Women’s Golf and it’s Unexpected Benefits
Life is hard…so is golf.
If you play the game then you can understand what I mean.
One faces many challenges when playing golf, and as one of my non-golfing friends say, “it’s a walk spoiled by chasing a little white (or pink) ball around.”
As a woman golfer, I also had the daunting task of finding someone to play with me. Growing up, the game was flooded with many male golfers, especially because I grew up in the “Tiger-era”. I was often the lone lady on the course golfing with three guys who were happy to find someone to make a fourth on their team. My friends were never interested in playing a round a golf with me on the weekends either. To this day, I really only play with men. This didn’t deter me from playing the sport though; it made me appreciate it more. I grew up and matured, and so did my golf game.
Golf doesn’t care about age or who you are, it is the fairest sport you will come to find. I can guarantee you that most golfers (even the pros) have hit a golf ball into their fair share of trees, yards of houses and ponds. There is nothing to be ashamed of because we ALL have been there. No one is left out when it comes to hitting bad shots.
My love for the game started when I was around 10 years old. Maybe it was the independence of being my own team, or maybe it was the idea of playing a game that men often dominated. Either way, I fell in love right away. My relationship with golf has had its ups and downs; some years I played more than others. I had to take one whole year off when I was pregnant with son. Two years later when I was pregnant with daughter, I played until I was 28 weeks along. I was hoping that golfing would rub off on my unborn child – maybe my daughter (or son) will love it as much as I do.
As golf has seen change through the years, so has my life: from graduating high school, surviving divorced parents, going to college and grad school, to finding a job. Golf was the rock that I depended on.
When I came back to my hometown to find work and to help pay off my debt, I never expected to be introduced to my future husband and stay in my hometown. Golf brought us together, and to this day we golf almost every Sunday with one another. This wasn’t what I had planned – but everything worked out the way it was supposed to in the end.
Golf works in the same way. It provides us with guidelines: the par score, course yardage, course map and the placement of the pin. It may seem like a few easy shots from the tee to the pin, but as many of us know, that’s not always true. Some of us hit trees, go out of bounds, we may even land in a sand trap so deep we might as well be in a war trench. Golf is marked with obstacles that we have to overcome to finally reach our goal – just like life.
Many of us have some plan that we want to follow: go to college, marry, find a dream job and maybe have children. However, life doesn’t always go ‘as planned.’ We may hit our own ‘sand traps’ in life that make us rethink what we’re doing and work to get back on track. It doesn’t mean we should quit or never finish the hole; it just means we need to find another way to get there.
At times we have to humble ourselves and start over in the different paths we take. Just like when we hit a ball out of bounds; it’s a sickening feeling hitting your third stroke off the tee box, but at least you get that second chance to try again. We are often so caught up in the feeling of losing that first chance, that it’s hard to see the good in getting another one. But you learn….you learn to be more cautious, more careful and a little more humbled when trying the second time around.
Golf has become my steadiest and most reliable friend over the years. It introduced me to my husband, was the scene for my engagement (see my photo above), and it taught me to not focus on the bad (duffs, hooked shots or whiffs), but to let go and move on. I have shed tears, excitement and anger over the game. It has seen me at my worst and my best; golf can be forgiving or very spiteful. Life is the same way. I have forgiven, and I have been bitter. I have found myself muddled in deep anxiety or fear (almost like getting stuck in a deep sand trap), but I somehow get out. I have lost and I have gained. I became a better golfer when I learned to grow up and let go of what I can’t control – that also includes hitting a bad drive or missing an easy putt.
Being a woman golfer, I have found a friend that I can be myself with and to not judge me when I turn my back. Golf has mirrored my life and the ups and downs that I have taken to get to my final goal. The game has taught me to grow up in so many ways, and to enjoy each moment. Every round is a new adventure where we never know what to expect from the course or from ourselves. I know that I have a found a game that has been there for me, and I hope that I can continue be there for it.