Swinging My Way Through
by Kathy Fyler
From “Women Living Consciously Book II”
So excited and nervous all at once, I’ve been dreaming of playing golf again for what seems like forever, and here I am at the first hole. The toughest on the course…so much anticipation.
“I’ll go first” I said to Sue thinking I got this.
I take out my driver and a shiny new pink golf ball. I pull on my bright white leather glove and tighten the Velcro strap. Stretching my back a little as I breathe in the freshness of the newly cut grass, I take a few random, slow swings.
Carefully, I place the ball on the tee at what I remember to be the perfect height.
I’m ready, I think to myself and step forward to address the ball. As I square for the stroke I physically prepare myself—shift the weight on my feet back and forth, bend at the knees, one arm straight and the other slightly bent, head down, loose at the waist. Okay, now I’m ready.
I gently pull the club back and swing it forward with some speed. Feeling good as the club strikes the ball, I look into the sky ahead of me to follow the arc of my shot. Where is it? I look down to the tee in front of me and see my pretty pink ball sitting only two feet away. How embarrassing. What was it about this game that I missed?
In my twenties I played golf a few times a month. It was a great way to spend time with my mom, my friends, and even the women from work. Golf is a game you can play with pretty much anyone and the skill level does not have to be even.
My mom and I played at a local 9-hole course and we would walk instead of use a golf cart. There was one hole where we would tee off from a mini cliff and it reminded me of the scenery of Tortola in the British Isles—a place our family had vacationed—so we nicknamed it the “The Tortola Hole”. It was a difficult hole because of the large pond situated between the tee and the green. Often, we both hit our balls into the water. Most times we would laugh it off, get out another ball, and start the hole over again.
I also was able to play with my Uncle Jim. He was both a fun and funny man, and he belonged to a country club where he once took me to play. It was the first time that I played on an exclusive course. The grass was so green and velvety that it felt like walking on a soft, plush carpet. The greens were manicured—smooth and fast. All the holes were tree-lined and had great shrubs too, and I felt like I was in a park—all by myself! I fell in love with the beauty and opulence of it all.
In my thirties and forties, I didn’t play much golf—I was “busy” building my career and my life, so I didn’t make time for it any more. It was something that always made it to my vision board, bucket list, and wish list—just never to my schedule. Also, living in the northeast limited the amount of days available for playing golf—either it was rainy, cold and snowy or too hot and muggy.
After moving to Florida almost three years ago, I finally began to play again. Since my parents moved here too, I often play with both of them, and sometimes even my brother. It’s a great way to spend time and bond with the family.
It wasn’t until I started playing again that I realized one of the main reasons I love golf—it’s the connection that it provides. Connection to the people that I want to be around and have a relationship with. Connection to nature—the sun, the ground, the trees, the birds, the fresh air. These things feed my soul. This sense of connection allows my mind to open to spirit and be at peace. It makes me feel at one with those I love.
Golf is a meditation for me.
The Present Moment
Playing golf has many times, strike that, oftentimes tried my patience. Sure there are those times that I go out on the course and seamlessly hit the ball so it lands where I want it to, but most times this is not the case.
When I’m not playing well I have to remind myself to stop, take a deep breath in and return to my mantra “Head down, follow through”. This helps to ground me and get me back on track. Sometimes it takes a few strokes to get back in the swing of things, but with my mantra I get there.
There have also been times on the course where a foursome in front of us seemed to take all the time in the world to make their shots, and it called for patience to wait for them. Other times, a twosome behind us seemed to be in such a hurry and it felt like they were hitting their shots before I was even finished with my swing.
To enjoy the game for fully, I had a choice to make—ask the foursome if we could “play through”, allow the twosome to go ahead of us, or I could simply focus on myself, my shot, my golf partners and the surrounding beauty. The choice is mine.
My favorite time to play golf is in the early to late afternoon. This is the least busy time to play, because most players are finishing their last few holes and are heading to the nineteenth hole—the clubhouse bar. There is something soothing about being on the course as the day is ending and the sun is beginning to set.
