How golf heals


#1

I think it’s weird in life how sports in general, and for me specifically, golf, can be such a great way to get things off your mind when times are difficult. I’d like to start a thread where people can explain what golf has done for you in the good and bad times of life. Maybe this will help someone through something in finding that they aren’t the only one going through what they are going through. Hopefully it is helpful.

So here’s my story that just happens to coincide with this years Masters:
March 13th turned out to be the worst day of my life. My wife and I were expecting our 3rd child, a little girl who was due in mid April, she was actually ahead of schedule and I fully expected our daughter to be born during Masters week because both of my boys were 2 weeks early. That morning she said something didn’t feel right so we called the doctors office and they said to come in just to check things out. I was getting our boys from school and my wife called me and said that they couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat and that I needed to come to the hospital immediately. By the time I got there they had already performed 2 other types of scans and still couldn’t find her heartbeat. I’m not going to go through the next day, but rest assured, it was awful. Our daughter Delainey was still born the next morning, the umbilical cord had tightened around her midsection and cut off her blood supply, there was nothing anyone could have done, it just happened. The next 2 1/2 weeks were a blur, imagine sitting inside a hurricane and watching your life spin out of control, not able to stop it or slow it down, and just watching in the most immense pain and sorrow you can imagine. Due to her family being in Ohio and her mom having some medical issues of her own, we weren’t able to have the service for her until the Monday after Easter, which of course was Masters Monday. My 2 best friends from Ohio came down, these are the 2 that no matter where we are, or what is going on in life, we have each others backs. We have the service on Monday and then the family goes back to our house and 1 of them hands me a card and says read it, the clock’s ticking. So I sit down in my chair on the front porch, not realizing that everyone is sitting out there watching. I’m not going to say everything that the card said, but at the end, it says, “Let’s start this month by making some happy memories and going to the Masters tomorrow.” 2 weeks earlier, they were talking about coming down for the service and they said, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could get some tickets for Tuesday’s practice round? One of them made a phone call to some of his business contacts and one of them asked what it was for and he told them what had happened and they said, how many do you need, I’ll send them immediately. Long story made not as long, it was a perfect day, the weather was perfect, the course of course was perfect, we followed Tiger and Phil for their entire match on the back 9, it was perfect. I still have a lot of pain from what has happened, and will for a long time I imagine, but for that day, just being in such a special place with my 2 best friends was exactly what I needed and I’ll never forget it. I hope some of you can share your stories and it will help you through the healing process.


#2

Thanks for sharing your story, and I’m sorry for your loss. Hopefully time will help heal those wounds, at least as much as they can heal.

While it doesn’t compare to the loss of a child, I was in a rough spot a little over 5 years ago. Found myself face first in the middle of a divorce, and had the general feeling that life was spinning out of control. I’m not one to get too worked up about anything but it was definitely a low point. I ended up making a habit of leaving work and heading straight to the range to hit buckets upon buckets of balls. Gave me something positive to focus energy on, and kept my mind off all the other stuff. I still go to the range quite a bit, just not to avoid my home life now.

Pros: Got better at golf, and lost 120 lbs of crazy.

Cons: Spent some money.


#3

Condolences for your loss.


#4

Extremely sorry for your loss, pal.


#5

Wayne, I struggle to imagine what you, your wife, and the rest of your family have been through over the past month. It sounds like last Tuesday was just about the perfect day - you’ve got two amazing friends. As golf season rounds into form I hope you’re able to get out there and continue to find healing and peace through golf. Appreciate you sharing this - hug those two boys of yours in the meantime and stay positive. :+1:


#6

I’ve been playing since 1996 and it’s always been my passion. Working at a golf course for almost all of the last 22 years will leave you jaded towards golf sometimes and especially at the end of the year I’m always glad to be done with golf.

My wife and I had been trying for four years to conceive and nothing worked. Countless 90 minutes drives to the fertility doctor only to hear that we are both healthy and we can’t figure out why things aren’t working. Before you ask, yes we do know how babies are made.

The one thing that was consistent for those years was I always felt I could go to the range or play and for a little while things made sense and things were fine. My wife would come out and we never had to talk about kids or meds or procedures. It was just nice to relax and stop thinking about why we were healthy and nothing worked.

