My very first memory that has anything to do with golf involves a boy. I was in the 7th grade and he was in the 8th. He loved golf and I knew nothing about it. Since this was well before Google, I read as many books as I could about the game. Within a few weeks, it didn’t matter how much golf knowledge I had, that boy would be the first to truly break my heart.
Perhaps videos or actual time on a golf course would have changed my mind about the game. Reading about how to play and learning the terminology really did nothing for materializing the actual aspects of the game for me. It seemed boring and, thanks to my broken heart, simply led to lifelong memories of a time I wished to forget.
Almost 30 years later, and with the love of my life securely by my side, I think I have overcome my golf woes. Spending a bit of time on just a putt-putt golf course or hitting at an entertainment driving range, I have developed a better sense of the draw that golf can have on a person. The — literal — drive it can bring forth in the heart and mind as you play.
With the Kia Classic happening at the beautiful Park Hyatt Aviara this weekend, Kia sent Colby and I to our local golf club for a lesson with PGA instructor Russell Orth. With 35 years under his belt, Russell was extremely patient and incredibly kind as he walked us through the basics.
Both Jaci and Jaden were led to have a better understanding of the game as they practiced every swing. Even with a swing and a miss, they knew they were improving. Russell made sure to positively reinforce every swing… hit or miss.
For me, playing 12 years of softball took its toll on my golf swing. Russell had to gently remind me a few times not to try to knock it out of the park, so to speak, but to slice it with a gentle transition of the wrist. Hitting a golf ball off a tee does not demand the force of an underhanded softball pitch thrown at you. When I could make the dynamics of everything he said come together, my swing would connect and send the ball sailing far into the green of the putting range. It was when these hits happened that Russell would tell me to “make a memory and remember every moment of it.” He wanted me to get to the finish and hold it; then smile and take it all in.
What an absolutely beautiful way to enjoy not only the game of golf… but the game of life. To celebrate the good times and savor those special moments. We may not have walked away professional golfers, but we walked away more confident, filled with happiness, and determined to improve. Whether on a golf course, inside or home, or within the realms of the “outside world,” we can forever apply the lessons we learned in the one hour we spent on the driving range. Perhaps now I can better appreciate and understand the dedication and passion for the game of golf.