“They’re big, and they require sacrifice. Things that aren’t easy. They’re not the mundane. They’re not the normal. They’re dreams, and thus they require dreams execution.”-GaryVee
At the conclusion of the playing of my first Assistant’s Championship last Tuesday, it had been 1,196 days since I started the golf journey. Of those 1,196 days, I had grinded it out on the golf course for 882. 74%. Three out of every four days.
Three years, three months, and nine days. From a wildly ambitious dreamer and mediocre amateur golfer to missing my first professional paycheck by one spot. Getting paid to play golf. I finished eighth in the tournament. They paid the top seven spots.
I’ve kept copious notes of all 882 (now 885) days of grinding, and I remember the early part of the journey with great fondness. Like Day 3 when I shot 101 in my first round at Shell Landing. Or March 3, 2020, when a mentor told me my wedge game was terrible and I needed to do something about it. Or January 8, 2021, when I grinded through low thirty degree temperatures. Or June 3, 2022, when I played from almost 7500 yards to force myself to hit it a mile.
I’ve watched my son make his first real birdie. I’ve finished near dead last in a tournament. I’ve shot a 5 under par 67. I’ve practiced for thirty minutes one day, and ten hours the next. I’ve been excited, annoyed, defeated, nervous, and really nervous. I’ve heard my name called and felt my arms go limp.
I shot 109 early in the journey at US Open venue Pinehurst # 2, then posted a more than respectable 81 there just a couple of months ago. I shot 103 early in the process at Zurich Classic venue TPC Louisiana, then posted a 75 there a couple of years into the journey.
This year, I shot a 75 in my first tournament in New Orleans. In a match play event, I held my own but eventually lost 5&4 to a guy that has played in two PGA Tour events. In Houma, Louisiana, I shot another mid 70s round where I finished with two unfocused double bogies. Then I didn’t play another tournament for three months until Monday and Tuesday’s National Car Rental GSPGA Assistant’s Championship. Three months is too long. I was ready to compete.
My playing partner on Day 1, aka the eventual champion, had about a forty year head start on me in the golf world. A lifelong grinder, professional caddie, mini tour player, and teacher, it was obvious that he was a better player than me, but we hit it off immediately. After he told me his story and I told him mine, between shots, I picked his extremely experienced brain. We talked and laughed. He told me what I did very well, and he told me what I needed to work on. He only beat me by six strokes on Monday, a great gauge of my progress.
My playing partners on Day 2 were young guns, former collegiate golfers, and great players. We talked very little, but I still enjoyed the day. They hit it further, they hit it straighter, but I had life experience on my side. That might sound crazy, but I’ve done so much course management and work on the mental side of the game that I can be in the ballgame. One beat me by only four strokes and one beat me by zero strokes, a great gauge of my progress.
The course that we played was an absolute beast as witnessed by not a single player breaking old man par. I felt good about my play and solid about my eighth place finish. My Day 1 partner won the tournament at +2, and he would have shot in the 60s with his eyes closed at my home course. I reflected on and celebrated my birdies and pars, dissected my bogies, and reveled in the fact that I only made one double bogey, a direct reflection of 882 days of grinding.
A couple of better shots here and there, and I would have made $1,000. A few more here and there, I would have made $1,000 more. I’ve never even thought about the money until now, but I’ll tell you one thing. First time I win some cash, we are not celebrating the result, but we are definitely celebrating the dream execution.
And the next chance is only three weeks away.
Have a great week.-Benj
Join the abk community!
Follow along on Instagram @anythingbutkhakis, @abkgolf, and @anythingbutkhakisphotography.
If you enjoy these and would like to get the weekly piece via email, please follow on the website http://www.anythingbutkhakis.com.