There are a number of reasons why I didn’t play golf in my younger years. First, even though growing up in Scotland I was surrounded by golf courses, fishing with my father always took precedence and neither he nor my friends played golf. Second, during my early professional career, perhaps due to travel and work, golf never featured in that part of my life. Third, I was always busy working, bringing up my family and fishing for salmon and sea trout at every opportunity. So over the last few years, whilst I dabbled and pondered a little, golf has never featured in a positive and meaningful way – until now.
I’ve got more time on my hands and I’ve joined the Witney Lakes Health Resort; so I’ve started to look at the game with a more serious eye.
Still, you can’t help wondering, whether starting so late in life, you can develop your game to a reasonable standard? Yet my wife and sons are always reminding me that it’s never too late and encouraging me at every opportunity. That said, my self-belief that it’s only a matter of time before I am selected for the Ryder Cup Team, really helps motivation!
Looking for inspiration, self-confidence and technical reassurance – you need a great coach. If I was going to seriously take up the game, I had to consider lessons. Deana Rushworth, the Witney Resort Professional, is the most fantastic, fun loving coach with an immense passion, superb technical knowledge and skills, a wonderful personality, great communication and best of all, she inspires you to want to learn and believe in yourself.
Deana tells you how it is and what you need to do to achieve your best. From her perspective at my early stage of learning, it’s about technical confidence and enjoying golf and not worrying too much about scores and the wayward shots – that’s golf! It’s about commitment and focus, patience and application and not about the ‘novice nerves’ or the many technical errors that occur as you strive to learn the etiquette and complexities of the game.
And there is a lot going for this game. It’s entertaining and educational to get lost in all of golf’s little details; the dozens of different golf clubs, a glove, a ball marker, tees, green repair tools, interchangeable shoes, shaft flexes, head covers, rain gear, golf bags, trolleys, buggies and the plethora of global positioning gadgets. You play your round with a host of wildlife partners. Red kites, rabbits, geese, dear, squirrels, badgers and swans, you pass them all at some stage on the course. There’s water and sand, mud, rough and green and you are never alone even if you are playing on your own.
And best of all, one of your sons comes to play with you. There’s that dad and son banter, ribbing and competitive edge, combined with the clatter of clubs in the bag, the hopeful silence that follows a shot from the woods, the verbal proof that your ball escaped without striking a tree or the inevitable smile when you sink a massive putt or hit an iron that puts you one over on Dad.
In what other game, in what other walk of life, can you perform something that in that moment is as good as it can be? It is the perfect blend of social event and exercise. And there’s something about golf’s humbling nature that brings you both together. Neither father nor son is immune from embarrassment and that is a liberating family dynamic. It’s got to be worth a try.