A riddle: When is a club a spade?
Answer: When I took that first golf lesson and dug a crater with my 7 iron.

I decided to learn to play golf in middle age so I’d have a common interest with my husband once our kids had launched. We live in Florida, with a climate that allows for year-round play, plus more courses than any other US state. A logical choice, right? Eventually, I discovered that golf has little to do with logic.

When I was a kid, my dad would watch golf tournaments on TV. The cheesy smooth jazz segues to commercial and the whispering commentators might as well have been Ambien. Golf anyone? No thanks.  

With age comes open-mindedness so I decided to give it a swing. I knew this sport would test me in ways almost nothing ever had. But I soon found it’s not the mechanics involved that make golf so difficult. It’s more about taming the chatterbox in your head. Forget “Be the Ball” Zen psychobabble. Think “Be in the Moment.”

Of course, the first part is learning the steps involved — set up, address the ball, draw back the club, release and uncork. But when I ran through them in my head as I took a swing, invariably I would miss the ball completely, top it, shank it, hook it, or even double-hit, hacky-sack style.

With each miss, I tried to hide my frustration from the golf instructor. Looking back, I realize that frustration is a vital part of the process. It was only after I allowed myself to cuss under my breath and step away from the ball, head tilted skyward in embarrassment, that my golf pro knew I truly was ready to learn the final step: Trust Yourself.

In other words, forget everything that came before. Free the mind. Allow your body to do its thing. Then watch it fly. Golf gets you out of your head — if you let it. Take that lesson off the course with you, and life can be lived as it is meant to be. Read more here. 

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Valerie Zaffos
Though she now checks the 4th box on forms requesting her age range, Val still has lots to learn. With degrees in journalism and psychology, Val analyzes everything — most of all her own flaws & foibles. Then she writes about it so that others who identify with her tragedies & triumphs might learn by osmosis. Val is a mental health counselor in Weston, FL, which provides ample opportunity to analyze and guide motivated clients, instead of therapizing family and friends who aren’t asking for it. Read her Psychobabble blog at SelfEmpowermentCounselingFL.com.