Here I go with another year. As I, discouraged and frustrated, wander the right side of the fairway, in the rough (as usual), and near some trees looking for my ball; I wonder whether or not I still love golf.

You see: living in New York it’s very easy to lose momentum in golf. Every year you’re forced to take December through March off from playing. Even if you are up for playing in sub-zero temperatures, most courses close their doors by Dec 1. This is because balls landing on frozen greens explode the ground underneath them causing a lot of damage. Also, have you ever hit the hard frozen ground with your 8-iron while making a shot? Yea, that will make you re-think your dedication in a heartbeat. Nevertheless, there are benefits.

Bear with me as I get a little corny. Ever hear the Journey song “Faithfully”? He sings about how difficult it is to maintain a love relationship while traveling and performing as a rock star. He’s on the road a lot away from home and has hundreds of attractive groupies throwing themselves at him. In it he croons: I get the joy of rediscovering you… Every year I have to re-discover golf. What it means to me, what I can accomplish, whether I’ll have the time and energy to play and practice as much as I want.

Is golf not a love affair?

It’s hard not to appreciate (but also resent) something that is taken away from you merely by what the months on the calendar say. This summer months are sometimes no picnic when heavy rain seems to fall for days on end. It’s hard switching gears and living by the vagaries of weather just because you fell in love with an outdoor sport. That says nothing of sore backs or family obligations.

So as I wander the right rough, totally not looking forward to my next shot which will almost definitely be a punch out from under the trees just to get it back in the fairway, and runs the risk of not even making it there or, if I hit it too hard, crossing it entirely and leaving me in the trees on the other side (pout); I wonder why I do this and whether I still love the game of golf.

People play golf for one of two reasons:

(1)    Social

(2)    Competition

No one and I mean NO ONE plays the game “just because.” Either they like it and want to improve or it’s another way for them to hang out with their buddies. I enjoy playing socially when I can. However, I often have to play when other women are working to take advantage of morning pre-school, and the ladies league at my course just doesn’t fit my schedule. Half the time I play I am wandering the course all alone with nothing but the tunes coming from the Pandora station on my iPhone to keep me company.

But as I envision the future I cannot imagine one without my being an avid golfer. I will never play golf “just because.” I can’t imagine not working toward the latest goal – whether it’s to win club champion, have a better-than-bogey round in my next big tournament, or qualify for the U.S. women’s mid-amateur.

Then it hits me! Yes I do love golf because I am a competitor. I play and practice ruthlessly because I have goals and aspirations, no matter how puny these may seem to non-golfers. I play golf because I want to accomplish more. I AM NOT DONE JUST BECAUSE I BECAME A MOM.

I realize that if I WANT to still love golf, and I do, then it’s simply a matter of me setting a goal, one that’s fairly near term, and busting my butt to work toward that. That’s why I love golf, because it allows me to achieve things that seemed impossible just yesterday.♣

Photo: thoermer / 123rf