Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Golf Gypsy: Rebuilding Confidence

It seems like year after year I push myself to the limits and find ways to injure myself while having fun;  like falling while walking the dog, like straining the piriformis muscle while hitting a shot out of the pond and smashing my club into the bank, like pulling the rotary cuff muscles while swinging hard when my muscles were cold, etc, etc, etc.  This year I outdid myself with surprise "hernia" surgery.  As a result, eight weeks later, I am rested and healthier, but my golf game I've noticed is lacking confidence.  Sure wish I knew where that confidence went while I was recuperating from surgery because the rest of me feels fine.

After six weeks and with the doctor's blessings I headed out to the golf course to play golf and take it easy.  To simplify the instructions I played with my 8 iron, wedges and putter.  Not bad, it was just a lot of shots, and certainly more than I was used to.  The next time when I used the bigger clubs--woods, I discovered that the heel (not heal) and toe method was another problem.  Worst of all my touch and feel around the greens, my strength, my favorite shot in golf, my putting had left me.  Having played several rounds of golf now, I have decided that "my confidence in putting" is lacking.

Nothing has ever stopped me before, so with my brain focused on putting I headed out to the golf course.  After several holes, I discovered that it wasn't only my putting stroke that was on hiatus, so was my focus.  My mind wondered like a piece of paper caught in a wind storm. (I even thought about writing a story about it!)  With a few deep breaths, I was able to figure out my weakness and still enjoy the time.  At one point I was totally swept away with my love of nature as a mother "Eastern King bird" landed on the fairway, and her two babies landed right behind her.  I savored the moment, and knew why I was alone on the golf course.  In the quiet of the fresh air nature can be enjoyed and the spirit refreshed.

Focus and relax those hands, then swing smoothly.  
After nine holes I stopped, put up my clubs, and walked to the putting green to practice; to relax my shoulders, to sing a song, and to let my body relearn the simple stroke. I think I can, I think I can, I know I can.

Footnote:  This story was supposed to automatically post 7/17/12, but it didn't.  So I can now write that I am gaining focus and confidence.  We spent four days playing Red Sky Ranch Golf Course in Beaver Creek, Colorado, and I putted well.  Then over the weekend I played in the Challenge Cup series held at Wichita Country Club and recorded only 27 putts.  I'm back in my groove and am even using my old Ping putter.

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