“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.