And we begin a new. Not quite though, we keep our memories of previous glories.
Every shank is forgotten, every pond skimming hook hidden in the depths of our minds and every topped tee to the trees lost in the forest of imagination.
October to April is golf free. The courses hibernating under the blanket of snow. Traversed by cross country skis, deer and dogs only. The ‘no dogs allowed’ signs are laughably falling down under the weight of winter. The ski hill is a luxury I should afford, two sports that surely go hand in hand. But one of these is not like the other.
During this time I dream. Pars in the Pine Valley. Swinging on the West Coast. Hole outs in Harbour Town. I am fully aware I shall never accomplish these journeys let alone the achievements. 31 years old and 1 year into my new lust, I am overachieving shooting under 100. Surely this year is at least my break 90, hell 80?
2 weeks prior to opening date I stomp my first workout video. Jon Rahm seems to genuinely care for me and my inflexible core refusing to rotate and stretch around a 5 iron. A club I do not know how to use correctly on the range, let alone on my kitchen floor pressed to my legs.
My confidence amps up a notch within a week of workouts. My partner shooting a sideways comment about the arms nearly being as big as the gut. This my friends is progress! I love her opinion but also; screw her opinion, she hasn’t lifted anything heavier than a fork all winter. She has Aphrodite’s metabolism and good genetics on her ungrateful side to keep her in fighting form. I am twisting and turning so much I have had to seek massage to cure the sore. The only advice and homework is to attempt to add more stretching and twisting into my daily routine. It appears Jon Rahm doesn’t save his hacks just for the course.
Jon forgotten the range is now my mistress. She lures me with drives straight as an arrow. Fifty yard flops flirting with the promise of accomplished iron play. Of course lofts 18 through 48 are all trash, trash, trash! Mid irons perpetually chunked, long irons slicey, wipey, one day surely fadey! Scoring clubs are crushing divots by the score before the ball, never after. At least something is travelling forward mind. The ups and downs of sod match my moods throughout the week.
One day to opening, the snow has absolutely melted now. We can tell easily because the 15mph winds are sweeping all the grit off the street and into just about everything. Cafe doors swing wildly like saloons of the old west. Kansas feels a little apropos on the playlist. Mistakes of years past seem to fill the place of employ as I await the weekend, my weekend, the weekend. Standing and staring seems to be my top gear for work today, I am so lucky they pay my salary.
Last minute requests from colleagues for covering are being shot back at a rapid rate. Non-golfers are now golfing. Last year I loved ‘grow the game’ this year I am reluctant to recruit. Nobody wants to be working right now, I dread to think if they become as hooked as I am. I am writing this from the stoves, a non functioning addict unable to go a day without getting lost in my new love.
Spieth in his trophy room going over Augusta in his mind is a poetic moment written for his future lack-lustre selling biography. I understand him and his struggle in a way that induces mocks of derision in others. My swing hubris will take me to the same dizzying heights I am sure. Post-work range time in the final momentum of this storm, I am carried on the wings of an all too ancient god and my new TaylorMade rescue soars my ball and I ever closer to the sun. Hole 3, Par 3, 200yards, tomorrow I will tame.