Flash forward to last March and we welcomed twin baby boys into the family. It’s funny how everything revolves around them now (as it should) and golf is just as important but it isn’t everything.


#7

Interesting thread in a site usually concerned with laughter. I’m glad it’s here.

I’m a pretty jovial, don’t take life too seriously, enjoy fighting for the fun, kinda guy in here. But like most class clowns it hides a much darker side of my personality. I’m highly emotional and experience life through a rollercoaster of highs and lows. I gave up drink 14 years ago because it made it worse. My lows can be awfully sad and bleak. I’m a creative guy and the downside of a vivid imagination is the ability to imagine terrible things.

The last couple of years have been pretty rough. Two years ago I got fired from a job I’d had for 11 years and at the time I didn’t mind too much because I felt like I was about to embark on an even better journey. This seemed like the turning point in someone’s life that you read about in shitty self help books. The point where I struck out on my own and finally caught the dream I’d been chasing my whole life.

Only it didn’t work out like that. All those little seeds of possibility just died, one by one. Instead of having momentum and things falling into place everything just came to a standstill. Nobody takes my calls now. I’ve gone from the ‘next best thing’ to ‘embarrassing failure’.

And it’s hard. I hate to fail. I joke about it but it genuinely cuts me to my core. And to have been so close to something I’d wanted for so long, to fail on the home straight and discover the life I’d always thought was destined for me was just a mirage, taken away and given to someone else, has been a pretty hard cross to bear.

Losing your dreams damages you. It takes out the foundations of your soul. I’ve felt grief and anger. And a lot of fear. What do I do now? What do I set my sights on now? What’s the goal? Moreover, can I ever have hope or belief in myself again? I’ve always been someone who saddles up the horse and jumps back on as soon as I was down but this has been so complete in its crushing weight that I can’t seem to even pick the saddle up any more. Maybe it’s just age. I’m not a 21 year old with boundless energy and unlimited time any more. But I’m expecting to fail.

Then my best friend died. Drank himself to death right in front of me and I couldn’t save him. The guilt of that has been hard to bear. And while the grief of losing someone has been hard, I got over it. What I’ve found harder to get over is the crashing nihilism that accompanied it. That feeling that everything is pointless. Nothing in life works out. It’s just one shitty failure after another.

I try to do whatever it takes to shake that but it’s hard. Often I allow myself to get excited about a small victory only to find that turn to nothing too, which feeds the nihilism. I can take a punch but a relentless three year long beating while I’m crying on the floor is just … overwhelming.

Except for golf.

I’ve played it since I was a kid but only really got into it properly about 7 years ago. I’m shit at it. Handicap of 15. Best round I ever had was 9 over. I more often have 15 point rounds! But I love it.

Why? Because it helps me escape. Because when I’m playing all I think about is hitting the ball. Because it gets me out of the house and engaging with life, with nature, with people. So often recently I’ve just wanted to hide myself away. To retreat from the world to stop it hurting me any more. But golf is the one thing that brings me joy and asks for very little in return. There are no loaded dice. Every bad shot can be followed immediately by a good one. Every bad round can be forgotten about the next time I play and my first drive sails down the middle. It’s simple. Uncomplicated. Yet somehow it’s kept me almost sane. I don’t know how it has that power.

As I said, I’m highly emotional. Annoyingly so. And I don’t mind admitting there have been dark, dark days. Days when I have come very close to ending my life. And to explain that, the thought process is never that I’m so sad I want to end it all. It’s that I’m a sinking ship and disappearing from my family’s life would be a lifeline to them. They’d be sad but my wife could find someone else. Someone who could give her a better life. Who wouldn’t drag her down with him as his life fails. It’s about feeling that, in the long run, their world would be better without me.

I can talk about that now because I got through it. I’m not in that place any more. I mention it here in case anyone else in a similar thought pattern identifies. I wish I had some insight about how I got through it but I don’t. It just took time. And a lot of it was pretty lonely. If the process has been like grief I just finally got through to acceptance.

And in those darkest hours, when I was at my worst, I learned to hit balls. To play a round. To use the game and what it gave me, if only for those fleeting moments, to keep me afloat and engaging with life.

I’ll always be grateful to it.