There isn’t anything much more intimidating than the prospect of playing golf with a sports psychologist.
I know that the opposite should hold true, but not for me, at least at the very start. Brad and I had the opportunity to play with Jon Stabler, co-founder of Golf Psych in Boerne (that’s Bernie for those of us from parts elsewhere) Texas. Brad took Jon’s course last year and played with Jon at the beautiful Resort Course at Tapatio Springs.
Brad wanted to reunite with Jon and play a round at the course he enjoyed so much before.
The night before our outing, our motorhome shook and shimmied to the significant wind gusts blowing through the area overnight. I suppose it didn’t help that we were camping at the Top of the Hill campground, prime real estate for wind.
I tossed and turned, my thoughts floating back to a camping trip years before with our kids and my sister-in-law, Gail, in Northern Minnesota, outside of Duluth. I remember holding on to the kids and Brad as we were all piled in the same bed of our pull trailer, hoping and praying we’d all be fine.
All was well the next morning, the winds calmed down, and after taking a hike at a nearby park with Luna, Brad and I headed to Tapatio Springs. After settling up in the pro shop, we headed to the range, grabbing a few clubs to warm up with. Soon after Jon showed up, offering a huge smile and a warm, strong handshake. I suggested that the student and instructor should ride together, and I would hang in my own cart, which they agreed made sense.
The first hole was a par 5 dogleg left (as opposed to dogleg right as I thought). I hit a decent drive, nice second shot, then needed a wedge for my approach shot. I repeat, I needed a wedge for my approach shot. I looked in my bag, then over at Brad’s thinking maybe I’d accidentally put my wedge in his bag after warming up. No wedge in sight. After a quick inventory of my clubs, I realized I’d left three clubs at the range…a first for me.
There’s nothing like the drive of shame from the first green back to the range, making my way strategically past the group behind us so as to avoid disturbing them or getting hit. I checked in with the golf pro by the shop to see if anyone had turned them in, no such luck. Drove to the range and discovered the clubs exactly where I left them.
I sped back to the guys, who were already midway into the second hole, a par 4 with the approach shot over water. I decided I’d just skip that hole. Feeling a little unnerved and embarrassed, I took a deep breath at the next tee, a short par 3, and struck a beautiful shot, which was tracking toward the hole. An easy birdie putt later, I felt back in my groove.
We had a great time, both Brad and I played well, perhaps as a result of the calming influence of the golf mentor. At the end of the round, Jon gave me a hug and said I “had game” and that it was really fun to play golf with me. I felt the same about the experience and was proud of myself for not letting the mistake at the start of the round affect the rest of the afternoon.
Our Texas time came to an end and made our way the next morning to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where my niece Liz and her husband, Nick live. We had a wonderful evening enjoying their homemade chicken pesto pasta, always a family favorite. Temperatures dipped overnight, and I was grateful for my winter hat for our walk with Liz the next morning.
As we said goodbye, Liz gifted us with frozen salmon and halibut from their adventures up in Alaska last fall. Yum!
One of the many upsides to traveling by coach is the chance to see family along the way. Soon we’d have a quick stop in Atlanta to visit our daughter before heading home.
But, before then, Selma happened.