As I return to golf after 4 months of treatments, I am finding that my game has plenty of rust needing removal. This is expected and I welcome the challenge of playing at a higher level before the end of the season. However, on advise of my Oncologist, it is important that I return to playing slowly and not to overly exert myself and create an unwanted setback on my recover. Unfortunately, it is easier said than done when we are talking about golf!
I absolutely understand the requirement to manage my energy levels. So that is why when I played 3 times last week. I slowly, snails pace slow, introduced more diversity in what I did on the course. To start with, I used a cart and the first two outings only carried my gap wedge and putter. I did this to ensure I did not try take full swings and cause an injury to muscles not used in quite some time.
I played only 6 holes during all outings. The first two times, I actually left after the 6th hole and went home for a nap. During those times the temperature was perfect and there was no sun. The sun is a challenge because of all the treatments, I am more susceptible to sunburn than before. I chipped and putted for a total of 12 holes. The longest I hit the ball was 50 yards. I ensured I did not take anything more than a 3/4 swing. As it turned out I was mentally more refreshed after these short outings than anything else. Yet, I continue to caution myself to go slow and enjoy the limited time on the links.
My last outing was a bit more intense. I stayed on the course for all 9 holes. I sat in the cart for 3, chipped and putted for 3, and played 3 full holes. The 3 full holes are short and provided an opportunity to swing fully without trying to smash the ball. As a matter of fact, I was over clubbed by 2 for every shot. So, I only took 3/4 swings at most. The important aspect for me was that I was able to stay out for the 9 holes even though I spent 3 of then sitting in the cart. It was wonderful to be on the links for sure.
An interesting thing happened when I played 6, 7, and 8 holes at Osprey Links. After 4 months off, I ended up paring all three holes. It was a great feeling as I was on in regulation and two putted each hole. The most interesting part was that I was not swinging hard on any shot. This is something surprised me at first, but after I thought about it not really.
Hitting controlled strokes is always the best way for me to play golf. The moment I try to over swing, my game is lost. Now, I would suggest that I was under swinging a bit too much moving forward, but the principle of staying smooth and under control is not lost on me. I think moving forward there is a lesson here that I need to explore. However, in the meantime, the slow turtle speed path to recovery will not change. Eventually, I will have the energy to play an entire 18 holes, it is only a matter of time.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!