Tiger Woods is currently in Dubai after being cut from the Farmers Insurance Open with a score of 148. It will be interesting to see how he performs. Last week, in anticipation of his return, I got lost in the guilty pleasure of YouTube for half an hour looking up his glory years and the Top 10 shots of his career. When Tiger was at the top of his game, his performance seemed magical and blessed by the universe. What he was able to pull off at the most crucial times seemed to defy logic and physics. I got goosebumps all over again watching all those clips. One of them had a voice over of Will Smith from The Legend of Bagger Vance which led me to re-watch that movie, one of my favorites.
As any golfer knows, beginner or pro, even being away from the game for a week means losing your authentic swing. As I watched Bagger Vance, it reminded me of the basic lessons of golf, and even life. Envision what you want, imagine it with your mind’s eye, practice your swing, then choose the right one. Go easy on yourself if you make a bad shot or even three, you can still recover if you play smart the rest of the game. And you will never master the game, nor return to your peak performance when you were in your prime. But that’s not the point, it’s to keep trying and to enjoy the love of the game.
At times, or truthfully, most often, it’s hard to see what you love about the game. Often times self reflection and patience is all one needs. It’s an endless chase of a tiny white ball through grass, water, and sand. Sometimes it seems that all you’re doing is hitting it into the trees or searching in the rough for your ball. Except with enough practice and trust, your brain remembers how to turn off, to stop thinking, and to let the body and muscle memory take over. Before you know it, you’ve found your rhythm, you’ve re-discovered your swing with the right stance, the correct angle, and your timing is flawless. You watch the trajectory of the ball. It slices through the skies like a hot knife in butter. And just like that, YOU’RE BACK.
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