golf

A Perfectionist Tackles The “Game” of Golf

I never wanted to play golf.

No one in my immediate family played, or even mentioned golf when I was growing up. I didn’t have any friends in high school or college who played. I tried it once in my early 20’s and concluded that it took too long to play, I didn’t like men scowling at me on the course, and the clothes and shoes were not flattering.

And then one day a few years ago, as my husband and I were beginning to take more time off from the business and could envision the possibility of retirement at some point he said: Why don’t you take golf lessons so we can play together when we move to Asheville?

I told him I’d think about it and then promptly decided not to think about it. But a good friend, who is also a psychologist, told me that I might want to consider Ray’s suggestion in another way. How many men, he said, invite their spouses into their lives this way? I had to admit that I didn’t know many.

So, I decided to give it a try.

Did I mention that I’m a perfectionist?

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My first lesson on the driving range didn’t go well. I kept missing the ball, no matter how big the golf club head was. I was sure the guys around me were laughing and hoping they never had to play behind me on a course.

Keep your head down, the golf pro said. Down where? Keep your body still but twist your hips, he said. Huh?

Somehow, because of or despite those directions, I finally managed to hit the ball – or more accurately, I hit the ground behind the ball which caused the ball to dribble a few feet. By the end of the hour, I was hitting the ball about half the time and knocking it erratically but at least a little further.

My second lesson was better. I seemed to be getting the “swing” of it and I actually hit the ball 50 yards or so a couple of times.

Ray thought I was ready to play. On a real course.

Will there be any players behind us, I asked. Yes, that’s the way it works, he said. Men? He gave me one of those “of course, darling” looks. But don’t worry, he continued encouragingly, we’ll just pick up your ball and move it along with us on the cart, OK?

Riding around in the cart with my ball – that sounded like something fun to do for 4 hours.

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Let me digress a little. Ray played on a college golf team, but only played occasionally throughout his business career. He once lived on a golf course, though, so I figured he knew everything there was to know about golf and that he had learned everything needed to pick up the game where he left off.

During our first game together, I moved my ball along many, many times in the cart, lost at least 5 balls in the woods or the water, scowled back at the guys behind us and kept tugging on my ridiculous golf “skort” – an item of clothing that should never be sold in any size over 4.

Ray seemed to be playing well, although I was a little surprised that some of his shots weren’t all that straight and some didn’t go very far. Was I interfering with his game, I wondered?

And then he hit an incredible drive. It sailed through the air, maybe 200 yards, perfectly straight – a thing of beauty! And, before I could censor myself, I said…

Why don’t you hit it like that every time?

I knew right away that this was not an appropriate response to his great shot. He scowled in silence. But then he seemed to realize that I had actually made this remark in total sincerity. I really thought that once you learned the game of golf, you would be able to hit the ball well – every time!

Cathy, he said, if I hit the ball like that consistently, our lives would be much different. I would be on the road with the Senior PGA Championship Tour and we would be friends with people like Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer! (I had actually heard of some of those guys).

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Point well taken.

I have now been “playing” this game of golf for a few years. Not often and not well. I threaten to quit every third time I play. I have learned not to make remarks about others’ shots. I occasionally still miss the ball, but if I can get away with it, I pretend it was a practice shot.

I’ve taken many more lessons from many more pros: Keep your head down; keep your head still; place the ball closer to your left foot; twist your body; make sure your belly-button ends up where you want the ball to go; use your shoulders when you putt; chip without bending your wrists; keep your arm straight on the backswing; follow-through; keep your weight on your left foot; don’t sway; lead with your left hand… and on and on and on. I write everything down and usually forget what it means.

But occasionally, just occasionally, I hit a shot that is incredible, if I have to say so myself. The club hits the ball with a solid “thwack”, it soars through the air and lands perfectly in the middle of the fairway and I am close enough to the green that I might actually feel good enough about this hole to put a score on the scorecard. I’ve even been known to pump my arm like Tiger Woods. And, when I make one of those shots, I’m hooked enough to schedule another round with Ray.

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I can’t say I’ve learned to love golf, but the perfectionist in me continues to think that it will “click” one of these days. Who knows? Maybe it will. Most likely, it won’t.

And the clothes? I still don’t like them.

Cathy

p.s. The other day, Ray and I attended a woman’s professional golf tour. As one of the golfers walked up to the tee, Ray whispered … you would look good in that skirt. I stared at him. Did he really mean the silky, form-fitting, short, pink polka-dot golf skirt that was being worn by a tall, thin and athletic 21-year old? He smiled at me and I realized he meant it! I decided to keep my mouth shut. It’s nice to know that he thinks it could be true.

Cathy - May 2015

Cathy – May 2015


Trying New Things … My Turn

In her recent Trying New Things article, Patty challenged me and other readers to come up with three to six new things we’ve tried over the past 12 months.

What a depressing task! After wracking my brain for two weeks, I’ve come to the realization that I haven’t done many NEW things at all! And, what I have done doesn’t seem very interesting.

