Golf & Lessons Learned
life experience leads to wisdom and knowledge.
June 19th, 2011 Rory McIlroy won the US Open in golf. I am married to a golfer and my adult son,
Joey, has given up sky diving and taken up golf. (Thank You, Lord!) Considering Sandy and I have been married for
almost 45 years, I have learned a lot about the sport. I have never considered myself a golfer but I
have played golf for over forty years, ever since I married. Sandy is an amazing golfer. Truly, his game is superb and it’s such fun
to watch him play.
use to resent his dedication to this past time. When I had three young
children, the time away from the family required by golf and desired by my
husband was onerous for me. But, now with
the children grown and on their own, I can see the sport in a different
light. Actually, over the last few
summers, I might even occasionally refer to myself as a “golfer.”
years ago I read James Dobson’s, Final Rounds. It completely changed the way I saw the
sport. It truly was a life changing
read. It helped too that my children
were older and I had a little more free time.
But, when I read the memories that he and his dad had collected
together, I better understood the appeal of the game. Golf wasn’t just “a good walk spoiled” as
Mark Twain said; it was about so much more.
It was about relationships and adventures and shared experiences. I took it to heart and started focusing on
those aspects and not how many times I was hitting (or swinging) at that little
ball. Yes, something changed. I started
having more fun and truly valuing the time I spent with Sandy and now with my
son. Sometimes my daughter-in-law, Belen,
joins us on the course as Joey’s chauffeur.
It can be a delightful day and I really have learned to value the
of our shared interest lies in occasionally watching the major tournaments with
my family. The US Open is one of
them. The 2011 US Open was especially
exciting. Rory McIlroy (22 years) won.
He’s from Northern Island. Not only did
he win but he broke all sorts of records.
He shot 65-66-68-68. He was as
much as 17 under par at one point. He
went into the tournament winning by 8 strokes.
These are unheard of accomplishments.
all wonderful and exciting but for me it was the story behind his win that
touched my heart. His father was there;
it was his Father’s Day present. The
story that emerged was of a family of very hard working people. His dad had worked as a janitor and when his
son showed an interest in golf, he became the bar tender at the golf club so
that they could afford his lessons. When
he accepted his award, he didn’t’ leave out his “mum” either. He said it was because of their hard work and
sacrifice that he was there today.
media spent a great deal of time talking about this young man’s loss at the
2010 Masters in Augusta. They kept
talking about how he was winning by 4 strokes when the final round began, and
then he “fell apart.” Everyone was
amazed that he had pulled himself together so quickly and was doing so
well. Some thought he might never
recover from such a devastating loss. It
was one of the questions presented to him several minutes after accepting the
US Open trophy. The announcer asked him
to speak about losing the Masters and what that had been like. Ready?
“The Masters was a very valuable experience for me. I learned a few things about myself and my
day I went to play golf with the “big girls.”
These are the ladies who play golf often and for the most part, quite
well. I was way outside of my comfort
activities in which I’ve participated. I
think there’s so much to learn about myself and sometimes others from watching
the behavior that is exhibited during the event, the match. Concentration, perseverance, balance,
forgiveness, humor, humility and graciousness are required of the civil player
and many times, more than one aspect at a time is required.
The psychology of 18 holes of golf is again a microcosm
of our lives. How do we interact with
others? Are we kind, considerate,
deferential, polite, encouraging? And,
how do we treat ourselves? Do we berate
ourselves when we hit a bad shot? Are we
annoyed when someone else does better?
Can we focus regardless of what else is going on? What are we thinking about; is it lunch or
dinner, or are we present to the experience?
Do we notice not only the condition of the course but the topography,
the fresh air and the beautiful vistas?
repeating in our daily lives. Our
behavior both towards others, ourselves and the experience reflects our
behavior through our lives.
faults surface but keep watching, be aware and you’ll be able to notice your
strengths too. Perhaps, it will be as
simple as being able to share time with your loved ones, your buddies, a kind
partner and when asked how you played, even if the game didn’t go as you had
hoped, even though you didn’t feel you played your best game, you answer,
“Wow! I had a great time!”
McIlroy was much wiser than his 22 years.
It takes some of us a lifetime to discover that every life experience leads
to wisdom and knowledge. It’s all up to
us how we perceive it and whether or not we value every single one of them,
both the accomplishments and the disappointments. Like Rory, it can lead us to championship
skills, the skills of leading a rewarding, fulfilling life.
outing with the “big girls.” I would
even say, on that day, I was really and truly a “golfer.”