to defend them. Or maybe I was trying to convince her to like it so I could feel good about my passion for golf.
Either way, that conversation got me thinking...what is it about golf that makes me crave it so much?
I've always been a believer that golf teaches us great life lessons. So much of what it means to be a person of character can be learned from the first tee to the last green. Honesty, patience, generosity, and compassion can be found on just about every hole. I love that about golf.
But I realized that those things aren't what make me drive a little faster on my way home so I can get out on the course as soon as I can...or to buy new clubs when I don't really need them, or to pull out Pro-V's on a practice round, or put on 3 layers of clothes to go out when the thermometer looks at me like I'm nuts.
After pondering this for a while I'm not sure I can pinpoint one thing, but as I spent the past couple days on the course I got some pretty good ideas on why golf is in my blood...and maybe yours, too.
Golf feeds my hunger for accomplishment. I wanted to say challenge instead of accomplishment, but after being challenged lately to move back to some different tees (and adamantly refusing!) I realized that I'm not comfortable going outside of my own limitations...the guys say it's going to improve my game, but I'm not sure I buy it.
I do like my perceptions and judgment to be challenged, though - am I reading putts right? Can I change my game to play the wind (which has been awful this year)? Can I remember what I did on the last drive when it went right down the middle? Will I be able to make myself hit over the bunker and not be scared of going in it? Can I recover from a bad shot? I like it when my brain is working, but one of my biggest challenges on the course seems to be knowing when to shut my brain off and just play.
But besides the "golf" side of golf, the game really does bring more to the table. Hanging out with golf friends is one of my favorite things and talking golf in the clubhouse is always entertaining.
As I was out on the course during Men's League night, I can see that golf might be motivator to spend time with friends each week, to get out of the office, or just to spend some time outside. Of course I'm pretty sure there's quite a few of them who are just like me and appreciate the competition fix.
Speaking of competition, one of the great motivators for me and 3 golf pals is our birdie card. We started this last year and we're back at it again - the goal is to be the first person to birdie each hole on the course, but you have to be with at least one other person on the card to have it count. What's funny is that I find myself playing different golf when we are playing together - I'm worried about my birdie holes still left, and it's almost a let down when I reach a small stretch of holes I already have. This is not good for my game!
So we've had to add other competitions in order to keep us motivated...last week I suggested we do least putts because the putter was failing a few of the guys...and I promptly got my butt kicked. Funny how the boys step up when there are a few coins on the line!
We are now adding a little match play and that really helps me keep focused on playing each hole well...and you don't have to worry about a blow up hole ruining a whole round.
But as you might have guessed (if you've read any of my other stories), my biggest motivation for 2009 is to break par on my home course. And I'm now finding my biggest challenge to be not to get down on myself when the double shows up (on #6 or 18!) or if I miss a good opportunity for birdie. So far, no luck...but if I can harness that motivation I might just have a chance! I can't wait to get out on the course again. I hope you feel the same way!
Filed under: money, match play, motivation, competition