It’s been said often. “If you want to golf a lot, don’t work in the golf industry”. As someone that’s been everything from a Pro Shop Attendant (my current gig), an Assistant Manager, and a Director of Golf Servies I can most assuredly tell you that this statement is in fact very true.
For example, when I was a Director of Golf Services putting in a 60-70 hour work week was very commonplace. That year I was able to play a whopping 53 holes (not rounds) to mostly temporary pins before we opened. It wasn’t until August of that year that I played an 18-hole round and actually played 18 consecutive holes. Working in the industry definitely takes time away from the game.
Sure, you can make time, after all, I guess that you just want to have it bad enough. No problem then, go in early say 5 hours before your shift, then work your 7-hour shift in the Pro Shop and make your 1-hr commute home. Not bad for a 14-hour day just to lay some golf. Often this year, I would find myself going into work early for a range session then play 9-holes before my shift and resume my round after closing the shop for the night. When there’s a will… there’s a way.
I love fall golf though. As the fall wears on the shop shift gets cut back (or I get cut down to two shifts per week which are open to close shifts) the chance for playing golf becomes opportunistic. And that’s what I’ve done.
Earlier this year my game was in a position where I was just happy to be doing what I love after my stroke 13 months ago. I lost clubhead speed but that didn’t matter. But my game steadily returned to form as my body started to remember certain feelings. In August I really clicked playing the best golf that I’ve ever played. Posting a -6 (66) as my lowest and a 9-hole round of 31 (-5). After that, I went through a period of time not feeling well and I wouldn’t play for a 3-week period. Good feeling gone. It was a struggle to get the right feels back and my striking back on track. There were moments where it felt good and the scoring wasn’t there but I wasn’t playing “unconscious golf”. It was a struggle and I think “teacher’s lament” crept in.
By the way, “Teacher’s Lament” is a phenomenon where when one teaches your pupil’s habits creep in to your swing. Just from watching them and trying to correct it.
This past Monday, I showed up to the course for the final Monday Ladies League. I was going to use the opportunity to play 18 holes and then play with the groups of ladies that showed up. You see, there’s one issue that also creeps in if you work at a course and want to play golf. Every day somehow turns into a work day. I got into a “debate” with one of my starter’s about their playing privileges. These guys have it real good for working one 6 hr shift/week. At any rate, without getting it my starter stated something (“Well, if you do that the starters will quit”) which I suggested sounded like a mutiny and guys being too comfortable in their “positions”. One “floater” has played over 50 rounds while working 5 shifts on the year. Gross abuse and there is another guy who is far worse.
Anyways, I got quick in my swing. Topped my tee shot and proceeded to play lousy. I was +1 thru 5 holes and it felt like I deserved to be +8. So I picked up my golf ball, went t the range to sort myself out and when that didn’t happen I went to the bar, sat down, and had an ice-cold Ace Hill Pilsner (on an empty stomach). I went back to the range and it turned into “swing lube”. All of a sudden my swing was back. I played golf with “my” ladies and had a great time. Oh yeah, I was scoring too!
Yesterday, I played again and what can I say? I love fall golf! It’s not about just the foliage. It’s about finally having time to play golf without being caught up in work. The amount of golf that I will between now and the snow will rise in the fall. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and even though it’s not like working in a coal mine it’s still work.
Until The Next Tee!!