A wise person once told me that we can’t focus on the past, because no one has ever gone back to change their own. We can only learn from it, and not dwell on the fact that we can’t change what’s already happened. I took this advice to heart in so many ways; not just for my golf game but also in dealing with the pain I hold unto regarding my past.
My parents divorced years ago, but I was 16 and going through the typical teenage angst. Throwing in my parents getting a divorce only made those years even harder. During that time, I turned to golf to help me through this tumultuous chapter in my life. If I wanted to avoid awkward time with my dad, or deal with my mother’s anger fueled arguments against him, then I ran to the golf course. The golf course was getaway, my time with friends, my time to pretend that my life was normal and that I wasn’t going through one of the hardest chapters in my life.
With every drive, chip or putt I was able to turn my thoughts away from reality and into the game that became my friend when I needed it the most. I felt my thoughts of anger, resentment and pain of my parent’s divorce fade away as I approached the tee box or got ready for a putt. In that moment, I was in control of my thoughts, anxieties or worries that affected every other part of my day.
Looking back though, I realized that my game was only as good as my own thoughts. I had issues with letting go of bad shots, I carried the regret of a bad putt or shot unto the next hole, and my attitude of playing a bad round left me so upset that I had to be told by others to let it go and quit being in a bad mood about it. I was subconsciously letting the pain of my personal struggles affect my mindset in playing golf.
As I got older, and grew up quite a little bit, the better my golf game became. I found that when I held on to the past (the bad shots, holes, rounds), the worse I felt and played. The same holds true for my own personal past and struggles as well. The longer I held on to those feelings of resentment and pain, the worse I felt and the harder it became to let go. I think I held on to those feelings because I didn’t know how to face them and admit that what I felt wasn’t healthy.
Golf inspired me to face my fears, my worries and my anxiety in having to take on tough situations. I still struggle with those moments, but I have matured, and I now understand the pain of my past a little better. My relationship now with both of parents is strong, and I couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out. I didn’t let the past dictate my future with either of them, and the same holds true with playing golf. I didn’t quit playing because of having a bad round in the past, I pushed through because I learned to let go and not let resentment cloud my next shot.
So, I invite you to try golf because it’s more than a game. It’s a lesson in life and in facing your fears. Golf has taught me to let go of the past and the frustration that goes along with it. You will find that once you let go of a past you can’t change, your future looks not only looks brighter, but a lot happier too.
I hope the same holds true for the golf course as well.