Fun, and Why It Matters

Over the past couple of months, we've given a pretty good background about what we're trying to do here, what the goals might look like, and how we aim to achieve them. I've written about practice, about my baseline abilities (both physical and mental), and about my relationship to centering. But I notice there's something missing that needs to be addressed.

Ultimately, my goal with golf isn't really to lower my score, not really. What I really want to do is to be able to go play 18 with a friend and have a lot of fun. That's what I'm really aiming for.

Now, that doesn't mean I could just go to the course and whale away. That's not how I derive my fun. I don't enjoy performing poorly at things. Not being able to hit anything besides the shortest irons isn't fun. Not being able to encounter common situations on the course with a sense that I have the ability to meet those situations isn't fun. Flubbing shots completely isn't fun. My goal isn't really to shoot a lower score, it's to be able to grab any club from my bag and feel like I've got a pretty good chance of doing what I envision with that club--because that's fun. I want to feel like I have an amateur's full repertoire of shots--because that's fun.

Of course, a pleasant side effect of developing that repertoire and having more fun is that my scores will fall. All the things that make me say, "Hey, that was a pretty good shot," are things that would make me a "better" golfer than I am right now.

In last week's piece I wrote about noticing negative emotional patterns held over from when I was a kid. I've used these patterns to hold myself back throughout my life. Holding back served me in some fashion. It no longer does.

So when I talk about having fun at golf (or any of the myriad activities I participate in), I'm really using it as a shorthand to describe something deeper still. What I'm really talking about is developing and deepening an approach to life that sustains me in a way that my earlier habits did not. Seeing better scores on the golf course will be lovely. I'll enjoy it. But the real goal is living a better life.

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