After a seven-year lay-off from playing golf I find I cannot keep away from the fascination that surrounds such a simple yet complex past time. With marital commitments and a spat of unforeseen muscle and ligament injuries due to years of wear and tear my GP announces the news every golfer dreads: “You may never be able to play again”. A shudder down a tired and worn spine still evident as this bombshell is delivered.
I am only just into my forties and have played the game since a skinny 14-year-old. The thought of the next forty years without a par putt was unthinkable. After trying some pills and injections it was no better and my disappointment was felt deep within. The hours of TV golf and subscriptions to magazines was not enough to fill the enormous gap my battered limbs had left.
My wife was more than aware of my misery and one day announced I had an appointment with a local osteopath after work. I was very sceptical but even more desperate and decided to go along and have a chat.A few clicks, cracks and pulls and after the first appointment I felt strangely different. Not sure what to make of this I returned for several more punishing, but in some way relaxing, visits. The only brief the osteopath had was “I need to swing a golf club again”.
To cut to the chase I was on the driving range six months later with a full golf swing. I owe so much to the gentleman in the white coat who was able to fix me without the aid of medicine and I was truly amazed with the results.
How strange is our love affair with this game? My return several years later finds me fighting a hook, missed putts and yipped chips? My complaints of this very difficult game fall on deaf ears, as the struggle to produce a decent score seems as far away as ever. During my days of desperation and my need to get back to the game I love I had forgotten how hard this game was.
“The harder I practice the luckier I get” were the words of the great South African golfer Gary Player and I continued to fight my way back. The day finally arrives after many weeks of further frustration, a par at the 1st is followed by several others, my swing is loose and the game appears surprisingly simple, I am in the “zone”.
Three-over-par for the front nine, not bad for an old boy with a bad back. We turn for home and I avoid the temptation to tighten up. “Trust your swing” an old pro once told me, always easier said than done. I needed a par at the last hole for a two-over-par back nine and a gross score of 75, five over. Two steady shots and two good putts would see me card my best score for over six years. It wasn’t quite the Major win I dreamt of as a kid but the polite handshake and smiles from my long-suffering playing partners was all I needed to know. I had played well and all was not lost at 45 years old.