Counterbalance

“A weight that balances another weight”.

Professional golf, or maybe just golf itself, is a never-ending tightrope walk. And that’s when you’re doing well. One foot in front of the other, eyes forward, head straight. Nothing but high draws and baby fades and walk-in 15 footers. Spinning plates while you go. When you’re struggling, it’s the same tightrope. Only now you’re clinging on by the fingertips of one hand, and the cuts seem to miss themselves and there’s no middle of the clubface on your long irons and your putter is controlled by someone else’s hands and you’re dangling over the abyss that holds only the voices in your own head.
Going from one to the other is both the easiest and the hardest process in the world.

The tightrope walk, the balancing act, also comes in the form of continuous improvement. The search is what drives all of us to some degree. A search that every one of us pursues knowing it has no end game, despite our endless efforts.
Despite our range hours and our blisters, despite our spike-marked putting greens and our left-side high bodies and our white pockets of otherwise tanned skin that unite us.
Despite our Monday course scouting and our Tuesday swing searching and our Wednesday pro-am exasperations that are far more at our own lack of Monday and Tuesday answers than our partners’ lack of ability. A search that has no end game, even when we shoot 64, because it includes a double on 16, or when we shoot 60, because we pulled the putt for a 59, or when we birdie our last five holes in a row, because how did it take 13 holes to remember?

A search that has no end game, even when we create our own circumstances. A search that still has no end game when we don’t. Despite our book-reading and our consecutive ten-foot mat putts and our eight yard garden flop shots and our Amazon net ordering and our sweat-inducing Pelaton sessions (other indoor bikes are available).

The search and the tightrope have their own ebbs and flows, regardless of the circumstances we create. But now there’s more than just the voices in our head in the abyss. It’s a global reality, a tightrope we’re all on, that has nothing to do with golf.

Golf means nothing in this crisis. But what do you do when the thing that defines your life means nothing? When the thing that defines your life has no significance at all? What do you do, how do you feel? When the waves of motivation hit and then another yellow bar of updated deaths scrolls across the bottom of your tv? What do you do, how do you feel? When you get excited, then disappointed, then excited again by Trackman numbers in your back garden, at the same time as a grandmother is next door wishing her grandson a happy birthday through the patio doors? What do you do, how do you feel? When every email notification that comes through scares you in case it’s another tournament cancellation, and then you hear the news of someone else on the frontline dying, and you think about the friend of a friend who’s the same age in the same job?

It’s not just golfers, or sportspeople, whose lives are now a complicated web of emotions and processes. It’s everyone’s. Somehow, that unites us all – maybe for the first time ever there’s a crossover, an overlapping of all the separate universes we exist in. Let’s hold on to each other while we’re there.
Counterbalance.

About megmaclaren

24, English professional golfer and FIU graduate. "Treat people as though they are who they ought to be and you'll help them become what they are capable of being"
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5 Responses to Counterbalance

  1. Gary Miller says:

    In these strange dark and frightening days it’s good to remember that beautiful things are still happening. Autumn in the south Spring in the north, beautiful innocent babies being born and people everywhere spending more time with those they love. The world can be better than it was and people can be better than they were. Thank you to all who are putting themselves at more risk to help others, may you be recognized, rewarded and never forgotten when this is over.

  2. Virgil Mincy says:

    In the old days, a “counterbalance” would be laying a mound of hamberger on the scale and moving the bar…until it balanced; it told you one pound. The balance of what you wanted versus what you owed. Maybe that is what balance should be in golf: not bad results vs. good ones but “how much is owed,” how much it takes to get “good results.” The counter balance is not karma; it is whether one pepares enough…or was ever really good enough. In either case, proffesional golf is but a pin tip on the pyramid of those loving the game. Being only the tip..of the tip does not mean failure as a golfer; just failure to be the tip of the tip Effort? Perhaps. Ability (or lack thereof)? Perhaps. Maybe less emphis on the “tug” and more on the effort. If it was meant to be, it will be.

    Very well expressed thoughts re: golf…or any game … with respect to what is going on around us.

  3. Sally says:

    Lovely post. I really liked ‘an overlapping of all the separate universes we exist in’ . It’s strange thinking of all the people you know around the world who are experiencing the same thing at the same time. Beautifully expressed.

    One difference here in NSW, we are able to play golf still. It was cancelled for 48 hours last week but then reopened. Only 2 people can play together, no touching flags, no bunker rakes. Appreciating each game as if it will be our last – which it will be at some stage.

    Sally (your hopefully not too exasperating Pro Am partner from Dubbo 5 or so weeks ago. Which now seems like a lifetime ago)

  4. David Waite says:

    Well written Meghan and yet again, thought provoking.

  5. Barney Puttick says:

    Thank you Meghan for a sobering piece of journalism for all of us in the golf world to ponder on. Sadly as mainstream journalism continues it’s panic driven articles and interviews, it is so interesting how when the professionals in the Health industry talk with measured calm, and always considering the process of what we need to do next . Golf and sport are unimportant now, however they will return and let us hope society remembers to enjoy it for what it is, and we don’t forget to be grateful that we came through this awful time and to be more respectful of others in all fields and all faith’s.

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