I'm a pretty horrible writer so I'm going to need all the help I can get!
I never thought golf would be my thing. I was always into highly physical sports: soccer, skiing and softball. Golf was so serene, peaceful, and civilized. It did not seem like a likely sport for me to take up, but once I was hooked, there was no turning back. It can be the most frustrating and the most fulfilling place for a golfer. For me, it was where I first felt accomplished when I shot a 3 over par 39 for the first time, but it was also the place where I wanted to crawl up in a ball and cry after I shot a 33 over par 69 the week after.
Before taking up golf, I had the preconceived notion that golf for was old retired men at preppy, prestigious, pretentious country clubs. I had never been more wrong. There are no words to describe how much golf has given me. From the patience I have gained to the friendships that have formed, I owe so much to the sport of golf. I have become part of a community of people who can talk and debate about professional golf for hours and never get bored. Once hooked on golf, I realized I had joined a family. In this golf family, we not defined by our race or religion, economic status or the way we look, but rather by our common love for the game of golf. We share a passion and that is the bond. Our high is a golfers high: seeing a perfectly executed fade, a clutch long birdie putt sink or a great sand shot to save par.
I am not the best at golf. I am not a golf prodigy. I am not nationally ranked. I will never be a professional golfer... but the work I have put into my golf game comes back to benefit me in the way I approach problems both on the course and off. The biggest change-- the way I look at and deal with a bad outcome. When I first started, I did not know how to deal with the frustration of a bad hole. I let it get to me and I battled with my "inner golf demons."
I had never been more intimidated then I was standing at the bottom of a tall, steep, bunker covered hill. Perched at the top of the small mountain sized hill was the hole. The flagstick was only partially visible because of the gradient of the hill. This was one of those moments when my jaw dropped. I quickly put my bag down and assessed the situation.
"150 yards out. The ball is plugged in a deep fairway bunker." I thought to myself. The situation was new to me and I was genuinely stumped. This was the times when "going with your gut" was necessary. I grabbed my 7 iron and made my way to my ball. Without giving the shot any thought, I dug my feet into the sand and took a swing at the ball. Even before seeing the ball, I knew it was not good. The ball was still in the bunker, plugged even deeper than before. It took five more hack swings to get the ball out of the bunker and onto the green.
"You got a 10 on that hole, right?" my playing partner asked me after I putted out.
"Yeah, a 10." was my response. That round was one of the worst I had played since I first took up golf. I let that first hole get to me for the rest of the day. That day, golf won and I lost. As I began to play more and more, I started to beat the demons. I began doing better and better my mentality improved. I won more and more battles against the demons, but I am still fighting the war.