A Stillness Like No Other
Winter in K-Country
Photo taken by the author on an iPhone XR
“I regard golf as an expensive way of playing marbles.”
– G.K. Chesterton
From a cerebral perspective, the central point of the game is to get your golf ball in to the hole, using the least amount of shots, and to do this over eighteen holes in a given round. Then, you add up each of your holes, and voila, that’s the number of times, or strokes, it took you to play a round of golf. Robin Williams performed a hilarious improv about the game of golf, where he hones in on the whole insanity this sport often brings to those of us mortals who play it. Feel free to check it out on YouTube sometime.
So, is that it? I mean, it sounds pretty simple and straightforward, right? After all, how hard can this game be? It sure looks pretty easy when I watch it on TV. And, honestly speaking, it feels quite dull and boring when I’ve followed the Pro’s around at tournaments, too. I mean, they drive it out there, far and long, always landing on the pristine green carpet; then, hit their iron shot on to the green; and then, usually get it down in two or less putts. I find myself looking at my iPhone more often than I do actually watching them. At least with my phone, I can respond to texts or restart the darned thing when it doesn’t work.
Of course this game is not easy! It’s not even remotely close to being easy. It’s about as easy as walking from the Milky Way galaxy to the Hubble Deep Field. None of us makes it this far in life without knowing that nothing in life, or in golf, is easy or comes easily – nothing.
For me, the whole point of this wonderful, heart-wrenching game is to grow us as a person. Simply put, golf matures us, whether we intend for it or not. This game grows each and every one of us, whoever so wisely or un-wisely decidedly picks up a club as an instrument of this game and attempts to understand and accept the full range of one’s own limitations and full-on constraints.
Come to think of it, I know of nothing else in life that grows or matures us, more than the game of golf. People don’t. Situations don’t. Relationships don’t. Spouses don’t. Not even our own selves are capable of this growing effect. Golf is a game that one cannot or will not ever be able to fully and completely master, for its results of mastery are completely unattainable. However much of a perfectionist, or recovering perfectionist you may be, perfection in this game is elusive. It’s always fleeting and just when you think it’s within your grasp, for a shot or even a hole or two, it seems to go as quickly as it comes, vanishing into the thin air all around us.