I admit I’ve been playing in uncharted territory for the last few years. Having made a decision, an agreement with myself to say “yes” to life, it’s amazing to watch what has come towards me. So now I find myself co-creating a book about golf, and frankly, I’ve never played the game. Not only have I never played, but golf has been so far off my radar that I admit it is like trying to speak a foreign language without knowing a word.
Maybe all the serious golfers out there are rolling their eyes at this almost sacrilegious confession. But I’m here to tell you that it’s working. I’m writing a book about golf and I have never played the game. Of golf that is. I know nothing, yet somehow I know everything.
One Memorable Golf Experience
One memorable experience I had on a golf course was back in my music business days. We were playing at a chic country club who offered us unlimited access to their pristine 18-hole golf course, which meandered lazily through lush forests. The second hole, somewhere on the fairway, a baby bear cub ran out of the woods and plopped itself down in front of me and stared me directly in the eyes. Baby bear cub won this round, and we ran for the clubhouse as he ran back into the woods to find his momma. That’s it. My sole experience with the game.
Seems everyone I know, has a story, a passion or some history with golf. In the early sixties when my dad was still alive, he played golf and was an avid Arnold Palmer fan. This I remember, but anything else about golf didn’t take hold.
Writing What You Don’t Know
So here I am, writing this book, with a man who doesn’t write but does play serious golf. Very serious golf. Through him and his experiences, I am finding my way around the course. Although all sport is a metaphor for life, it seems golf is the most profound of all. The only sport that pits you against the most daunting of opponents—yourself. It is you, alone with yourself and the elements. The only game that can never be won. But golfers keep trying and in doing this, they are offered the opportunity to get to know themselves just a little bit better with each round they play.
I’d made a choice early on, not to read, consciously study or research anything at all to do with golf. Whatever comes at me through synchronicity, or coincidence or serendipitous events, will be all I need. And it’s unfolding just as Albert Einstein discovered: “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”
Trusting Your Intuition
As an artist, a writer and creator, I like to follow my intuition, my instinct. In the words of a great inspiration to me, Steven Pressfield from his book Do The Work, I “trust the soup.” I committed to letting go of control and working from a place of trust in the divine source, a faith in the unknown, the unseen. To describe what is happening as magical and mysterious would be an understatement. It’s truly amazing how not knowing what I don’t know about golf, has become an absolute positive.
Many questions have surfaced. Maybe some don’t have answers. How is it that six-year-old Reagan Kennedy can shoot a hole-in-one and not even know how incredible a feat this is. Is it luck? Is it talent? She’s only been playing since she was 2. Or is it her destiny? Maybe it’s all of those things and more.
And then you have then 42-year-old Darren Clark, Northern Ireland’s everyman golfer, who emerged from his own human imperfections and personal tragedy to triumph at the 2011 British Open. The hero’s journey. After 20 tries, he found his glory and lived his greatness. He was definitely the player that the onlookers were pulling for.
So, was this his persistence, coupled with talent? Or was it his destiny? I’d like to offer the possibility that this is a part of the grand mystery, the unexplainable part of why some succeed against seemingly impossible odds and others buckle and never find the way to their own greatness. In all facets of life.
Powerful Life Lessons
For me, this is one of the powerful life lessons of golf. You are never too young or too old to find your greatness. It is simply about stepping in with a willingness to play the game, knowing that it is a game that can’t be won. Yes, it is about talent, practice, commitment, patience and luck, but most of all I believe it is about some unknown, which I like to call an unseen magical force. Admittedly, it’s about different things for different people.
I remember how the golf hero in The Legend of Baggar Vance, Rannulph Junuh, had given up because he had “lost his swing”. His muse, in the form of Baggar Vance, says it most eloquently. “…inside each and every one of us is one true authentic swing. Somethin’ we was born with. Somethin’ that can’t be taught to ya or learned. Somethin’ that got to be remembered”.
Finding Our Authentic Swing
Thank you Baggar Vance and Steven Pressfield, Reagan Kennedy and Darren Clarke. All of us have an authentic swing, our “soul’s calling” as I see it. Without recognition of it, sometimes we lose our way. Thanks to my muses both here on earth and those who are orchestrating and conspiring with me on all my projects, from places unseen and unknown.
I believe I have remembered my authentic swing. I’ve always known it, as I found it a long time ago, but did not always honour it and let it guide me. Part of it is simply to write and share ideas. Hopefully, some days provoke and inspire too. I can tell you that once you remember it, life flows. There is some magical unknown, keeping me in awe, filling me with passion and the desire to keep doing my work.
Showing Up For Life and Playing Our Game
One more thought about golf, this time in the words of Baggar Vance. “I’m talkin’ about a game…a game that can’t be won, only played.”
And that is the ultimate life lesson, isn’t it? It isn’t about winning, it’s about showing up and playing and doing what you are here to do. You aren’t really in the game if you don’t show up and play. Being the best you can be and continuing to swing your authentic swing. Everything else is like the elusive hole-in-one. In the wise words of Baggar Vance, “Now play the game… Your game… The one that only you was meant to play… The one that was given to you when you come into this world… You ready?”
Are you ready? My sincere hope is that all of you somehow, someday remember your unique authentic swing. Where has your authentic swing taken you in golf or in life?
postscript 2017: The process of writing what I don’t know, continues to intrigue me. There have been several hiatus’ from working on the golf book, however, we have a new vision on how to craft a parallel story around the 19 chapters already created. Stay tuned!