I'm a born and bred Canadian in my 40's, who fell back in love with the game after a 2016 trip to Scotland. This second chapter to my golf career continues to pick up speed, and this site looks like a great forum to stay informed of trends, product and opportunities that admittedly I stopped paying attention to a long time ago.
The first chapter is a long story, starting at age 5 when my parents took up the game â€“ I started with them, cut down adult clubs and all. I was more interested raking the sand greens at our first 9-hole course than I was trying to get the ball in the air. Names like Indian Hill, Bridge Valley, Henderson Lake, Picture Butte and Land-O-Lakes were where I learned to play the game.
By the time I was 11, I beat my father and shot in the 80's. By 13, he never beat me again. Not bad for a game that we only played 6 months of the year, but with all the other sports that I played competitively, this was just another outlet where so many of the same fundamentals applied. Competition breeds results. Even when we traveled, the clubs were in tow. More sand greens in Ituna, the links of Melville and Yorkton, Fort Qu'Appelle, Milk River and Meadow Lake. It was only after playing in Scotland that I realised just how much my wind swept summers on sun baked prairie golf courses so closely mirrored links golf.
My parents were supportive, so I competed in numerous tournaments, and played countless games as a teenage member against much older, and better players. More than once I played for (and occasionally lost) money that I did not have. By 16 I was a scratch golfer, but it was not until I was 19 and now playing university golf that I had my first golf lesson. Flaws in my swing managed to get me that far, but they did not lead by any means to a memorable resume by the time I got my degree, but my game was more than capable enough of qualifying for the CPGA.
Public golf courses are not the ideal place to improve one's game, not when the priorities are selling green fees and teaching lessons to make a living. Golf and I were at a crossroads at this time, though only in hindsight did I fully appreciate that. 60 hour work weeks during the summer months meant that golf that was played when there was time, not as a priority. That life wasn't for me, and by 30 I was out of the golf business.
My new career became (and remains to this day) a busy one. I had many years where 15-20 rounds of golf was all I would play. I played more casual golf and corporate golf in scrambles with people who picked up clubs once or twice a year, and who marvelled at shots I would hit without any clue that they were a groove low, or a tad off the heel. My 30's might qualify at the second chapter, but it was more like finding rock bottom in my golf game, with, an occasional round in the 60's.
A really good home life, and the knowledge that I still enjoy golf, led me to start practicing again. I used to hit a lot of balls (1-2,000 a week) but now I was averaging 150 a month. As 40 loomed, I joined a private club and started practicing more, but more importantly, started re-introducing myself to a competitive environment where I had to shake the rust off, invest in newer clubs, and simply play less with golfers who were not pushing me to improve myself.
Chapter 2 had begun. Now it was 25-30 games a year, and a little more practice. But life also now allowed me to start planning and taking golf trips. My interest was picking up. The Okanagan and Vancouver Island golf trips inspired me to finally plan and go to Scotland.
From the moment I arrived in St. Andrews with friends in late August 2016, spent 5 days there and 2 more at Carnoustie, I was in love with golf again. Perspective is a powerful tool, if you are paying attention. Since then, a road trip to Chambers Bay and Bandon Dunes, and a getaway trip to Scottsdale and West Phoenix have only fueled my desire to start playing good golf again.
For the first time, in a long time, I am frustrated at the slow pace that I am achieving results. I now need to be smarter about how I play and realize that my body is not what it once was (but that is just a decision to not accept it and work to get it back). Most importantly, I understand far better what I am doing (and why), and have the knowledge of how to make needed adjustments. If ever there was a time to be patient and stay engaged, it is now.
I write this on a Sunday, having hit balls quite well while practicing during the week, but still not quite able to translate those swings to the golf course. Knowing how to miss, and a decent short game still led to a 73 this morning, but there were a lot of strokes left on the golf course today. The journey continues.
This Forum looks like a logical progression for my second chapter. I was introduced to it back in 2012, but clearly wasn't ready to be involved. Now I am. I will engage when I can and look forward to hearing comments from others. One goal is to be a competitive scratch player again. So at some point, tournament golf must follow.