Beyond the walls, beyond the course...
Golf is that 'life sport' Along with it's core values (honor, integrity, self-discipline, pride, respect, responsibility and sportsmanship to name a few), golf also encourages healthy living habits, such as regular exercise, nutrition, enjoying the outdoors, and face to face interaction with others. Today the latter is happening more and more through a screen and via text.
I learned (and still keep learning) that worry and overthinking doesn't help anything. Doing those things only worsens the issues. I more often work toward 'tolerance'. Having tolerance for whatever comes my way eliminates the need for 'patience'. "It is what it is"
This is the key to most golf games, and life! Accepting a poor shot or poor choice opens the door to learning. There is no such thing as failure if we learn from the error. If I give into anger and frustration, I learn nothing. If I look at the situation as 'matter of fact' or 'positive', then I'm able to move on to the next shot. Accepting also leads to forgiving myself for making a poor choice.
Honor & Integrity
Golf has always been a game of honor, good sportsmanship, and integrity. We are expected to call penalties on ourselves. When we are suspected of not reporting a penalty we may be called before a committee of our peers. We learn to respect the rules and ethical behavior. I admit that golf kept me out of a lot of 'trouble' growing up.
Responsibility & Perseverance
Someone once told me "Tracy, you don't have to grow up, but you do have to get responsible". I was one of those kids who coasted through school with B's and C's and was told could be straight A's "if she would only apply herself". Golf has taught me that my performance is based on the work I put into it. Whether it be the physical or mental aspects of the game, I get out of it what I put into it. No one will swing the club for me. Fellowship in the game is a wonderful thing, but in the end, the others in my foursome are competing against me. I wasn't able to lose all that weight by wishing it away, it took work, sweat, AND TEARS, and most of all perseverance.
Perspective & Confidence
There are always plenty of people more skilled than I am. There is always someone richer, prettier, smarter, more healthy, funnier.. etc etc... I was fortunate enough to have mentors who have (and still remind me) of my self-worth. My self-worth isn't tied to a score or distance of a drive, or my bank account, but more to the way I've handled myself in stressful times, mediocrity, and even success. I chose to let the negative affect my confidence. Confidence is probably the most important factor in playing golf to your potential. It can be the difference between winning and losing. A golfer builds confidence by recognizing the improvement he's making in his game, not comparing himself to a better player - a great life lesson.
Limitless Life Lessons....
I could go on and on about other character attributes.. consistency, learning strategies, maturity, taking risks,... I owe so much to this wonderful game, so many valuable life lessons. It's given wonderful mentoring relationships and life long friendships.
Golf has and continues to teach me a great deal about life. Call it a sport or a game, the fact remains that there are certain personal characteristics and qualities that I must utilized while playing and practicing. Should I ignore them, or diminish their importance, as a player I will hasten grow. In turn, as a person I will miss out on growth.
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