Monday, July 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Golf to Me

Today is my birthday and I am 56. I woke early and washed my face, brushed my teeth, added eye cream and sun block—and a touch of eye liner --and packed my clubs. We drove to a nearby executive course and played nine holes in and hour and 15 minutes. Today I had two pars! I’m still very very new to golf but I am learning how I learn and I can see the difference in this short time. Yesterday I looked at pictures of women swinging and that club is so far behind them on the backswing. I kept seeing that in my head when I swung and voila! My ball went up in the air and onto the green. What a Happy Golf Birthday this is.

Now, in truth, because I am also 56 and a very girly—womanly—girl. I am also dressing up tonight for a special birthday dinner and that will, I hope, be followed by other exciting semi-athletic adventures.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Heartbreak Lesson

Today golf teaches the lesson of heartbreak. Watching Cink beat Watson and hearing the commentator say, “He is so disappointed but he holds his head up and moves on.” That is what I am trying to learn too. How to survive heartbreak with dignity. How to be disappointed but take control of myself rather than wallow in blame. Hold my head up. Move on.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Front and Back

Today another golf lesson with Peter the Pro. We focused on pitching and putting. He began with showing me how to keep the weight on my left foot—he referred to this as my front foot—what? Finally I got it: front is closer to the hole and “back” is away from the hole. Ok. Right there may be the biggest part of the lesson: even really good teachers think you know what they are talking about. It’s true in any field or any specialty. Language becomes commonplace and others are left out because of language and jargon. But—my big lesson: Ask! “Wait”, I said, “I’m not clear on this front and back foot thing.” He stopped and explained. Done. Now anything I read about golf makes more sense, I can picture the front foot and the back foot. You already knew that? Great. Beginner’s Mind in Buddhism is going to serve me in golf.

There is a lesson for romance here too. Do I know what he means when he says “Spend time together”. Does he know what I mean when I say “romance”?
My lesson: Ask!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Golf is to Marriage

You have heard this before and you have felt it: Golf can be humiliating. It challenges you, it changes you. Just when you think you have figured it out it changes up on you. You learn techniques and you learn new tricks but ultimately you have to change. You do seemingly unnatural things and you work against your own personality. In this way golf changes you.

Marriage does too. Friends ask me why I am wiling to marry again. “Why not date?” “Why not just live together?” To answer them I can fall back on custom or culture but in reality I like marriage because, like golf, it changes me. There is an intensity to marriage that is unlike any other form of relationship. It is a crucible.

Then why not stay married no matter what? Well, some people do. That's how they learn. Some people love to play one golf course over and over measuring themselves and their changes against that venue. Others, like me, are willing to change courses and partners, but the measure at the end of the day is not the course or the partner, it is me.
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