Feeling the Flow

By on August 5, 2016

Ever wonder how good you are and how good you are not? Next time you are at your local golf course measure out the flattest 10 foot putt you can find on the practice green. Now make 50 of those putts in a row.

I feel like from tee to green golf can be described as semi useful. Like your parachute would be helpful after jumping out of an air plane after the free fall portion is over. Sure getting to the green may be a little bumpy at times. Even if the ride is peaceful and smooth and wind and air is all around with very little resistance we all get to a point where our chute needs to open!! For those who have not yet had that experience maybe I could break it down into similar terms. When you were a little kid did you ever ride you bike to the highest street in the city and then fly down to the bottom of the street as fast as you can? For me it was the top of Wolf Ave and West St. in Wadsworth Ohio. I bet we were going at what seemed to be 100 miles per hour down that the hill! I bet if we put our arms up we could have flown. Free falling and all that speed it was just the wind hitting our faces not really worried about anything else in the world or any lose debris or potholes we may have hit. Just in the moment and feeling the flow.

boys

This entire peaceful carefree attitude can come to a screeching halt when we get to the green! Is the parachute going to open? Are the breaks on the bike going to work? For some reason we lose all trust in our ability and inhibitions and for a split second we freeze. The chute opens and the breaks slow us down when properly used and we coast ourselves back to reality in a safe happy and hopefully birdie state. If we jerk the brake to quick because we are unsure of ourselves and grip the break too tight we end up ass over apple cart flying over the handle bars as we face plant ourselves into a 3 putt. Or we didn’t do our due diligence and our chute doesn’t open because it wasn’t packed right and the next thing you know you are bouncing off the Earth.

Golf is hard. But if you practice and can trust yourself and get out of your own way it can be fun. Way easier said than done clearly. I had the pleasure of playing lots of golf this summer with my Nephews since I’ve been home. They are twins and 11yrs old. I watch them play golf and see how frustrated they get with each shot. They have this notion that every shot has to be perfect and if it’s not they lose their shit. They don’t understand or fathom the concept that golf is not a game of perfection. I feel like they are playing golf in survival mode rather than in the attack mode. .

We played in a Cleveland Browns Backers outing recently with my brother. So it was my brother who is a decent golfer, the two boys and myself. It was nice they were able to play tee boxes that gave them a slight chance to have their tee shots used each hole and clearly anything approaching the green and on the green was fair game. We birdied the first hole fairly easily. One of the boys knocked in a 10 foot putt to secure it. The next hole was a par 5 and we put ourselves in a great position off the tee box. Our second shot was at a disadvantage because neither of the boys had enough club to get the next shot to the green. My brother and I failed to hit the green so we were left with an up and down for birdie. The boys were so upset they barely even made contact with the ball on the next shot and we let their frustration lead to a Par. I couldn’t believe how upset they were. The following hole was a Par 3 and I think it was playing 150 for us and 85 for the boys. We had a decent putt for birdie but both the boys missed the green. They literally wanted to quit and go home. So we made two pars in a row and were only 1 under par through 3 holes. I couldn’t communicate with them that we still had 15 holes left to play. They were so frustrated that we couldn’t birdie all 18 holes now. I like the fire they had but I didn’t like how they were ready to give up. We had to convince them that they needed to have fun and enjoy the game. Just because they had a few bad swings doesn’t mean they should quit trying. It was like trying to convince a Vegetarian how amazing meat in your mouth hole is.

I don’t know if it was my brother and I using our amazing negotiation skills or our dance breaks in the middle of the fairway to whatever song was blasting from our speaker, but they shaped up the attitudes and we started having fun again. The boys started to contribute more and more shots and we finished at 16 under par to win the Event.

Earnest Byner (photo by Erich Ross)

Earnest Byner (photo by Erich Ross)

One of the great running backs, Ernest Byner, from the Cleveland Browns was in attendance with a few other players at the event. When we finished he immediately approached the boys and asked how they did today. They explained how they were frustrated in the beginning and finally got over themselves. He then offered some advice to the boys after hearing about the round and perseverance. He was aware of the situation we had earlier in the day and gave some amazing advice. I’m not going to vomit words and tarnish the greatness that was said. I for sure cannot match the speech he gave for a couple of reasons. For one I kept saying in my head “OMG Ernest Byner! OMG Ernest Byner! Advice from the Man to the boys!!!” and the fact that I was excited like a little school girl to hear what he was going to say. He said we are all going to have emotions. Positive ones and negative ones no matter what sport we are competing in. To be “Great” you have to be able to control those emotions and channel them into something good.

Not only is golf about talent and precision it is also about being controlled by your emotions. This game so ridiculously mental it is sickening. Thanks to Josh Ott, as crazy at that may sound to those who know him, he has helped me stay calm on the course and use my breathing to my advantage. You have to believe you belong. You have to believe you can make the shot and you have to believe you can make the putt. Every once in a while you may have to pump the breaks or pull your safety chute early but do it with ease. Avoid the big crashes with your emotions and control your thoughts.

FooGolf Out!

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