“Played any golf lately?”-normal conversation starter
There is something inside of me that just wants to play. Until I was 23, that was what I knew, albeit in a different sport. Then it was time to become an adult, when continuing to play was deemed unlikely and borderline irresponsible.
That’s when most people (myself included) become bankers or insurance agents or real estate brokers to the players, or better yet, simply spectators.
As much as I love watching sports, my drive to play is still there. Last year, I (correctly) gave up competitive soccer. The last two years, I ran two marathons more as a symbol of humanity and hope than anything. And my arthritis is still ever present, but the blistering Mississippi heat gives me hours of reprieve each day.
So…during those hours, I golf. Or more simply put, at 37 years old, I gave myself permission to play again.
I have never been much of a self-doubter, but as my personal goals have gotten loftier, sometimes even I wonder what the hell I am doing. I didn’t grow up with the game, I am not getting any professional advice just yet, and golf is a massively complex problem with pitfalls around every corner.
But…I love to solve problems. And damn it, I love the game.
First, though, I had to come off of the 15 day disabled list, nursing a tender back riddled with wonderful memories. On April 17, 2019, the official start of the golfing journey, I was back in business.
Since then (45 days), I have played 23 rounds and hit the range on 12 other days. Many days, I do both. Most rounds I walk, which is a roughly 6 mile stroll in 95 degree heat (heat index 110). It is a solitary exercise, with at least 75 percent of my time spent alone. I’ve hit thousands of balls. I use foam rollers and exercise bands and stretch and do core exercises like most people watch Netflix. Equally as important, I do mental exercises to keep my mind sharp and engaged.
Did I mention that I completely revamped my swing? Do you have any idea how annoying it is to take 9 steps backwards before taking that first little step forward? Do you have any idea how much energy it takes to simply breathe in the Mississippi heat, much less focus? Some days, I don’t want to do the work, but I do. Some days I ask, “Is this really possible?”, and I have to have a brief word with myself. “Do the work. It’s an honest reflection of who you are and who you want to be.”
For those of you wondering, there is no “prize”. No money. No trophy. No nothing. When I finally allowed myself to go beat hundreds of balls in the immense summer heat day after day with no cash or press clippings or Gucci watch looming, I discovered the real reward.
Have a great week.-Benj
Follow along on Instagram @anythingbutkhakis and @abkgolf.
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