For my first three winters in Coastal Mississippi, I just grinded on through. I did nothing different from what I did during the summer. I practiced. I played. I did wear more clothes. But otherwise, I did what I thought was best which was just keep playing.
There was only one problem: winter golf and summer golf might as well be Japanese and German. The ball doesn’t travel as far. The grass is super thin. It’s often wet and muddy. And most importantly, my body doesn’t really work in cold weather. Mind you, it’s not Minnesota cold, but at this point, my forty year old body is looking for conditions where it has a chance to operate as best as it can.
So this past winter, my fourth down south, outside of a handful of outings, I knocked it on the head. After three previous winter seasons of grinding, I had found those couple of months to be confidence killers more so than anything due to the less than desirable conditions. And if you know anything about high level golf, confidence is everything.
It was brilliant, actually. I enjoyed real time with family, nights in New Orleans, had an actual holiday season, ate lots of great food, watched the kids grow, and took a few trips.
I basically got to enjoy my other interests, and I absolutely loved it. But I’d be lying if I said golf wasn’t always in the back of my mind. Should I be playing? Should I be practicing? Will I forget how to play? I’ve spent nearly four years building something really cool, and now I just take two months off? It was a slippery slope.
In roughly three and a half years, I’m very proud to have gone from a 14 handicap to finishing 7th in the PGA Gulf States Section Assistant Player of the Year race. (I missed 4th place by a mere eight points, but who’s counting.) But if you know anything about me, you know I have about as much interest in finishing 7th in something as I do having a hole in my head.
I know what it took to get here. Hard work. Sacrifice. Lunacy, at times. I know what it’s going to take to get to that next level. I also know that none of this is possible if my body is broken, my mind is fried, or my confidence is low. So right or wrong, it was time to make an adjustment.
I signed up for my first tournament of 2023 with absolutely no expectations. I had really enjoyed my offseason and played very little golf. But if you think that I wasn’t thinking and tinkering and prepping mentally for 2023, you obviously haven’t grasped the concept of abk yet. A couple of days before last Monday’s first tournament, something kind of clicked, but there were still no expectations.
And then just like that, it was game on. I fired three birdies on my front nine for a best ever tournament nine hole score of 33 before I got tired and lost a little luster. But if you want to talk about something that will boost the confidence of a still relative newcomer to tournament golf, have no expectations and shoot a front nine 33. I couldn’t wait to get to the course the next day. The offseason was over.
I played three more times last week, and I couldn’t have been happier. I’m a full month ahead of where I thought I’d be. On the one side, I’m behind the eight ball in terms of golf endurance and fitness. But on the other, my confidence is in midseason form already.
I made the decision to do something different over the winter because it was needed, and the early results look promising. But now I’m going to have to continue doing things differently as my life priorities and golf goals evolve, align, and oftentimes even clash.
My whole journey is about doing things differently, so I don’t even know why I think twice anymore.
abk = do things differently. Do things differently = keep getting better.
Have a great week.-Benj
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One thought on “abk Golf: Doing Something Different”
Sounds like a rejuvenation, a rebirth. Sounds great to me. Thanks, Benj.