Wednesday, August 13, 2008

One Man's Quest To Qualify

Ever since I was a 12 years old, I have wanted to play on the PGA Tour. Growing up, I devoured anything and everything related to golf: I read books on the mental game, fitness, golf instruction, and even cut out my favorite pages or articles from GOLF Magazine and plastered them all over my walls. After one season you couldn’t even see the paint anymore.

I played golf in High School and loved every minute of it. At that point, I figured I’d play college golf, qualify for the tour, and all would be right with the world.

But the reality of college golf was a little different than the fantasy. I decided to attend a Division 1 school when I knew my skills were Division 2 at best. I wasn’t recruited, and so my only option was to try and “walk on” to the golf team. I ended up missing the team by two strokes.

But that’s golf, right?

I had just assumed that I would be playing college golf, and now that I wasn’t, I was at a loss as to what I should pursue. Surprisingly, however, I wasn’t crushed. I ended up having a great 4 years at college, and I truly feel that missing the cut was the best thing that could have happened to me. I was able to accomplish so much while I was there, and having to deal with traveling, missing classes and missing out on late nights with friends would have detracted from the overall college experience.

Move forward 2 more years, and I find myself caddying at a private golf course in Northern Virginia. Initially, I took the job because it was an escape from some of my problems at the time and it surrounded me with friends and a game I loved. It was almost like college again, minus the challenging academic coursework and any responsibilities whatsoever. But, after two years, the job started to feel like work. I took on management responsibilities and ran into some of the politics involved in dealing with other members of the management team. More specifically, the owner had one plan for me, and I felt another path was more appropriate—so I left.

But the caddying experience reinvigorated my passion for the game. It had been so long since I was able to enjoy golf, and to be able to talk golf all day every day made me feel like I was a kid again, back home, waking up every morning at 6 am to ride my bike over to the golf course and play 36 holes. To have just a taste of that obsession once more was really special.

It has been almost a year now since I left the caddying world and tried to move onto bigger and better things. Currently, I have a stereotypical office job helping clients resolve their tax issues with the government. It’s not golf, but because of the work schedule I now have something I haven’t had in 5 years: consistent days off. I have never had a job where every Saturday and Sunday I get to wake up and do absolutely nothing. Or, perhaps I wake up and do WHATEVER I WANT. Aside from Lasik surgery, this was one of the happiest moments of my life.

So now that I am a part of the formal “workforce” and will always have weekends off, a thought popped into my head: weekend golf. I can now spend a few hours, two days a week, working on my golf game. I thought: hey, that’s pretty awesome.

But then I thought: wait a minute. What if I could actually get my game into shape to play in a big tournament or something? That would be even better.

Or hey: what about the US Open? A 2 handicap (1.4 index, to be exact) is currently the “handicap limit” to try and qualify. If I can get under that limit, I could try out for the US Open. That would be FREAKIN’ awesome.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I have a 6 handicap right now, which isn’t even “formal.” I need to join a course or enter my scores online or something to get a “real” handicap. Plus, going from a 6 handicap to a 2 handicap is no walk in the park. It may not seem like a lot, but shaving 4-6 shots off of my handicap is going to be really freaking hard.

But I have freakin’ weekends off, dude!

So that is the whole purpose of this site: to track my progress as I pursue a better golf game. I’m sure a few of my weekend “excursions” to the golf course will be included, as well as drills and other instructional snippets to not only help me stay on top of my game, but also offer up helpful tips to readers as well. And, I suppose if I am successful in lowering my handicap, and I am able to play in a local qualifier for the US Open, I would be happily reporting on that experience as well. But again, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I have an incredible amount of work to do before I get to that point. If I ever do.

I guess the last thing I will say is that the main goal of this site is not to sit here and complain about missed shots or “if only’s.” The main focus of this site will be on the various processes I use to improve my game, so that at the very least, one or two readers may stumble upon an article or a story that will instruct and inspire them to work on their own golf games.

Because seriously, who would enjoy visiting a site that does nothing but complain about a golf score every day?

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this site. And if anyone ever has any suggestions or comments, feel free to share. I have a good idea of what I’ll need to practice to get my handicap down to size, but there might be some enlightened souls out there who might just put the right words together for me to feel inspired.

1 comment:

The Artful Golfer said...

I was a regular reader of your old caddy blog, but just read your last entry there today -- and found this new site! Looking forward to tracking your progress and learning from your journey. I picked up golf nearly 4 years ago at 46 years old, and have journaled some of my experiences getting from 16 to 3 on my blog. I'm having a hell of a time getting down to 2!