In 1992 I got out of the USAF and started back to school During those college years I made a couple of friends, one turned out to be a life-long friend who it became my major goal in life to destroy him on the golf course. Over the course of the next two decades I became an addict. I was playing 3-5 times a week. Upon completion of my degree I took a position teaching at an Alternative school in my home county. I found golf to be a welcome respite from the stresses of attempting to teach science to at-risk students. While rewarding, teaching was very demanding.
During my teaching career, I managed to break 110, 100, 90, 85, 80, and par (once) (each goal taking me a year, except 80, which took 3 years). I also managed to work in time for a masters degree. During the year I worked on that degree, I also won the club championship at the club I was a member of, Three Oaks Golf Course, Harlem, Ga. Shortly afterwards, my friend moved to Houston, Tx. With him gone and my daughter's life becoming more demanding (she started college at 16, after being homeschooled), golf fell by the wayside for about 10 years. The time was just not available.
However, in 2017 the addiction returned. I joined a local club and began to stalk par again. I couldn't believe how much I missed that irritating dimpled sphere. It was a scrubby little course, but it was cheap and let me get back in the game. I have since retired from teaching, joined a better club, and my pursuit of par has begun in earnest. In the ten years I laid off, apparently my body changed greatly. I am not the player I once was, but I do believe that I can score just as well. I never could over power a course, but my distance has suffered a bit and now I have to be more of a tactician than before.
As I have aged, as many others have, I have experienced more losses in my life. The deaths of family members, friends moving on, etc. Golf provides me the solitude to reflect on the great life that I have led and continue to lead. I usually play alone, the vast majority of the time I walk the course. Even when the "special" golf words are being used, I cannot fully give into my frustration, because I am so genuinely thankful that I can still play this great game.
Even for those of us who will never be on tour, there is a Zen quality to golf that cannot be found in other sports. Wandering in the woods looking for that poor lost ball, wading into the creek for his brother, burying his yellow friend in the sand, stomping to just before the women's tees for that much anticipated 2nd, ... I could go on and on, but you get the picture. The peace and tranquility of the experience broken only by a constant assault on one's ego, pride, and self-esteem.