It was only a matter of time and patience. That’s what I kept telling myself as the 93s turned to 90s, the 90s to 86s, the 86s to 82s, the 82s to 78s, the 78s to 74s, the 74s to 72s, and the 72s to 70s. I had no direct control over the numbers. They were just an outcome of diligent, targeted, consistent hard work. Surely, this can be applied to anything.
In my case, it took 351 days of grinding, roughly 2,000 focused hours, and 15.5 calendar months to break into the sixties. And as with anything, I thought it best to crush it, not just lightly slide in. Last Monday, I shot an official 5 under par 67 from the tournament tees, and I’ll be honest, I was buzzing.
I made 8 birdies, 3 bogeys, and 7 pars. I hit 7/14 fairways, 13/18 greens, and had 27 putts. I never once pulled out my brand new, exorbitantly priced driver. I didn’t need it.
I bogeyed the first hole and missed a 3 foot birdie putt on the second, causing me to manage my aggravation early on. I birdied 3, narrowly missed on 4, then birdied 5, 6, and 7, causing me to manage my extreme giddiness. I narrowly missed birdie on 8 and made a goofy bogey on 9, causing me to manage my irritation once again.
I birdied 12, 13, and 14, and all of a sudden I was 5 under through 14, and my nerves knew it. I made a great par save on 15, and then like a clown, bogeyed 16, one of the easiest holes on the course. I narrowly missed again on 17, and as I stood on 18 tee at 4 under par, I told myself in as kind of a way as possible, Don’t you dare f*** this up. I safely put my tee ball in play and then hit a brilliant iron to about 25 feet.
Relieved, excited, so many emotions swirling, but I wasn’t quite finished. I set up my phone to video the occasion, my son playing on the cart just offscreen. And by God, I drained it. Center cup. 5 under. 67. Done. I walked it in Tiger-style. I celebrated with pure joy, the kind that doesn’t come with money, praise, or adulation. It’s an internal joy, kind of like the marathons, knowing what slogging through the Mississippi sun day after day to chase the impossible feels like.
Speaking of, the impossible isn’t really impossible if you are willing to get after it. Diligent, consistent, hard work is most of the battle, but don’t underestimate want to, will, and drive. I’m 30+ years behind most elite golfers, but as the 93s turning to 67 should prove, the intangibles count for something.
All of it can be worked on. All of it can be made better. If you really want to…
Have a great week.-Benj
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