This evening my husband and I golfed at a nearby course that winds through a neighborhood, is narrow, full of trees, and has greens as big as Dallas. I had forgotten how tight the fairways were so when I stepped into the tee box on one, I looked around and gulped. It didn’t help that right before teeing off I saw a sign that read, “Golfers are responsible for property damage.” One bad mistake and your ball is on someone’s meat platter at the dinner table.
My anxiety kicked in and I forgot all the fundamentals. I either skulled it or hit trees on my first 15 shots. My poor husband heard an earful from me.
I should just quit.
I suck at this game.
Don’t look at me.
Please just turn around when I shoot. Pretend you are golfing by yourself.
How did I ever think I could be a good golfer?
Oh I threw a big fat hissy fit out there. It was ugly. My shots were uglier.
I gave up on my woods entirely and decided to go with the club I could count on. I pulled out a five-iron and skulled it again. Nope, not that one. Next was the six-iron. I thought, if I have to play the rest of this round with a pitching wedge, I’ll do it but I must hit solid shots. I did some tempo practice swings while waiting for a threesome ahead of us to tee off and repeated my tempo chant probably 20 times over.
I never hit another bad shot! My six iron shots were going as far as my five-wood. I worked my way to five-iron, then even hit five-wood decently off the tee as a second practice shot. It started to go well. I replaced my 15 bad shots in a row with 15 good ones in a row. That brought me back to civility. In the depth of my utter despair, somewhere deep within, a voice of reason told me to stop berating myself and review the fundamentals. Make sure I’m executing them to the best of my ability. That’s the point I started staying down and getting into my tempo.
I apologized profusely to my husband and told him I understand if he never wants to golf with me again. I was a total cry baby and a very poor sport while I was hitting it bad.
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The last hole is a short par 3 over a lake. My husband teed off first and hit two balls in the water. The men’s tee is 116 yards away and the ladies get too much of a break at 82 yards. I decided to hell with the forward tee. I can hit it 116 no problem. I pulled out my five-iron, thinking maybe it was too much club but there was an uphill roll to the green so I kept it out of the bag, went to the tee box and set up the shot.
I practiced my now-smooth-iron tempo and hit the ball. It lofted bone straight over the lake landing pin-high about eight feet right of the pin. It was a gorgeous shot.
I didn’t even know that the single player behind us had come up and watched me hit. I heard “nice shot” come from his mouth. He was standing about 25 feet back of the tee box. I think I forgot to say thank you because I was so stunned that a golfer could skull ten in a row then hit a pure shot like that in the same round.
But this was a good round and had to happen. I have ‘hit bottom’ as they say. It is time I deal with these horrible habits that cause skulling and bad aim. I often pull up with my chest to try to correct some alignment problem I suddenly decided I had during my takeaway, which then causes my head to roll around, and top the ball or in some cases, hit it fat. Or it causes an open or closed faced club on ball contact and sometimes I just don’t line up my shot properly. I know how to make solid contact with a club and golf ball. I have a naturally good turn, acceleration and snap. The stuff that gets in the way is between my ears. It often happens before I even square up my club face at address. I’m more determined than ever to deal with this. No more meltdowns.
I was ashamed of myself.