Follow Joey as he learns more about living through the game of golf than he ever could on a therapist’s couch. Learning to Live One Golf Swing at a Time is a look at the way golf grabs a hold of the player and becomes more than just a game. You can enjoy your own life more when you understand what the game you love to hate can truly teach you.
Hole #4 Par 4
“Golfing With My Wife”
For many golfers reading this, the title of this hole is enough to suffice as the story and allow me to move on to the next hole. Most men will, unfortunately, read “Golfing with My Wife” and reflect on suppressed memories of the most painful day they can remember in their entire golfing careers. But there is a lesson to be learned from joining your spouse on the course and it doesn’t have to be negative.
Many years back, and quite early in my marriage, I talked my wife into joining me for a pleasant day on the links. The temperature in early May in Northern California was enough to coax her out of the house and I was looking for any way I could play more golf. So after I agreed to do the dishes that night she decided to put up with four hours on the course. Little did she know that I was going to turn her into a golfer.
My wife stayed in the cart reading a book during my warm up and also during the play of the first three holes. Conversation was minimal at best and sounded something like this:
“Did you see that shot, Hon?” I asked.
“Oh it was magnificent, babe.” She replied.
“You weren’t even looking. I hit the damn thing in the water.”
“Well the splash was nice.”
I refused to ruin the day getting mad at my wife’s apathy towards my favorite past-time. So I teed up another ball and finished the third hole.
As I returned to the cart I asked.”Would you like to hit a shot on the next hole?”
She undoubtedly felt trapped by the question but relented to hit a tee ball on the next hole.
The fourth hole at Cypress lakes is a dogleg right par four with a small lake on the inside of the corner and waste areas to the right. I handed her a slightly used ball and she got mad.
“I want a new ball. You’re hitting new golf balls. Don’t give me your old worn out golf balls to hit.”
“Sweetheart, there’s water out there and you’re new to the game. I don’t have a lot of new golf balls that I can let you lose for me.”
“I’m not hitting this worn out piece of junk. Give me a shinny one or I’ll just sit in the cart.”
“Fine, here is a new Titleist Tour Prestige. Don’t lose it!”
She teed up the ball a little too high, but I wasn’t going to say anything else to her for fear of losing a different kind of ball. She waggled excessively and made an unbelievable pass at the ball. My jaw dropped. The ball sailed high into the air directly towards the corner of the dogleg. The ball cleared the mound on the corner and ended up in the fairway about 80 yards from the green. She had just hit a Callaway strong four-wood over 225 yards. It was simply astonishing.
“Was that good or something?” She finally broke the silence.
“Good? That was amazing!” I couldn’t believe the shot she had just hit.
My wife got back in the cart and didn’t hit another ball that day. In fact, in the last ten years she has only been to the driving range three times and maybe hit a total of fifty balls in that entire span of time. The shot she hit that day would have made a golfer out of almost anyone on the planet, but not her. She was not excited or overwhelmed by the quality of that shot. The golf bug didn’t bite.
It took me long time to learn a lesson from this golf experience but I did. Golf was my dream. A career playing and teaching the game was what I wanted. Golf does not interest my wife and that’s okay. No matter how much I might wish for her to take up the game so we can have a “grow old together” activity, I’ll survive if she doesn’t. We can all learn something from this, even if it’s painful.
Hole #4 Swing Keys:
Are you like I was? Are you trying to make someone fit in with your plan? Make them live your dream?
I think the answer to a quality life is for us to embrace our dreams as ours’ and allow others to enjoy their own paths. Sometimes we try to mold and shape those around us into a certain way or walk of life. This will only push those people further from us.
When we allow others the freedom to be outside of our goals looking in, we usually find that they will cheer us on more than if we had pushed them down the same path we wanted to take. Nobody enjoys anything done begrudgingly.
After turning pro in 1999, Joey began teaching golf at Travis Air Force Base's Cypress Lakes Golf Course. Since then, Joey has been the contract golf instructor at Eglin Air Force Base in northwest Florida and Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. Most days, Joey can be found at a driving range, preparing for another go at playing professionally. Joey lives with his wife and daughter in northwest Florida.