If you were to ask people to describe where most of their learning takes place, you would probably get an answer similar to this, “In a room with rows of desks, stacks of textbooks, and dozens of pencils: a classroom. ” I learn in a place with manicured greens, towering trees, and waving flags: a golf course. Golf teaches time management, golf teaches patience, and golf teaches discipline. Seven days a week I am at the golf course. Golf gives commitment and dedication a whole new meaning. For me golf is not just an afterschool activity, it shapes who I am. This is why I believe in golf.
Golf can be frustrating. Some days you are up, blasting your drives down the middle of the fairway, chipping the ball a foot from the hole, and sinking every putt. But the very next day, you can be hooking the ball into the trees, slicing the ball into the water, and blowing each putt far past the hole. I’ve had a number of those days, but there’s one round in particular that I will never forget.
As I stood on the first tee at 8:00 in the morning at Waialae Country Club, I felt the brisk air and saw the dewy grass sparkle like a carpet of diamonds. As I heard my name ring from the loud speaker, I bent down to tee up my Callaway ball on my wooden tee. I took my long, steel club back, and in one fluid motion, I struck the ball. I watched it fly crookedly to the right. My clubs clinked in my blue and yellow bag as I walked to the sticky rough. Again, I swung the club back, and followed through. I prayed for the ball to stop but it kept rolling, straight into the gaping bunker. The sand crunched under my feet as I stepped into the bunker. I hovered my wedge above the sand and took a swing. The ball bulleted past the flag. When I finally got my stubborn ball on the green, it was time to putt. The ball either blasted past the hole or stopped short. No matter how hard I tried, nothing worked out the way I wanted it to. The next four hours of my life continued like this. It seemed like there was a magnet in my ball that attracted it to every tree, every bunker, and every water hazard on the course. I ended up shooting 100 that day. It was the first time I was in the triple digits since the year I started golf. Despite that round, as terrible as it was, I never gave up. That was my down, but that just meant an up was around the corner.
With patience, and lots of practice, I’ve been able to recover and have had great rounds since that day. Watching the ball soar down the middle of the fairway and onto the green makes my practice worthwhile. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished the goals that I have been striving for. Golf is a challenge that I enjoy undertaking. The more obstacles that lie between the hole and I, the harder I work. The concentration, dedication, and determination needed to play golf is what makes it the greatest of all games. There’s no greater feeling than the one I get when the rolling ball disappears into the hole. That sensation I get when I hear the sound of the ball rattle in the plastic cup is why I play the game and why I believe in golf.