Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Golf Gypsy: Rest and Rehab

One week ago today I was on the Winfield Golf Course playing a respectable round of golf in the Kansas State Senior Amateur. Today I walked out of the doctor’s office after my 2nd round of acupuncture in an attempt to heal my body, quickly. In between these two extremes there was but “One” shot that sent me to my knees in pain. Now in reflection it probably wasn’t one of my better attempts at recovery, closer to one of my worst disasters.

Thanks to that one shot I have a new mantra complements of Harry Varden, “On par 3’s over water use one extra club to carry or two balls to finish.” He was right, and I added four unneeded extra strokes that day to my tournament score. Finding my ball across the water but still in the hazard called for a decision. Instead of taking my penalty and dropping behind the water and then hitting a premier shot onto the green, I decided I had the skills and experience to take a stance in the hazard and hit the ball, hard, out of the hazard. With my left leg on higher firmer ground than my right, which was nearly in the muddy waters, I wiggled myself into a solid stance and hacked at my pink ball nestled in the deep green grass of the hazard line. Ouch! The ball moved perhaps six inches, but my club dug into the mud bank and never followed through. The instant of impact sent lightning stings up my left side. With a deep breath I stepped up to hit the ball again, only then did I realize that my left leg would not, could not grip the ground without pain. Without thinking I hit again and a few more times after that till I holed out with a painful seven.

I’ve played in pain before, so this agony in my left butt cheek was nothing new. Not wanting my playing partners to know I was in pain, I continued to play. However, my friends (some of whom are certified “golf gypsies”) recognized something was wrong on the very next hole when my tee shot went very right and I performed the “Oh My Gosh that Hurts Hop”. Finishing out the 14 holes also required a few silent chants like, “Swing through.. stay the target.” My thanks go to Barb Gourlay, Debbie Christiansen, and Barb Bruell who were most gracious to me as I stumbled along finishing the holes, dragging that left leg and hitting the ball to the right, then to the left, and sometimes short down the middle. Many people would have withdrawn from the tournament because they are perhaps smarter than I am, but I had a goal and dream I was chasing, and it’s hard to let go of those dreams. So a few silent tears were shed that day as I felt myself shutter in pain with a strained or pulled piriformis or butt muscle.

Ice packs do wonders.
This week my body and soul is most grateful to me for a divine week of rest and rehab. I’ve learned that rehab can be golden. After finishing the tournament I promptly called my massage friends at “Bodyworks Unlimited.” On Thursday morning at 9am I was ready for a deep muscle massage. That is not the kind of massage that makes you dream of sunny beaches and ocean delights. It is the deepest of digs that lets you know where each muscle hurts and in how many places. In the end, which is where she had to dig the deepest to allow those knotted tissues to relax and lengthen, I walked out feeling refreshed, and with just enough energy to drive home, drink some “Emergen-C” and take a golf nap. Luckily, a young man named Rory McElroy delighted golfers around the world for four days with nearly flawless golf shots.

After four days on the couch with ice packs, a few hours outside with vinegar iced packs, and a whole lot of water to drink, I then sought out acupuncture. Two treatments with the needles this week, and I’m ready to take another golf nap. I’ll watch replays of Rory or of Paula winning last year’s Open. After my nap I plan to pack for the next golf tournament. So ready or not world this “golf gypsy” is planning to play golf again this Friday and Saturday. Look out Garden City, a foursome of truly dedicated “golf gypsies” is about to arrive.

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