Everyone has a passion. Whether it be sailing or cooking there is no denying the importance of passion. Why you ask? It’s quite simple. Without a passion there’s no drive, no push. There’s no fear of failing, or thrill of success. Without a passion, there’s no life. Everything molds into a meaningless grey mass of wake up and go to sleep. I know this because, up until about six years ago, I had no passion. So most of my pre-teen years were spent numbing my brain in front of the T.V. That was of course before I discovered the wonderful game of golf.
I know what you’re thinking. “Oh no, not another essay about sports”. However, I assure you that golf is more than a sport to me. There are many reasons why I love golf. For one, golf is almost impossible to master, so it keeps me coming back. Golf is not a competition against others; it is a competition against myself. It’s so easy to blame others for my mistakes but golf keeps me honest. Golf draws many parallels to life. The contrast between beauty and struggle are vividly apparent in each. When I make a bad shot in golf, I look up and see the beautiful landscape that surrounds me. Similarly, when I mess up in life, I can step back and realize that I am blessed with many other things. Golf teaches me to not stress the little things. It is the culmination of shots that make up a good round. In life it is the combination of your actions that make up who you are.
I started playing golf competitively as a sophomore. Coming from Vermont, golf isn’t a huge deal. So, I found myself competing against kids who didn’t care much about the game. I quickly realized that if I judged myself based solely on my competition, I would get nowhere. I wanted to get good. To do this, I had to set my own standards. So, when all of my friends were tired after playing eighteen holes, I stayed and played nine more. When it rained, I played. In the spring of my sophomore year I was finding it difficult to break 100. I wanted to improve so badly, but golf is fickle. One day I would play well and my confidence would grow, the next day I wouldn’t be able to get the ball off the ground. It was only through weeks of playing every day after school that I started to see some consistency. I was now in the mid-nineties with most rounds that I played. In my first match of the season I was even through three holes. Then I let my confidence get the better of me and butchered the next six holes finishing the nine holes with a 52. I was disappointed but I realized it would take much more competitive experience before I was able to perform in the pressure of a match. Still, I wanted to get much better. My summer consisted of golf, work, eat, and sleep. I had never put so much time into something in my entire life. By summer’s end I was shooting in the mid to upper 80’s. I was excited but I wanted more. During the winter I chipped and putted indoors constantly to keep my skills sharp. When the snow cleared I could not contain my excitement. However, I encountered a huge setback when I developed a case of the “shanks” in the pre-season of my junior year. No matter what I did, I couldn’t stop hitting the ball off the hosel of the club causing a low, short, left to right trajectory. As a golfer, this is devastating. I lost all of my confidence and was on the verge of giving up. But I realized that, once I got through this, my game would be stronger. I persevered until I could get back to playing competitively. My best score in a match my junior year was an 82, not exactly where I wanted to be but I was improving. I played most of the season as the third ranked player in our starting five players. I also lettered my junior year. However, I’m not satisfied. Over the summer of my senior year I have consistently been shooting in the upper 70’s. My goal for this season is to be the number 1 man on the team and to shoot in the 70’s in two matches. It will be difficult but I know I have the skills to do it.
Golf over the years has been so much more than a game for me, it has been a learning experience. I have learned to be more patient with situations in my life, but most importantly, I have learned that, if I want something, the only foolproof way of getting it is through hard work and dedication.?