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The Game of Life

I played a game of golf today after a few weeks and it did not take me long to remember why I love this game. Golf, unlike so many other sports, is an opportunity for you to escape into your own little world. While you are on the course it is just you and the field, the seclusion and peaceful nature of a golf course helps you escape the madness.

Yesterday was no different, the weather was overcast and the place was empty. It was just me and the green grasses of the fairways. It was not long before I was drifting in and out of the real world. My mind ran free until it came upon a trend of thought which I decided I wanted to share with my readers.

Whilst playing it struck me that a game of golf mirrors that of the game of life. In golf for many players they follow a routine before each shot. You line up your shot with the flag, this is your goal. You then choose the club which will be the route you will pursue to reach your goal. You take a few practice swings adjusting your grip and ensuring your body movement is correct. All the coaching over the years are now being perfected to ensure everything goes smoothly. You then position yourself and swing. You leap into the real world.

Now how does this mirror life? Well look back at the stages a person follows to get ready to play a shot. The lining up of your shot is the planning of your life. You set yourself a goal. Going straight over the rough maybe entering the workforce straight out, following the fairway maybe pursuing the norm of college and then a job. Choosing the club is deciding finally what path you are going to choose and how you will follow it. You begin practice swings adjusting your grip and body position, this is your life through either college or learning the ropes of your trade at the bottom rungs of the working world. Finally the swing is the work you take on to reach the goal you have set yourself.

So is life that simple? Can it be so easily summed up? No, we have left out the sand traps on a golf course which are the hurdles and the problems you will encounter in your life. The rough on either side of the fairway is the problems that can exist for you if your life fails to follow the path you have set out for yourself. A dog legged hole is often a person facing an unsure future. In these situations you simply choose what club (method) feels best and take your best swing.

Now after playing my second tee shot I realised that my best game comes out when I do not over-think. I line my shot up, I select the club and I just swing. What does this mean for life? Has my theory been thrown out the window? I do not think so, rather this is showing another approach. You set your sights on that goal in life and you approach it the way you feel comfortable. Do not concern yourself with what has been taught throughout life. If I was to do what would be considered the norm I would most likely have done a degree and entered a job in the commercial sector. Worked my way up the ladder and lived my life. Instead I took the decision to set my eyes on a goal and then follow the path I felt most comfortable with. I have landed in the sand trap on more than one occasion, I may have chosen the wrong club at certain holes. Yet would I have been closer to the green had I practiced my swing before the shot? That is a possibility, it is also a possibility that thoughts would have flooded my mind and I would have found myself unable to play confidently. Confidence is key in life.

I finished the game in the dying light, the hole was ended well and I felt that I had played a natural game. All that the caddies and coaches have told me over the years had left my mind. I kept my eye on the ball and swung. The next time I play I will find myself swamped with ideas on my grip and my stance and won’t play as well. For some people they find the routine and following  instructions they have been given the correct path. For me it is the opposite. All the advice is left on the driving range, once I am out on that course I play the natural game. Life is that journey that everyone has to take. I want to take all that it has to throw at me and not feel it has been mapped out. I want to play the shot and not look back in regret.

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Categories: Personal, Sport Tags: , ,
  1. May 30, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Interesting analogy, and for the most part a good one. One missing factor is events and occurrences which you cannot see at all and have no idea at all that they’re coming. Other people, financial crises, political uprisings etc. The closest thing to that in golf I guess is the weather or a gust of wind. Then again there are weather forecasts. But I get your point.

    Life has many many invisible hurdles which pop up in front of you with little to no warning. Being able to think on your feet (hah!) quick and make decisions is important. In many ways I find such training in video games. Though often ridiculed as being stupid run around and kill, I think video games teach you how to make decisions quickly using the tools and options you have available. To survive truly tough and complex situations in a game is pretty damn satisfactory, and I think at the same time it speeds up your mental processes. That’s why playing games on their hardest difficulty is a heck of a rush.

    Even games as entertainingly silly as Plants vs Zombies takes some awareness of a current situation, resources available and then using those resources properly in a limited time. I wonder if there have been any research papers on the effects of such things on individuals… hmm..

    ok rambling.

    • May 30, 2012 at 11:07 am

      Thanks, yes the events you cannot predict is something which is missing. But yes the ability to think quickly on your feet is missing from so many people in today’s world.
      There was a course once in uni on video games and the effect it has on our mental ability

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