Since my untriumphant return to golf, I’ve noticed quite a few differences between golf these days and when I played in high school and college.

As I’ve mentioned, the technology advances are staggering. Between balls like the Pro V1X and drivers like the Ping G10, Titleist D2, etc, I’ve gained 15-20 yards, at least, on average. And like I discussed on Monday, I’ve bombed a few drives, unlike I’ve ever hit a driver before.

But the biggest difference for me these days is a personal one. I’ve got a life now. In other words, the 40 hour work week and the natural busyness of married life places golf into its proper perspective.

Somewhere around the age of 23, those of us who aren’t fortunate enough to play golf for a living have to find jobs, pursue careers, and maybe even snag a date or two. When I was in my early twenties, six hours at the golf course was a typical day…these days, at the ripe young age of 32, it’s the same amount of time I spend over a two-week period.

The balance is the hard part. I love my wife more than my career. And both definitely take priority over golf. But, as I’ve said before, golf is in my blood. If I’m going to play again, if I’m going to pursue this mind-numbingly frustrating game, then I want to be good–even better than I was before.

If I’m going to beat it around to the sound of an 85 every time I play, then I’d just rather not. I’m too competitive, too stubborn, to think I can’t do better than that, to think I can’t go back out in some local and state amateur tournaments (in the near future) and compete, or at least play to the best of my ability.

But the key is this. In the midst of life, I’ve got to maximize my practice time. I’m not going out to the range once a week (every Wednesday) just to beat balls; I’m going out with a plan: my alignment, my grip, one or two particular swing thoughts.

And when I go out to play once every weekend, whether I’m playing 9 or 18, I’m setting goals. Usually, it’s not even a score that I’m shooting for; it’s more about hitting a certain number of fairways and greens every round. Ten fairways, twelve greens, something like that. Hit targets and the score will follow.

In college, I worked as a cart guy at the country club in my hometown, Cartersville, Georgia. I remember seeing dudes out there every freaking day. Some guys, married with kids, played four or five rounds a week. And these aren’t touring pros or anything, these are guys with normal careers and jobs…insurance, real estate, whatever.

But I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to sacrifice one thing for another. I don’t want to sacrifice my marriage or the relationship with my future kids for the faint hope that I may shoot a 67 or win 50 bucks in a game. That’s what we call screwed up priorities. Now, if my son picks up golf, then, oh yeah, that’s a different story.

I just want to keep getting better. Maybe it’s unrealistic for me to think that I can play once or twice a week and still maintain a 2 handicap, as I did as a young whippersnapper. But I don’t think so. Now that I have a life, and golf is down the priority list, I put a lot less pressure on myself. Nothing to lose.

The end goal is to be a good amateur golfer, to compete in some sanctioned state tournaments. No longer is it to be in the one tenth of one percent of the guys who make it on Tour. The only way I’m making it on Tour is if I’m there with a pen in my hand. Is the PGA Tour hiring freelance writers?

Anyway, I’m big on goals and mission statements these days…mostly as a result of the incredible place at which I work. And this little blog is starting to pick up in traffic. So I figured I’d let you know a little bit about myself, about why I’m writing a golf blog that isn’t just random news bits, like a lot of sports blogs out there.

I’ve decided to include some personal stuff, like this post, because without a personal angle, this blog is just a news site, or some cliched “crazy blogger guy” with an over-the-top opinion. There’s enough of that out there. And, quite frankly, it’s not original. Not too say that I won’t be reporting news and offering opinions, but there’s more to this than that.

I didn’t just flip the switch on this little writing project without a plan in mind. Right now, it’s just to find a pleasant little balance between golf and life. And now that I’ve reached my quota for golf rambling for today, I must leave on an abrupt note.

Until next time…