‘What’s the hardest sport to play on Earth?’ As subjective as that question may be, I tend to believe that golf is right up there with blind hacky sack and archery without arms.
You need to hit a round ball that’s 4.27cm small with a skinny stick, as hard as you can, from one location to a hole that’s up to and over 40,000cm away. That hole is only 10.795cm wide! The professionals can do this in about 4 swings of the skinny stick.
If this sounds easy enough, that’s because I haven’t told you what’s involved in the ‘swing’ of that skinny stick, which I’ll get to a little bit later. First, let’s first talk about why this has come up.
Before my accident, I was a social golfer. Not too good but not too bad. Mostly, I enjoyed getting out for a slog with my mates. My accident then bought my game to a halt and I always said that I would get back to the game one day when I’m better. Well as the years passed me by, better was looking like a distant memory and I needed to create a new ‘better’. I came to the realization that golf like it always had been was gone and it wasn’t just hiding from me; it was GONE. Gone, kaput, no more.
So one day, approximately seven years on, I decided to make an enquiry about disabled golf. Next thing I know I found myself balls deep… golf balls deep that is, in a game I thought was no longer possible. This was a couple of years ago that I started playing golf and before long my arm started to really hurt when I swung the skinny stick. It was like my arm would dislocate every time I swung the bloody thing. I decided it give it a rest and come back when it was a bit stronger. I was training it quite regularly at my local gym for about 6-months before I got back up on that crazy horse. My first game back and boom, there goes my shoulder. Ouchies, it bloody did it again. There goes that bloody arm again. There was cursing and shouting and club throwing and people punching hair pulling happening in my head.
I’ll cut a long story short, because the rest of the story will bore the pants off of you, and just say that my technique was not as conventional as it looked. I wasn’t swinging my arm the right way. With a coach, I learnt the right way to swing that skinny stick and that dislocation problem only happens very occasionally now.
This is where the fun began. Look, if you want to do a bit of brain training then go and learn golf because there is SO, SO, SO much to think of at once when you’re playing golf. I’ll take you along the journey of one of my golf swings:
One of the most important parts of the golf swing is the setup. I need to make sure the ball is in the right position before I can attempt to slog it. The ball position is slightly different with every almost every club you use.
Once the ball is in the right position, you can start to draw the club back. Now, I need to keep in mind, as I’m doing this, that the club will be following the exact same path on the return so it’s important that both the club head (the end of the skinny stick) and my hand go in a direct line straight back.
To stop your arm from dislocating like mine did, you also need to be rotating your torso around your spine in order to get enough power to hit the ball. This is where I fell down because I was trying to get my power from the swing of my arm instead of the swing from my body. This isn’t just as simple as twisting your body because if you do that, both the club head and your hand will go off course. I need to twist my body as I take the skinny stick back, in sync with each other. Keeping in mind, my torso must rotate around my spine without moving the angle of it.
Once I’m at the top of the swing, I need to make sure that the club head doesn’t go too far back because if I draw it past the opposite shoulder, it will get lost and won’t be able to find its way back on the path it took to get there.
Once I get to the top of the swing, it’s all downhill hill from there… quite literally because this is the most important part. The club head needs to follow the same path as it took to get back there but now everything is in reverse and you only have 1/3 of the time to finish it off. WTF? If you’re lucky enough to make it down to the ball, you still have to hit the darn thing as close to the centre of the skinny stick as possible. This is all over in literally a second. The average time of a golf swing, on the PGA Tour is 0.75 seconds for the drawback and 0.25 seconds for the follow through. Maybe slow it down because I’m not a pro, so let’s say it all takes me 1.5 to 2 seconds.
Now that we’ve mastered one club, that ok, because we still have another 13 clubs to go with all different shapes and sizes. Most of these clubs require an ever so slightly different technique and body position, depending on where you hit your ball to and how far you are from the hole.
Now that you’re a master at golf, try and play the game with one arm, this is a whole new ball game, pardon the pun. I have to play one armed golf due to my injuries.
So many things need to be going through your mind to hit a golf ball properly and to do this with an injured brain take A LOT of effort. I am willing to put in the effort because this is yet another sport that I had crossed off my ability-list once upon a time.
Next week I’ll be writing about my goal to get back out on the golf course to play with my buddies, and how I’m going about it with an injured brain.
|+61 423 312 347|