262 Days of Golf

“Wanting to do something is different from actually doing it.”-Tom Brady

I think this quote sums up my biggest personal evolution. 5 years ago, 10 years ago, I had all of these grand, crazy ideas about how I wanted to live life, but subconsciously I was scared to death to pursue them because of how incredibly different they looked. I think lots of people have this predicament to some degree, and inevitably the grand ideas often get traded in for fitting in, growing up, or being busy. At best, they are recategorized as bucket list or vacation plans, 50/50 to if they will ever actually happen.

If you have followed along for any period of time now, you know I finally said to hell with all of that. Almost 3 years ago, I started abk. 13 months ago, I went all in. 1 year ago, I began the golf journey. Let’s build a lifestyle where less is more. Let’s build a one-of-a-kind lifestyle where freedom is the key objective, and let’s finally live with intention. #abk

Less is more does not apply to golf. With things I love, more is more. That’s the whole point.

Of the past 366 calendar days, I played and/or practiced golf 262 of them. I lowered my handicap from 14 to 3.8. Using my last 20 rounds as the barometer, I lowered my scoring average from 92.9 to 77.0. My best score was 73 (+1). My best round was a 74 from the tips (73.8/134). I played multiple 9 hole rounds in 34 (2 under). I followed the letter of the USGA law. There were no gimmes on this journey.

I played from all tees in all seasons in all conditions. It’s the best way to get better and how I learned to hit every club in the bag. Though I didn’t keep track because I didn’t care, I probably played between 300-400 rounds. I likely am inching close to 1,500 hours along the long and grinding road.

I injured my foot, ankle, and calf/Achilles. I injured my hip, lower, and upper back. I injured my elbow, shoulder, and wrist. I’m 37. I have arthritis. It comes with the territory.

I have beautiful memories of rounds with my buddies. I have beautiful memories of rounds with strangers. I enjoyed the scenery of Utah, Iowa, and South Dakota, to name a few. I enjoyed surprising my dad back home in North Carolina and playing on his 70th birthday. I saw a hole in one. I played with a famous, bestselling golf author. I debriefed via phone with my parents nightly. I could go on and on. My fondest memories are the days I played with my son. I enjoyed when he actually played, but my absolute favorites were watching him simply play in the woods, dawdle down the fairway, or take a nap in the cart when he inevitably got bored.

My other fondest memory was simply the grind: the process and grit required to go from a 14 to a 3.8 and 92.9 to 77.0. This journey may sound glamorous, but I can assure you the process of getting good is not. I wanted to quit eight zillion times. I’m proud that I pushed through. I’m most proud that I’m still pushing through.

I learned that you have to hit the streets aka the course to get the best work in. The range, with no obstacles, isn’t reality and only helps so much. There are no skipping steps, no quick fix, no winning the lottery. I’ve hit every rung of the ladder along the journey. Time and practice. Time and practice.

A pro said my end goal is probably 5 years away. I peg it more like 2 (he doesn’t know my drive). But really, I’m creating a lifelong lifestyle. It’s a beautiful game and lifestyle that can be enjoyed in so many ways with so many people in so many beautiful places. (It’s just more fun to me when I shoot 74 instead of 94.)

So what’s next? The game doesn’t require my full attention anymore like laying this excellent foundation did. It doesn’t require endless hours each day anymore. I’ve reached the point where that has become counterproductive. I simply need to sharpen my tools for 2-3 hours daily, if possible.

All along, my personal outcome has been to be able to shoot 70 consistently, regardless of the length of the course or weather conditions. I want to be better than scratch. I want to start playing sanctioned tournaments when the world returns to normal.

I have some loftier goals, but I’ll keep those to myself for now. I’ve renewed my golf membership for another year. I’m starting to invest in the tools necessary to play at the highest level.

What do I still need to work on? Green reading and directional driving consistency are important. Self belief and confidence are even more important.

I birdied the final hole of Year 1 to shoot a 76. On Day 1 of Year 2, I shot a 75, my ballstriking brilliant but my green reading leaving a lot to be desired. I feel good. I feel alive. I feel confident. I have a lot of work to do.

This was the most unusual, but most fulfilling year of my life. My friends joke that it was because I didn’t have a traditional job or big, bad mortgage or whatever. YEAH, that’s the whole point of this: to design a life that’s thought through, one-of-a-kind, and tailored, a bit more intentional and purposeful than the traditional roadmap.

My biggest learning this year? As Mr. Brady said, wanting to do something and doing it are two very different things.

Have a great week, and stay safe.-Benj

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