One of the reasons why I stopped playing golf as a teenager was that I wasn’t too good at keeping a clear head and controlling my nervousness when I felt observed. In other words, I used to be the queen of the driving range but a disaster when playing a round – especially during the few tournaments I took part in.
Twenty years later, I restarted, just for fun, and with no intention of playing any tournament for the near future. I love it! I also loved catching up with all the changes of the past two decades: clubs got lighter and much easier to play (so “forgiving”), rules changed, “license to play” became HCP 54 (in Germany), soft spikes replaced the metal ones, trolleys are now pushed and not pulled anymore, and clothes became unavoidably more “bling-bling”. It felt a little like “Back to the Future”.
However, getting to the heart of the sport - the swing - three things haven’t changed and never will: 1) It’s all in your head; 2) It needs time; 3) …and practice, practice, practice. So with this in mind, it’ll probably take another 20 years to get from 54 to 36. But that’s fine. I have learned to simply enjoy playing golf and the great satisfaction of a beautiful shot while being outside in nature (a lovely side effect). There is no rush.
And there is another beautiful thing about golf: unlike other sports, you never run short of the right partner or opponent, because you will always play against yourself. It’s a mind game (see points 1-3 here above). This is why, as a golfer, you learn to develop empathy, to become humble and to forgive yourself as well as others. You will understand very quickly that we are all in this together and that you are not alone.