Golf – the game loves you, you must love it back.
This is a saying I share with my friends, family and those negative nellies I sometimes teach.
Simply put, you get what you give. Sure the game is hard, they all are unless they involve “Crazy Birds” or “Words with Friends.”
I also like to tell people they don’t deserve to get mad on the course. They haven’t earned the right. When I was 15 or 16 grinding 4-plus hours a day to earn a golf scholarship to UCLA so that my parents could afford to send to my brother and me to school, I earned the right to get mad. Maybe not Tiger Woods mad, but mad nonetheless.
Not now though. I don’t deserve to anymore. I don’t play enough. I have too many other “calls of duty” like work, family, bills, and work. I’m just stoked to shoot the occasional good round, hit the perfect shot, sink a long putt and join the “one percent club of golf” for that quick but memorable moment.
I played the other day and lost a few balls. Used to lose a sleeve a summer … seriously. I wasn’t mad I lost those balls, just happy I had enough Nike 20XI’s to finish the round. Realistic expectations I tell my students. Understand what the game is about, how you can get better and improve your mistakes and just try to do a little better than you should.
You are not Rory McIlroy, you are not playing on the Ladies Tour, you are not Ben Crenshaw (met him last week and he is a great guy; gave me the chills meeting Gentle Ben!).
You want to get better, then practice. You want to shoot lower scores, then take a series of lessons. You want to hit it farther, then get a driver designed for you with a custom shaft. You think Josh Hamilton gets his equipment at Big 5? You want to hit it like Bubba, then step up big timer. Ebay or your community swap meet isn’t the call.
The next time you play the third hole at Monarch Beach take two minutes and just watch the shore break, the sea birds and the kids playing on the beach. Enjoy your surroundings and take what the game gives you. There is so much there to enjoy. Remember the game loves you, you just need to love it back.
Eric Lohman is the PGA General Manager at Monarch Beach Golf Links in Dana Point.