“Golf is something you have a lifelong relationship with – and like any relationship, it’s always changing..."
...is a line I’ve thought about a lot in 2023. A friend said that to me as we hit a few balls at our neighborhood course. I’m not sure if he was thinking about his son, who was starting to play a few junior tournaments, or his own life in golf that includes trips through the distinct worlds of the AJGA, college golf, pro golf, and mid-am golf. Maybe it was a passing comment, but I kept coming back to it this year as my relationship with the game evolved.
The further I get from my professional career the more I realize how one-dimensional and hyper focused my relationship to the game was for 20 years. A relentless focus on routine, playing one shot at a time, and always moving forward are key to success at the highest level – but that leaves no time to savor a moment, or enjoy the essence of the game. The smaller, more peripheral parts of the game that I now relish held ZERO importance or even notice in my former life. The history of a great club, a quirky old course, a beat up Ping Anser, post round beers, making new friends at a one day member-guest, young kids putting for Skittles – all things that were not a part of my relationship with golf. I remember for a stretch my motto was “golf is a game, you have to PLAY it” instead of planning, engineering, and controlling it. That was a freeing mindset and helped me play some of my best golf on Tour. I regret not maintaining that mindset more consistently, but the reality is that when golf is your job, it's hard not to take what should be a curious, fascinating GAME – and turn it into something serious and formulaic.
So as we turn towards 2024, I look forward to seeing how my relationship with golf changes. It’s a moving target with young kids, work, family – too many good places to see, good friends to tee it up with, and not enough time. But I’m thankful for the game, and the many blessings it continues to bring into my life.