Is it possible that being on the golf course makes me feel closer to God? It is for me.
Standing on the green, I bend down to prepare for my putt. I check the lie of the green, the gentle slope of ground, and the distance to the hole. I know that my touch, speed and the angle of my putter matters. I know that I’m not an expert at reading the greens because I haven’t had much practice. I also know that it doesn’t matter that much.
I’ve developed a “sense” for exactly what to do. Sure, I use the technical skills that I’ve learned from watching the pros on TV, watching some YouTube videos, and from my experience, but all of these pale in comparison to being in the flow and allowing my intuition guide me.
Some of my best shots happened when I simply “felt” my way through, gave myself over to the moment, and struck with abandon.
Every golfer knows that it doesn’t matter if it’s the first time playing a course or the tenth—each time the course plays differently, and every shot sets you up in a new way. Starting from your first drive, you never, ever land in the exact same spot on the fairway, and hopefully you’ve at least made it to the fairway and not in a sand trap, a water hazard, or the rough.
Each shot determines your next move. Wherever your ball lands on the course, you have lots of decisions to make—which club to use, how to set up for your shot, and how hard to swing. For me, feeling my way through has been a lifesaver—and a game saver.
I use the same approach off the course, like when we decided to move to Florida. Our decision to move “south” seemed natural for us. The year-round warmer weather sounded great, as did the opportunity for a “kickstart” for our business.
We’ve rented vacation condos over the internet in the past and have always been pleased with the accommodations, but renting a place to live year-round, sight-unseen was new to us. After an intense search, I finally connected with a landlord of a condo in beautiful Marco Island, FL, a place that we had visited for only one day many years ago. Ken was so helpful and friendly, and the pictures looked pretty good too, but what were we really getting into? We’d find out when we arrive.
The anticipation for our move grew, and then moving day came. We packed up the U-Haul trailer that was hitched to our SUV and headed south. We drove happily on I-95 and crossed the border to Georgia when suddenly the car started to decelerate.
Slower and slower we moved until finally we were able to pull to the side of the highway. The engine ceased. What’s happening?
AAA arrived a full 75-minutes after we called, because it was a Sunday and we were pretty much in the middle of nowhere. We had some time to ponder our situation.
Thirty degrees when we left New Jersey two days ago, it was now a muggy ninety degrees at two-thirty in the afternoon. What were we thinking? Was this the right move? Maybe the Universe was trying to tell us something—like turn back!
The mechanic arrived and towed us to a local AutoZone (no service stations were opened because it was Sunday), and a very kind, knowledgeable, and helpful clerk discovered that we had simply run out of oil.
You’re kidding! I had a nudge to check this before we left, but in our hurry, I ignored it. I know better than to ignore my nudges. I know my intuition is on target, and this was simply another reminder.
Birds are singing, a light breeze blows through my hair, and the sun warms my body with morning rays. My pretty pink ball sails in a beautiful arc through the air, lands squarely on the fairway and rolls ahead another twenty yards. Ahhhh… this feels good!
I have learned that golf is not just a physical game; it is a game of the mind and heart.
Having set my intention to have a great round, I’m able to engage the ball with the ease of a pro—not the score of a pro, but the ease and confidence of a pro.
I relax into my swing, take time to feel the club in my hands, breathe deeply and repeat my mantra, “Head down, follow through”. I am one with the ball.
The connection of golf to my everyday life does not escape me. I know that however I feel shows up in my long-term results and in each moment. I remind myself to feel good as I swing my way through life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kathy Fyler’s diverse career includes being a Critical Care Nurse, Project Manager for a technology firm, and owner of a $5 million manufacturing company. In 2005, Kathy felt a calling to make “more of a contribution to what matters most in this world”. Using her experience and passion for technology and people, she co-founded Powerful You! Women’s Network and Powerful You! Publishing to fulfill her personal mission of assisting women in creating connections via the internet, live meetings and the published word. Kathy loves to travel the country connecting with the inspiring women of Powerful You!