Playing Real Golf
Played Shore Gate Golf Course down near Cape May New Jersey today, 11/12/2017. Played the white tees at about 6700 yards, 45 degrees, cart paths only, course was wet and played long.
What I shot is not important. What is important is that I was playing real golf. I played one ball, and tried to grind it out as if I was playing in a championship. Counted every shot, penalties, no take overs, putted everything into the hole.
The numbers themselves are not important; they are what they are. What is important is that I write down on the scorecard every score for every hole. This brings the reality of what you shoot into focus. It brings the abstraction into the what is in the here and now.
Playing golf this way may not be a championship, but the mindset becomes the same. I put my head into a tournament situation and played every shot as if it meant something. I played the ball down, played like I had to shoot a score. I felt as if I was playing tournament golf, playing real golf.
We as PGA professionals make so many concessions on an everyday basis, as regards rules and trying to get patrons to enjoy the game, that is is becoming vitally important to me personally to revisit the true roots of the game, the true spirit of the game, and to play golf the way it was meant to be played.
I need this experience of playing golf the way it was meant to be played to replenish my sense of duty to the golfers who I meet on an everyday basis, whether members, guests, tournament players, or green fees. Playing real golf, no matter where it is, can only enhance my experience as a golf professional, and can only make me better as a player and a better professional.
It was a struggle today, but it felt good. I may not have a US Open game anymore, but calling myself out and putting that pressure on myself every time I go out on the course to play is worth the effort. Since golf is 99 percent in your head anyway, why not play in my own reality. Make the entire picture a tournament picture. I am playing real golf.
Every round I play from here on in will be a tournament round. Every shot I hit on the course will be a tournament shot. I have to learn to play real golf again. It is very important to me to do this. I have to revisit that sense of goodness, well-being, and continuity that comes from playing one ball into the hole.
No more practice for me. Just grinding it out as if every shot I play is in the US Open. No one else has to know what I am trying to accomplish. All that matters is that I am pitted against myself as I experience a round of golf and as I experience the golf course.