Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The zen of golf

At this point in my life, I can name few things that are equally as satisfying as a good golf swing.

I went out to the driving range today after class, some long hours in the library, and some ridiculous attempts at provocation by Pompous (Former) Pre-Med, and just went to town. I'm pretty solid with my driver after a brief warm-up, and that's usually what I start with. Hit some pretty good ones and reached a new distance milestone of about 215 yards. For someone who has only very casually done this (not even 20 times) over the last year and some change, I'd say that was some good improvement.

Next, I worked a bit with my 9, 8, and 7 irons. Complete rubbish, the lot of them. I somehow hit them worse than ever! When the first rays of anger started shining down on mild frustration, I backed up and repeated my golf mantra, "You have to be good to get mad!" Always makes me laugh.

My PW, Old Faithful, and I had some quality time together despite a bit of turbulence not long after take-off. Reasonable control of placement, and quite good control over distance. Wahoo.

Back to those irritating long irons. Can't fathom why I should have such difficulty. Tried a couple of different things in my swing but only had mild success. With about 5 balls remaining, I wanted to rip a few and boost my self-esteem.

I did just that.

It seems as though the Good Lord saw fit to place but one driver on this planet that allows me to get any sort of control or distance. Thanks, TaylorMade, for producing this one rare gem.

The moment I pick that club up, whether I ultimately hit a bad shot or not, it feels good. Nice responsive shaft, and just enough weight in the club head to remind me in my downswing that I should be letting the club do the work. Oh, it's brilliant. A perfect match, we are.

When I tee up, grab my club, and set up for the drive, I try to erase everything I know from memory. I visualise it like the sudden clearing of dark storm clouds to reveal a pristine, blue, endless foreverness in the sky. It goes on and never stops. I interrupt, only briefly, to remind myself to keep a loose grip and let my body follow through.

As my backswing commences, a twinge of anxiety steps into the picture...mostly over whether or not I'm actually going to get good ball contact, or just hit the top of it. On the downswing, I keep my hands loose, remember to let the club do the work, and I let my mind clear again.

For a moment, I experience a sense of nothingness.

If I've done well, I'm snapped back into reality by that unmistakable and oh-so satisfying cling! that results when club meets ball. I felt nothing. Absolutely nothing. As far as I know, that ball took flight on its own free will. The follow-through is completely automatic. Don't have to think a thing about it. I'm watching this perfect parabola extending out before me and nothing else in the world is on my mind.

Once the ball lands, I relax back into my normal stance and realise what's just taken place. It's like a taste of Nirvana, as the Buddhists may realise it. Nothingness. A void. A beautiful void. Peace.

The zen of golf, I reckon.

Never would I have ever imagined I'd find something so spiritual in a sport. What a gift, and right on time. Makes me sit back and put things into perspective. Anytime that I've truly needed something, it has somehow been provided...effortlessly. Just, there it is. No sitting around pondering the best route by which to travel to achieve the desired end result. Just go, and things fall into place.

...finding it easier to apply this ideology to the whole process of gaining acceptance into medical school. If I just let go and go, I'll go.



  1. Whenever I get a golf-club in my hand (unless there is a strong cocktail in the other) I usually end up doing more cussing than driving.

    Actually the cocktail makes no difference. There is always a lot of cussing.

    The last course I played was in Pemberton at Big Sky (beautiful part of the world which I miss dearly). About halfway through my boyfriend at the time stopped and said "let us never play this demon sport again" hahaha.

    Good that someone out there finds it soul-watering.

    I am a firm believer in letting go and things will unfold as they should. However, coupled with fierce determination the mentality is hard to except from time to time. ;) N'est pas?

  2. Hahaha! Do you play a fair amount of golf, or is it something you only do on occasion?

    It's likely that I do more time in "fierce determination" mode than I do in the alternative, heh. Relinquishing control (err, the illusion of control) doesn't come easy... maybe if I decide that I'm fiercely determined to relinquish control... haha

  3. "...maybe if I decide that I'm fiercely determined to relinquish control"

    HAH! Yes exactly!

    Oh and I meant "accept" but apparently I was having a mini-stroke while typing that day. *facepalm*