July 2008


So how do you know if you are into golf? Here’s a sure sign….

Spend a Sunday, July afternoon in Nashville mowing and weedeating your yard.  Wait until about noon to start. when it’s 95 degrees. Now, stay out in said yard for about three hours.  Be sure to take a few Gatorade breaks.

Now after a few hours…come inside. You’ll notice that your face is flushed and you have a headache.  Take a shower. Face is still flushed, isn’t it?  Yeah, that’s not sunburn.  Headache still there? Check.  A little nauseous? Yep.  All right.  Perfect.  Now, go play golf. 

That was me yesterday. Pretty stupid. I didn’t go to work today because of heat exhaustion. Not from the golf–that was mential exhaustion. But, yeah, I attempted to play 18 at about 3:30, right after about passing out from mowing in the insane heat. Had to leave at the turn…shot a 40 with a crappy double on an easy par 5.

Despite the nauseau and headache, I took away a couple of positives from the nine holes. The awkward 75-80 yard shot is coming back around for me.  Stuck one about a foot with the lob wedge, making the lone birdie of the shortened round. Knocked another one to about 8 feet, but missed that birdie putt.  My chipping still pretty much sucks, which is annoying because that was always the strongest point of my game. Making pretty good contact, but just having trouble gauging the distance. That will come with time.

All right then. Going to possibly buy a driver tomorrow. The Nike Sumo(?) 5000. I’m still learning all the new equipment. I’ve hit this one in-store, but going to hit it on range tomorrow. My 10-year-old Great Big Bertha is a bit dated these days. Still hit it straight as an arrow, but I’m looking to add 15 yards. We’ll see what happens.

So, to sum, don’t play golf while suffering from heat exhaustion. Unless you want to miss work and lay in bed and drink water all day the next day.

Until tomorrow…

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You know the feeling. It’s that moment, that instant you realize the ball is going in the hole. Two feet away and it’s dead center, slowly trickling through the grain just as you envisioned it. Gripping the tightly mowed grass, the ball takes the break perfectly, then disappears into the bottom of the cup.

That’s the feeling that brought me back to golf. After an eight-year hiatus, six years of which I didn’t step on a golf course one time, that little split second neurological impulse revisited my brain and I was hooked.

Around late 2000, after a solid 12-13 years of playing golf year-round, I packed away the clubs, the balls, and the worn-down Nike shoes for good. The passion just wasn’t there anymore, and the reality of a realistic career called. Thoughts of professional golf had long since left my mind at that point. After struggling for a couple of years playing college golf, burnout set in and I played sparingly for a year or two before finally throwing in the flag.

For six years, I didn’t touch a club or set foot on a course. And though I had grown up playing the game, walking anywhere from 27-45 holes a day during the 95 degree Georgia summers, I couldn’t have cared less about golf. That, my friend, is what we call burnout.

On June 9, 2006, the day before I married my lovely wife, I dusted off the clubs and the rotator cuffs and played with our wedding party, firing a wildly inconsistent 82 (46-36). And for the next two years, I played a few times at weddings, on vacations, etc. Though I didn’t dislike playing golf anymore, my dormant obsession with the game had yet to return.

About a month ago, I birdied holes 8 and 9 at the Golf Club of Amelia Island to shoot a front nine 34.  Number 9, a par 3, played about 185. After fading a 4 iron up to about 20 feet, I stood behind the right-to-left breaking putt and remembered how to read a green. Start at the hole. Work your way back to the ball. Look at the front of the green, the back of the green. Follow the slope. So, aiming two balls outside of the hole, I stroked the putt exactly how I had envisioned it seconds earlier. The Titleist slowly and steadily trickled into the hole. Dead-center. At that moment, I loved golf again.

So, as a result of my newly rediscovered passion for my golf, here I am starting a golf blog. Will it last? I really don’t know. As a writer, it would seem that blogging is right up my alley. But when you write and edit all day, sometimes writing isn’t the first thing you want to do when you get home.

A full disclosure: this is my second attempt at a blog. The first, a now defunct and irregularly updated site can be found here. If you’re interested in some of my thoughts on Christianity, spirituality, and whatnot, then you’ll find it there. 

Since I’ve been writing for six years now, both full-time and freelance, I’m particularly excited about my golf epiphany because it allows me to combine my first love, golf, with my second love, writing.

On a professional level, I’ve worked for a couple of prominent pastors in Atlanta —writing everything from magazine articles to the copy on the back cover of DVDs.  Now in Nashville , I work as a content manager for a personal finance guy with a popular radio show…

But this little blog is about none of that. I don’t intend to write Christian here. You can find plenty of that all over the web. After six years of spiritual writing, maybe I’m taking a little hiatus. I almost feel as if I’ve written everything I can write, read everything I could read—and it’s all starting to sound the same, trite and clichéd. Regardless, I need a break.

So my focus here is golf. What’s my angle? Who knows. Maybe some PGA  Tour, maybe some personal reflections, maybe some random golf thoughts, maybe my quest to be a decent amateur golfer again and compete in some local and state ams. Really lofty goals, huh? The only thing I’m sure of is that I don’t really care if anyone reads it….otherwise I probably wouldn’t mention the 81 I will probably shoot on Sunday. So, you may ask, why post this online then? Why not just keep a journal? Good point.

Anyway, it’s late…got to wrap up. I’m a Bruce. The Bruces comes from Scotland . So golf is in my blood. And though golf will probably make me bleed again, though I’ll hate it more often than not, it’s back. Like an old, crazy, cross-eyed friend I haven’t seen in a long time, it’s back. Now, if I can only remember how to make a decent chip shot again.