First Cut: Workin’ 9 to 5
Recently I was invited to play at the Hugel-Air Premia L.A. Open Media Day at Wilshire CC, and I haven’t had such mixed emotions in a long time.
Why wouldn’t I want to show off my Division I golf skills to my co-workers on a bucket-list track? Unfortunately, once I graduated from college and started working full-time, I had played golf maybe five times a year and my clubs literally had dust on them. I started thinking, “There’s no way I’ll even make it a full 18 holes, let alone have a score to brag about in the office.” This was the first organized golf event on my calendar in more than two years.
It was in this moment that I understood the intimidation golfers feel when they are invited to play a round with colleagues and executives. Just like at any work function, you want to make a good impression. It was hard to think that was possible if I was shanking it all over Los Angeles. After I stopped having nightmares of being Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy on the driving range at the U.S. Open, I started thinking logically about what would help me enjoy the day and get something out of it as well.
Unfortunately, once I graduated from college and started working full-time, I had played golf maybe five times a year and my clubs literally had dust on them.
As I’ve focused on my career, my relationship with golf and I have had somewhat of a falling out, so I was trying to get to the driving range before heading to Wilshire. But, as much as I wanted to practice and prepare for the “big day,” life happened. The only prep I had was on the putting green between tying my golf shoes and nervously setting up on the first tee. I didn’t think it was enough.
Growing up, I had heard the phrase “Beware the sick golfer.” When your sinuses are congested and you’re covered in mucus, the ups-and-downs for par are not as much of a concern. I shot the lowest round of my life while coughing my lungs out at Morro Bay GC once. I wasn’t sick this time around, but I thought if I lowered my expectations like I do when I’m sick, instead of trying to break the course record, I’d at least have a respectable round. So, I gave myself a few simple guidelines:
1. With the putter, speed over alignment
2. Pick a yardage and swing away
3. Tempo and ball position
This made for a fun round of golf where I was able to socialize with my playing partners and enjoy the day without too much stress. The whole objective of these types of golf outings is for people to network and have fun. It didn’t matter how terrible or incredible I was out there. The hardcore duck-hook drive I had on No. 18 that nearly flew into the parking lot didn’t keep me from exchanging information and ideas with the new connections I made throughout the day.
The only person who judged that shot was me … well, at least to my knowledge, anyway.