A few years ago, I started playing golf. It has been an interesting experience for me, to say the least, and I can assure you I have no intention of quitting my day job! Although it can be frustrating at times, I have gotten a little bit better with practice.
I did not play golf for many years because it seemed that it would take up too much of my time. However, recently I have seen that golf is a great way to build relationships with family members and friends, so I am playing more. And, since there are so many good stories and jokes about golf, I have gotten a lot of new material from my newfound interest.
I have heard that the name “golf” originated in England, the place of the game’s beginning. It seems that only men were allowed to play and women were not. The signs read, “Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden.” So, when it was abbreviated to just the first letter of each of the words that were on the sign, it became G-O-L-F.
At lunch recently, I ran into a good friend of mine who has been playing golf for many years. He asked how my game was going and I told him that I was attempting to learn how to play better each time. I told him that my son-in-law, Tim, who is an excellent golfer, had given me some pointers which I thought had improved my game.
My friend asked, “Do you know why they named that sport golf?” He laughed and said, “Because all the other four-letter words had already been taken!” There is a lot of humor, as well as competition, in the world of golf.
One of the most interesting things I have learned is about the golf ball itself. When the game first began, the ball was perfectly smooth. It was believed that the ball would go faster and farther if it was very, very smooth. However, over the years, people began to notice something. The balls that had dents and dings and dimples in them seemed to travel farther, so the players began to use those balls more frequently. Finally, someone had the bright idea to make the ball “dimpled” all over. They realized that better contact would occur between the club and the ball, and the ball would travel a farther distance if it had dimples in it. Thus, we have the golf ball we use today.
When I learned about that, I thought, “The same is very true of life.” It is natural for all of us to want life to be a nice, smooth process where we are making wonderful progress as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, that is just not the way it works. Life is full of dings, dents and dimples on every side. But, those are the very things that make life worthwhile. Those become our “stories” that we share with others. Those events become the learning tools that help us to succeed. Our struggles and failures, not our successes, are what teach us the most wisdom.
Life is much like playing golf. After you hit the ball, you must proceed to the next step. If you hit the ball into the fairway, then you will have a fairly easy shot. But, if it lands in the rough or in a sand trap, you must make adjustments. If the hole is incredibly long, you will have to change your pace and choice of clubs. If the hole is fairly short, then you may use one of your irons.
When you finally get to the green, you have to use another club and hit the ball more gently. Learning to putt correctly is an art and a science all of its own. Knowing how hard to hit the ball to achieve your desired results is all part of the game every step along the way.
The same is true of life. Sometimes we have long projects on which we must pace ourselves, while other times, we can proceed at a more moderate speed to our goal or to accomplish our task. Still there are other times that we need to move very slowly and deliberately in what we are doing. Otherwise, we may miss a great opportunity. This game of golf has so many parallels to life, I can hardly believe it!
The next time you look at a golf ball, simply remember that it lands in many different places and has to go through many different experiences. The dings, dents and dimples that are in it, actually make it more effective. You may even want to get a golf ball and put it on your desk to remind you of how much like life it really is. All those dimples have been put there in order to help the ball travel correctly and better to its destination.
I know I want to travel further and more correctly to my destination and there is no better reminder of this than the good ol’ golf ball. FORE!!!
Tip: If you want to learn how to live life, just play golf!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm