When I was in high school, my friends and I would ride down to the local 9-hole public golf course that separated us from the country club kids making use of Daddy’s account number at the “19th Green Bar & Grille” (with an ‘e’).
We’d pay our eight dollars and proceed to play as many rounds as possible before dark with stolen range balls from the Percy Warner Golf Park. It wasn’t even called a course. It was a golf park!
When Did My Trajectory Change?
Anyway, it was great. No worries. No scorecards. No $40 Titleist golf gloves. And no tees most of the time. We wore basketball shoes with the laces untied — mostly because the name “FootJoy” sounded dumb, but also because it didn’t matter what you wore. You just were.
That’s when golf was golf. Real golf. The way those Fifteenth Century Scots meant for the game to be enjoyed. When golf was real golf, players would hit a pebble around a natural course of sand dunes, rabbit runs, and tracks using a stick or primitive club.
That’s what we did! Just the four or five of us on a Tuesday afternoon or Saturday morning — whenever the spirit moved.
When golf was real golf, the winner was the guy who ended up losing the least amount of balls. Nowadays, losing a ball will get you called out at the next monthly staff meeting.
Back then, if you used your putter on the tee box, you automatically gained a stroke. Now, if I don’t take a good backswing with my Big Bertha Hawkeye VFT Driver, I’m automatically “in one…out two… hitting three.”
I used to actually look forward to hitting out of the sand. It was an adventure! Now, the sand trap means I didn’t read my trajectory correctly, or perhaps I just hit it “fat” — whatever that means.
The only guy who “hit it fat” at the Percy Warner Golf Park was TJ. I thought he was kind of overweight. Turns out he was just a much better athlete than the rest of us.
I had a really nice “approach shot” last week. Used to be, I’d have an “awesome, high one.” My “short game” is still the weakest part of my day on the course. A short game used to mean we’d finish playing before Stuart Olson had to check his blood sugar. So when did my trajectory change?
Answering: When Did My Trajectory Change?
I’m getting older now, and I am beginning to realize that perspective has everything to do with true happiness, and the difference between what is now and what was then has much less to do about the game of golf than it does the way I look at golf.
As with life and business and just about everything else on the planet, golf is so much more fun when you don’t treat the people around you as opponents. Why can‘t they just be there — with you — enjoying the game?
So what if your drive on the Par 5 doesn’t make it past the women’s tee? We used to get a big laugh out of that sort of thing: “Attaboy, Ivey! Now you have to play the rest of the hole with your pants down!”
And who cares if you veer off-course every once in a while? There is beauty in the rough, sometimes.
Sure, I want to be better than I am right now. I even get embarrassed from time to time by the way I perform. My game isn’t all that it could or should be. But sometimes, it should be enough to just enjoy the game.
Perspective, schemer-perspective. I still think Footjoy is a dumb name!
Have a great week, everybody. Hit ‘em straight. Or don’t. It’s all good.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Billy Ivey is a writer, speaker, and brand strategist with more than 20 years of experience helping brands identify and communicate their stories. Over the years, Billy has worked with brands like Chick-fil-A, Home Depot, Valvoline, and hundreds more. In addition, Billy writes blogs and reaches more than 20,000 followers every day through social media.