Don’t waste a minute of golf

I received the below from Michael. I’m not sure who the original author is but it certainly applies to what I’m trying to do here. Also highlights the importance of “playing golf” – the story also sounds a lot like some golfers I know. Enjoy,

Thanks to a “former” golfer who no longer can play, but who has reflected on his years in golf and would like the rest of us to think about how we approach the game. Powerful stuff.

Dear Younger Me :

I can’t play golf anymore. I tried to swing the club the other day, but my body wouldn’t cooperate. The best I can do now is sometimes take walks on the course, but my eyes aren’t as good as they used to be so I don’t see much. I have a lot of time to sit and think now, and I often think about the game.

It was my favorite game. I played most of my adult life. Thousands of rounds, thousands of hours practicing. As I look back, I guess I had a pretty good time at it. But now that I can’t do it anymore, I wish I had done it differently.

It’s funny, but with all the time I spent playing golf, I never thought I was a real golfer. I never felt good enough to really belong out there. It doesn’t make much sense, since I scored better than average and a lot of people envied my game, but I always felt that if I was just a little better or a little more consistent, then I’d feel really good. I’d be satisfied with my game. But I never was. It was always “One of these days I’ll get it” or “One day I’ll get there” and now here I am. I can’t play anymore, and I never got there.

I wish I could have been a better playing partner. I wasn’t a bad person to be with, really, but I wish I had been friendlier and gotten to know people better. I wish I could have laughed and joked more and given people more encouragement. I probably would have gotten more from them, and I would have loved that. There were a few bad apples over the years, but most of the people I played with were friendly, polite, and sincere. They really just wanted to make friends and have a good time. I wish I could have made more friends and had a better time.

I met a whole lot of different people out on the course. That was one of the best things about the game. But aside from my regular partners and a few others, I don’t feel like I got to know many of those people very well. I know they didn’t really get to know me. At times they probably didn’t want to. I was pretty occupied with my own game most of the time and didn’t have much time for anyone else, especially if I wasn’t playing well.

So why am I writing you this letter anyway, just to complain? Not really. Like I said, my golfing experience wasn’t that bad. But it could have been so much better, and I see that so clearly now. I want to tell you, so you can learn from it. I don’t want you getting to my age and feeling the same regrets I’m feeling now.

I wish, I wish. Sad words, I suppose, but necessary. I wish I could have played the game with more joy, more freedom. I was always so concerned with “doing it right” that I never seemed to be able to enjoy just doing it at all. I was so hard on myself, never satisfied, always expecting more. Who was I trying to please? Certainly not myself, because I never did. If there were people whose opinions were important enough to justify all that self-criticism, I never met.

I’m inside a lot now and I miss the beauty of the outdoors. For years when I was golfing I walked through some of the most beautiful places on earth, and yet I don’t feel I really saw them. Beautiful landscapes, trees, flowers, animals, the sky, and the ocean – how could I have missed so much? What was I thinking of that was so important – my grip, my back swing, my stance? Sure, I needed to think about those sometimes, but so often as to be oblivious to so much beauty? And all the green – the wonderful, deep, lush color of green! My eyes are starting to fail. I wish I had used them better so I would have more vivid memories now.

So what is it that I’m trying to say? I played the type of game that I thought I should play, to please the type of people that I thought I should please. But it didn’t work. My game was mine to play, but I gave it away.
It’s a wonderful game. Please, don’t lose yours. Play a game that you want to play. Play a game that gives you joy and satisfaction and makes you a better person to your family and friends. Play with enthusiasm, play with freedom. Appreciate the beauty of nature and the people around you. Realize how lucky you are to be able to do it. All too soon your time will be up, and you won’t be able to play anymore. Play a game that enriches your life.

Best wishes for the New Year . . .. don’t waste a minute of golf . . . someday it will be gone!

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9 Comments

  • Cam280

    Reply Reply January 21, 2013

    The point I think is not to look back at your life in a way that creates anxiety. Don’t look forward either just smell the roses.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply January 23, 2013

      Yep. Some refer it to playing one shot a a time. I like to think of it as automatic – its when you’re in the moment.

  • Scott Barrow

    Reply Reply January 21, 2013

    Outstanding message.

    Thanks Michael.

  • James Smith

    Reply Reply January 21, 2013

    I think this needs to be shared with as many golfers as possible. I plan to print a copy and post it on the bulletin board at our club. Touching!

  • Steady

    Reply Reply January 22, 2013

    Read this a while back. Great story. Puts the game and life into perspective.
    Steady

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply January 23, 2013

      Sure does Steady. I think every golfer can get something out of it. The hard part is actually applying it – the reading is easy.

  • Andrew Fogg

    Reply Reply January 22, 2013

    This has to be one of the best messages I’ve ever read and it’s something I often quote to my clients. I think it was originally written by Fred Shoewmaker in his wnderful book, Extraordinary Golf.

    Thanks for all your great posts and good luck with your new venture.

    Andrew

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply January 23, 2013

      Andrew: yep EG is a great book. Thanks for dropping by.

  • Timbo

    Reply Reply January 27, 2013

    Such good advice. Should be applied to all aspects of our life and not just golf. Whoever wrote this, he / she gets what its all about!!

    Thanks for opening my eyes!!

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