However, in the spirit of accepting her challenge, here goes:

1.) I’ve tried a couple of new looks in clothes. I have been a “boring black” kind of person for a long time. Black pants, black jackets, black skirts, black dresses … occasionally brightened up with a colorful tank or multicolored jacket. Why? I was/am convinced that black makes me look thinner. The last straw was when a woman friend, who toured my new closet, said “Wow, you’ve really got a lot of black stuff!” So, I made some changes this year. I have three pair of white pants (which I wear with black tops, of course), I bought a yellow outfit (yellow pants and yellow/green blouse) and I’ve livened up my tank tops and scarves with greens, purples and bright blues. I also did the ankle-length pants thing this year (only with high heels, ladies!) – I resisted that trend for so long that it will probably go quickly go out of fashion now that I am on board.

pants2.) I’ve upgraded my home computer to a Hewlett-Packard with a really cool, huge touch screen. Since I write a lot, this works for me, even though the younger generation is going in the opposite direction … smaller and smaller screens. I also found a couple of apps that work very well.   One is Dashlane – a site that captures all of my passwords AND auto-fills them when I visit the websites stored there. It even auto-fills my shipping and billing addresses and credit card numbers. As Ray likes to tell people, his wife can now buy things from Amazon in less than 2 ½ seconds! (Check it out… you come up with one overall password to remember and the site remembers all of the others for you. At this age, everything helps.)

3.) I tried a new brand of contact lenses after sticking with a brand for over 10 years that my ophthalmologist says is so antiquated that only two of his patients still use them. My new lenses last up to a month and they are supposedly better for my eyes since they let them breathe. I didn’t even know eyes could breathe. They are called Biofinity from CooperVision.

4.) I began blocking off every Wednesday afternoon for golf with Ray. Before I did that, I would commit to business calls or nail appointments. Now Wednesdays are sacred – except for next week’s hair appointment which, as I tried to tell Ray, is MANDATORY!

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5.) As an introvert, I don’t really enjoy interacting all that much with retail employees in places like stores, restaurants or movie theaters. This past year, however, I’ve worked harder to connect in some way just to prove to myself that it doesn’t hurt and can actually be kind of fun. (Patty, my extroverted friend, you will NOT understand this one at all!)

6.) I have begun writing down information about people I meet socially in a journal. I capture things like names of kids and grandkids, special interests, hometowns, and more.  Why? There are two main reasons:  #1. Ray and I can’t remember S***! And #2. See #1.

So, there you have it. The six new things I’ve done this past year. The six things it took me two weeks to come up with.

I’ve decided that my next 12 months are going to be a little more exciting. Here’s a website I found to give me some inspiration – Live Bold and Bloom. A blog post on their site outlines 26 ways to make your life more exciting.

Right now, I’m torn between skydiving and rearranging my furniture. I’ll keep you posted.

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Cathy Green

Zen Day Gone Wrong: Is Tuesday the New Monday For Us?

Think Zen.

The results you get ARE the feedback.

Stay mindful.

Be present.

Breathe.

If you could read my personal 2014 resolutions you would find all these goals right there.

So I started my planned Zen day with yoga – all set and on time for once — not rushing — another resolution.

It appeared I wasn’t hearing my fabulous yoga teacher Laura. Or, what I thought I heard couldn’t seem to translate into the poses Laura was directing us toward.

By headstand, shoulder stand, and “wild thing” (one of those yoga poses that should be illegal) I was cooked — couldn’t wait to get to savasana (relaxation at the end of a session). But as the chants were being sung my blankets were off kilter and the deep relaxation wasn’t.

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Not to worry. Seek peace. Golf lessons from Joanne is sort of the opposite of yoga. The need to relax is even more profound because the whole game is counter-intuitive. Keep your eyes on the ball but let the club do the hitting. Swing back two thirds and then forward evenly and without pulling up. Look at the ball but do not nudge it.

Yeah I get this. The balls I was using hadn’t gotten the memo. They didn’t go far.

Sigh. Lunch break with Bill – let’s go somewhere comfortable and easy – relaxed and simple. But there was a traffic jam in Tucson — yes, you skeptics, it actually happened. Ate the bread due to the “stress” of yoga and golf and arriving late to lunch. My Zen day (otherwise known as a spoiled girl’s day) wasn’t working.

Post lunch I reaffirmed my commitment to a Zen day. I would run a simple errand to pick up the jewelry repair not ready yesterday.

Store owner Chris told me to come back today, but when I got there he was STILL not ready with my ring. Seems “the afternoon” in Tucson does not mean 2:30 PM but 5:30 PM.

Oh whatever — move on — maybe some actual professional work will make me feel truly Zen since it is related to my heart’s passion: coaching.

After an hour of moving old emails from my inbox into the slots marked for each of my coaching clients in an effort to have a simpler and cleaner email, the system message indicated that all that movement had failed. Of course I wasn’t worried all 200 or so emails were somewhere — they had to be on my Mac. Well, not really.

Writing this blog has been the easiest part of the day – was hoping to watch another episode of House of Cards tonight to REALLY relax. Alas, our universal remote isn’t working. Was the universe saying “relaxing with this acid comedy/drama would not cause Zen”?

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Is Tuesday, previously thought to be the most productive day of the week, really the new Monday for fabulous-over-60s?

I doubt it. Because if a fabulous-over-60 doesn’t watch out, ANY day could be the new Monday and there will be no productive Tuesdays! Our expectations have shifted and we often aim for a Zen day any old day of the week.

Should have known when I was in the mood for a Zen day, the tree in the forest made no noise as it fell because no one was there — or something like that. If I was a total masochist I would end the day watching this and really start to cry.

Image credit: here

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