Monday, June 18, 2012

It's Just Like Riding a Bike

I went to the golf course today - Broadmore Golf Club (formerly Broadmore Country Club). Having been sick for the last two weeks, I needed to get out of the house. I needed some activity ... other than walking to the mailbox.

Other than the scramble I played two weeks ago, I haven't played any golf in at least 4 years, and probably closer to 5 years. In case you're not familiar with golf, a scramble is a tournament in which four (or five) people play as a team, making one score for each hole. After all the players on a team tee off, the best shot is chosen, and everyone hits the next shot from there. Basically I wasn't playing real golf. Of course I was hitting shots and making putts, but there were four other guys doing the same. So if I didn't hit a good shot it didn't matter much. One of my partners would hit something better.

But playing today I played alone, meaning every shot counted. Of course it wasn't a tournament, but being a Rules Official, I play by the Rules, even when I'm alone on the golf course. I hit some good shots, some bad shots, made some putts, missed some putts. The last hole, #4, I hit my drive right down the middle, 200 yards. I was playing from the forward tees because I just can't hit the ball far any more. I was never a long hitter, but I averaged 260 or so, with the occasional long ball. I played 7 iron from 121 yards, into the wind, right to the center of the green. Those two shots were the best I've hit in a very long time. After two putts for par, I walked back up the hill. It was a good feeling to be back on the course, especially walking and carrying my clubs. Four holes was plenty (my bag feels heavier than I remember), but it was a good four holes.

I'll get out again soon. I might even play 5 or 6 holes next time.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

I don't know ...

I recently attended the 8th grade graduation at Wendell Middle School (where I used to be the school counselor). Before the ceremony one of the mom's said to me, "I enjoy reading your blog." My first thought was, "Well thank you." My second thought, "You read my blog?" My third thought, "How does she even know I have a blog?"

From there I went through a progression of thought I've been through before. I'm always surprised when I find out that someone reads my blog. Yes, I know it's public. It's not like I'm trying to hide it. But somehow, in my mind, I'm convinced that the only people who read it are my parents, or people who stumble on it by accident. There are some searches on google that result in a link to this blog - some of them are really weird.

Google keeps statistics on page visits, and just reading those tells me my parents aren't the only ones reading.
Here's some interesting information, at least to me. Over the last week

49 page views, including from the US, China, Russia, Germany, Colombia, Egypt, India, Chile, UK, and Hong Kong. (How do these people get here?)

The keywords which lead to my blog include:
Christopher McNaught (makes sense, although I haven't used Christopher ever)
Boulevard Nights (I'm not sure what that has to do with me)
Bruises caused by falling into a ladder (hilarious!!)

My mom told me, "I wish you updated your blog more often." Sometimes I have something to say, most of the time I either don't have anything to say, or don't consider what I do have to say worth being said (that's an awkward sentence).

So to those of you who visit here regularly and read my words and thoughts - Thank you.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Good Walk, Not Spoiled This Time

Interesting experience yesterday: returning to the golf course for the first time in 5, maybe 6 years. When I was a golf professional - feels like a lifetime ago - I was a decent golfer. Nothing spectacular. I was a solid single-digit handicap player, and I enjoyed the game. When I left the golf business to return to graduate school, it was partly because golf was no longer enjoyable. I didn't enjoy playing or practicing.

Yesterday I played the NNU CAA Tournament (Northwest Nazarene University Crusader Athletic Association). My good and long-time friend Brad invited me to play with his team, sponsored by the Northwest Christian Credit Union. In the last 6 years, since being diagnosed with RA, my golf has been severely limited. I may have played in the year after being diagnosed. I was working at Canyon Springs Golf Course in Twin Falls, and played several rounds there. In the last 5 years I've hit two small buckets of balls: one a year ago, and one a week ago.

Playing in the tournament was hard on my ego. Not that I have much of one when it comes to golf. I didn't have high expectations for my game. But being on the course reminded me what I used to be. We played at Centennial, where I worked as an assistant golf pro, and where I've played literally thousands of rounds. Having played so often there, I was able to remember where I used to drive the ball. Now, golf is a whole different game. As an example, I used to play my 8 iron about 155 yards. Now, a really good shot with the 8 is about 100 yards. I used to hit my driver 265-280, with the occasional 300+ yard drive. Now, my best drive is around 200 yards. I used to be able to walk 36 or even 54 holes in a day. Yesterday I walked 9 holes, and my feet were so sore I rode the rest of the way. It was difficult to remember the player I used to be.

But I was also encouraged. I hit most of my drives pretty straight - a few of them were really well struck. My irons were in play, some even close enough that we used my shot (we were playing a scramble). And I was putting well, even making a couple of putts for the team.

More encouraging still, I was able to slip back into the mental part of the game so easily. I remembered my course management skills. I was able to accurately read greens and give advice to my teammates on the best way to play the holes. I would guess that if I had played my own ball, I probably would have broken 100, which is good for not having played for so long.

I think I'll get back on the course, soon. My sister and brother-in-law both play, so I'd like to go out with them sometime. Brad, my bro-in-law's brother Dave would like to play too, so I might go with them. And I have still have some friends in the golf business, so there are several places I can play for free. I won't be playing as many rounds as I used to and probably never will. Some years I played 150 rounds or more. But if I can play 5 or 6 times this year, I'd be a happy golfer.

On a health note, the infection that I thought was clearing up, has returned in full force. My quiet hoarse voice has disappeared again and I'm back to just whispering. I was able to email my doctor in SLC who suggested that I need some stronger antibiotics. I'll be going to my ENT here in town to see about a new prescription.

Despite setbacks and some areas of personal growth, I'm still quite content. There are things I would change if I could, but overall ... I lead a blessed a life with good friends, supportive family, and a God who loves me perfectly.