Playing Golf the Right Way
If you’ve read any of my past writings concerning my discovery of golf, you are aware that I have had some health
issues which required me to have both of my hips replaced within the last year. The game of golf has been a real
blessing to me during this time and it has given me an outlet relative to sport, competition, fun, and exercise.
Additionally, I have met many new and interesting people through the game. Two of those people are Rob Rigg
and Melvyn Hunter Morrow. Rob is the founder of The Walking Golfer and he is an advocate and strong believer
that many benefits can be derived from walking a golf course. Melvyn is a Scotsman and is a firm believer in
abiding by the original principles of golf, which include walking.
I suppose it was right after my second hip replacement while I was still using my walker to get around my house
when I made my mind up that one day I was going to become a walking golfer. There are a lot of reasons why I
made this decision, but I think the biggest one was that being able to walk a golf course for 18 holes would mark the
symbolic end of this ugly and painful chapter in my life and usher in a new and more joyful time. With this in mind, I
attacked my rehab process with vigor and determination. It has been 3 months since I made that decision and over
the last few weeks I have played golf 6 times and walked all 6 of those courses. Now realize this…it is still a
challenge for me. My legs swell after 4 holes, I have to take pain medicine and anti-inflammatories to be able to
play golf and the last nine holes are a bit of a struggle. BUT…I can do it!!! And I am over-joyed!!! I trust that each
round hereafter will be a little less painful and require fewer and fewer pills to complete. The end goal is to be able
to walk a golf course without pain and without pain medicine.
The reason I am writing this article is two fold. The first is to simply celebrate…I can walk 18
holes…HALLELUJAH!!! But perhaps the more important reason is to share with anyone who might be reading this
the joy that can come from playing golf the right way. Bear in mind, “playing golf the right way” may differ from
person to person. Some people simply can’t walk a golf course. They might be an amputee, they might have
avascular necrosis (like I did), they might have severe arthritis, whatever the case may be...they might not be
physically able to do it and that is fine. Ride in a cart as that is the “right way” for you...just like it has been for me
up until now. However if you are physically able to walk, I urge you to. I think you will enjoy a better golfing
experience. You will be able to see the golf course from a new set of eyes and appreciate the architecture just a bit
more. You will get a rush of endorphins from the added exercise. And you just might be more in tune with your
game and score better, as you won’t be racing around in a cart stopping and starting, coming and going, and
zigging and zagging. Rather you will be hitting your tee shot, grabbing your bag, walking down the fairway to your
ball, lining it up and hitting it…smooth, natural and fun.
Another thing that has been suggested to me by Melvyn is to do away with all the laser range finders and GPS
systems that have been designed to gauge exact distances to the flagstick. He believes that golf has been so
enjoyable to so many over the years due to the fact that people use their natural senses to figure out what club to
hit, how to hit it, and how far to hit it. Just like Old Tom Morris, Allan Robertson, or Harry Vardon did it years ago,
golfers of today can simply take a look at the terrain in front of them, the location of the hole, and decide on the
type of shot they want to hit, then grab their club of choice and swing away. I must say that I have also done this
for my last 6 rounds of golf and he is right…it is fun and satisfying. After my first few rounds, I have actually
become quite good at this estimation of distance and to see the ball hit the green knowing that I pulled that shot off
using only my God-given talents and abilities is pretty darn cool.
I think this type of feeling was summed up by another golfing colleague of mine, Vinnie Kmetz. He said that it is
very satisfying to know that at the end of a hole, the score you posted was entirely your own. Whether that score
was above or below par is irrelevant. What is relevant is that you used your own ideas and thoughts and physical
and mental abilities to arrive at that score. I would add that you gave it your all and you can see the fruits of your
labor after each shot, hole, and round. Now from time to time, those “fruits” won’t be what you want them to be.
But that is another great aspect of golf. In order to achieve the level of success you desire you have to
demonstrate perseverance, mental toughness, and have a real quality of character which will be revealed in your
integrity and work ethic.
In closing, I just want to re-iterate that playing golf the “right way” has to be defined on a case by case basis.
Walking is right for some, but not possible for others. But regardless of what your limitations are, if you give all you
have to the game and play it the right way…I am sure your life will be better for it.
Furthermore, if you are interested in learning more about becoming a Walking Golfer, click on this link…