As I venture into fatherhood, people continually remind me that my life will never be the same after the arrival of our little man. Golf will most likely be on the back burner as my quest for fatherhood commences.
I have secretively been trying to break par before he arrives. And wouldn't you know it, our little miracle has already helped me get closer to this goal. Just in time, as the finish line quickly approaches!
My wife and I started hypnobirthing classes last month, or as I like to call it, my mental golf therapy sessions. All kidding aside, the classes have helped my 'mental' game tremendously.
Last week I played as a single at Eastlake Country Club, I had the pleasure of playing with Mike from Pheonix Arizona. He was on vacation with his family and broke away from the trip to sneak in 18 holes, (see there is hope).
As we did our customary greetings, he extended his left hand to shake my right. I did not think twice about his decision to extend out his left hand. Once we started the round, I noticed his right hand deformed, crab-like at first glance, and his right arm slightly shorter than his left.
He started off topping consecutive drives and made no excuses for his genetic handicap. As the round progressed he settled in; he often outdrove me by 30-40 yards on the proceeding holes. Did I mention he swung left-handed! That's right, his lead hand was his right hand, which blew my mind. Just think on that for a minute.
Mike was an inspiration!
It reminded me that with two healthy hands, nothing is as bad as my mind thinks.
This thought process was immediately put to the test as we arrived to hole 12, that sadly ended with a triple bogey on the short uphill (over the water) par three. I pulled it left of the hole, then tried the flop shot, which I skulled directly out of bounds. At the time I was six over after hole 11.
This is about the time my mind begins to race, and I lose focus (insert anger emoji here).
The next hole was an uphill into the wind par four, which I bogeyed because I could not get out of my head from my previous error.
Again, I started to think of Mike and his physical challenge which prompted me to release some of my stressful thoughts slowly.
As we teed off on the par five, I began to think of hypnobirthing and how I could apply the methodology to my current situation. I needed to calm down, but how?
I started the breathing exercise my wife and I learned during class. Inhale through the nose for four seconds, exhale through the nose for eight seconds. I did this with a consistent rhythmic march toward my third shot on the long Par five.
I successfully reached the green in regulation, only to leave my putt 20 feet short of the pin. I continued my breath work as I read the putt; I felt a sense of calm come over me during this time. Standing over my putt, I felt an unfamiliar Matrix (the movie) like feeling. Sounds weird, I know, but it was like 'Zen Apathy' (caring not caring) took over my entire being. Wouldn't you know it, I drained the twenty footer for birdie.
My next holes; birdie, par (barely missed birdie), par (almost another birdie), then double to finish.
So, not the dream finish. The double was due to the fact I plugged ["dug in like an Alabama tick"] my approach shot in the greenside bunker which was just unlucky. No matter, the sense of calm was with me until I completed the round.
Just so you know this was not a fluke, my following round was a 76, which is my best round to date. All the same principles applied during my round at Eastlake also applied to my greatest ever!