Monday, May 21, 2012

Get a good grip

You probably would not guess by looking at me, but I love to golf.  I'm not very good at it, but I love to do it.  (I haven't been able to lately for two reasons: my health and my finances). 

One of the first things you learn to do is how to hold the golf club so that the ball will fly straight and long.  It's a delicate balance - you want to hold it tight enough so it doesn't slip, but loose enough so that you don't throw off your whole swing (and sacrifice both distance and accuracy) by tightening up your muscles.  Once the club is pointed in the right direction, a perfectly great golf swing can be ruined by a poor grip.  Too tight and you hook or slice the ball... or you lean back and try to give'er - as the saying goes - and end up "topping" it so it only dribbles off the tee and bouncing about thirty feet ahead.  Not good.  Too loose, and the ball might go a long way, but the club will turn at the point of impact and send the ball in the wrong direction!

I will never forget what the person who taught me said about this. "Balance. Relax your core and keep your shoulders square, your feet lined up to where you want the ball to go.  Your stance should be natural, not contrived. Keep your eye on the ball at all times through the swing.  And remember above all things: it's golf, not baseball. It's not going to go farther if you lean back and put yourself out of balance. Finesse is more important than power."  

Here's the link for this photo!
Great life lessons!  

So is this one - courtesy of my husband.  "Don't compare yourself to the other player(s).  Golf is a contest but not with them ... it's with yourself. If you flub a shot, learn from it, let it go, and move on.  You're here to have fun, not to beat up on yourself."

But of all the things that I had to learn, the grip - I believe - was by far the most important, because it would complement or throw off everything else about my game.  Knowing how to handle that club was key for me to not lose my ball in the rough or miss hitting it altogether.  The reward for a good grip was that satisfying "sssnICK!" as the club face hit that ball right on the sweet spot... and my gaze would follow that ball straight down the fairway. Usually with my mouth open in amazement.

And at first - it felt so incredibly unnatural.  Grip it tight with these fingers but let those fingers flex with the shot.  Hook this finger around that one. No, not like that, like this.  (It was easy to tense up by this point).  Keep your wrists cocked until you get to the bottom of the swing and then straighten them out for impact and let them go again as you follow through.  Confusing?  OH yeah!

It was that way in my own journey of inner healing too.  I had to learn new skills I never had before.  Yes, keep holding on to this but let go of that.  Put this priority over that one, keep it there, no, now it's too far - tighten up this a little, loosen that, adjust your sights, now practice a bit.  See how that feels... (it felt ruddy awkward!!) Ah, you see? that's a good grip! (Really? how do people live like this?)

Eventually though, after a few successful swings at life - seeing the far-reaching results of even my own feeble efforts to live life without trying to beat it (or me) to death, I got a bit more used to the new normal.  And my life-game started to improve.

By no means have I broken a hundred yet.  But at least I'm getting a good grip.  I just need more practice.

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