Golf is a delightful game. Sure, it’s completely maddening and harder than almost any other sport I can think of, but when approach with a good attitude, it is treeeemendous. And yes, that’s how I am spelling that word right now. You want to spell it differently? Start your own snappy blog but on this blog, we sometimes like to mess with English. Just because we can. We also like to use the pronoun “we” even though this blog is the effort of one person… me. Again, see previous disclaimer on getting your own damn blog.
I got to play for the first time this past season on Good Friday and what a good day it was. Granted, my level of play varied from “Sweet mother of God… don’t look straight at that shot since you may turn to stone!” to something akin to transcendent beauty (at least in my eyes).
One of the things that came up with the guys I was playing with was whether we would be using any mulligans since it was the very first round of the season. For those of you not steeped in the rich tradition of golf parlance, a mulligan is just an exceedingly fancy word for a do-over. Yes, besides being an utterly challenging game, golf thoroughly enjoys a language all its own that conjures up all sorts of snooty country club images.
The decision was to allow one mulligan per 9 holes. I ended up using one after a drove one into some godforsaken part of the course from which the ball would never return, but my honestly? I tend to hate mulligans. HATE them. I let one slide this time, but even then I didn’t like it all that much and for one simple reason:
When you give yourself do-overs, you never know where you really stand. And that makes me crazy.
Perhaps I should explain. If I am going to play a sport, I really don’t like shortcuts… because at some point and in some place, I may be competing… and there are few things worse than an inflated sense of self. When I play golf, I want to count every single shot and I want to putt out every putt to completion. When I lift weights, I don’t want to do partial lifts just so I can brag about all of the Interwebz about my gargantuan strength (hence my vlog post on “Many Steps Back” where I talk about rebuilding one of my lifts after hitting an all-time best).
Maybe this is just part of my job as an ethics officer rubbing off on everything else I do, but I want to know how good I am as precisely as possible… not so I can measuring myself against others, but really so I can measure against myself.
And for one more reason – life gives no do-overs. Ever. The moments that slip past you will never return again. If given the chance, do I want to half-ass it just so I can brag about an empty accomplishment? Yeah, not so much for this handsome kid over here.
Are people who use mulligans somehow weak or bad people? Oh hardly at all. If it makes you enjoy golf all the more (and it’s not being used to cheat against others), go crazy. You won’t find me playing morals police with how you choose to enjoy the game.
I just never want to fall into a habit… in anything… of relying on a second chance, especially one I created to give myself an insincere pat on the back. I’m OK with less-than-perfect or even fall-on-my-face failures the first time around since even when ugly, they are all mine.
I will take owning my own failures every time over faking my own successes. Every. Single. Time.