My Road to Senior Golf - The Aha Moment

In April of 2014, I hatched the idea that I wanted to start playing golf again after a 15 year hiatus.

I saw that the 2016 US Senior Open was going to be held at Scioto CC where Jack Nicklaus had grown up. 

I thought to myself, “How hard can it be to go out and shoot 69 or 70 in a qualifier?”

After all, I used to be a good player and when I go out and play for fun I still shoot around par.

If a student had made that kind of statement to me, I’d have laughed (most likely out loud).

I am sure my good friend and long term student John Pate chuckled inside when I mentioned my plan.

I should have known better.

“The game of golf has a sneaky way of punching you in the nose with the fist of reality. Fortunately, I still had 2 years to get ready.”

In the spring of 2014, I got fitted for new clubs and started playing more… 2 or 3 times a month, rather than my once a month average of the prior 15 years.

Surely tripling the amount of golf I was playing would be enough to sharpen my skills and I’d have a Senior Tour Quality game in no time.

The game of golf has a sneaky way of punching you in the nose with the fist of reality.

Fortunately, I still had 2 years to get ready.

In August of 2014, I entered the Southern California PGA Section Championship which was held at Alisal Ranch and River Courses.

I missed the cut by 7 shots, missing numerous short putts during the first round and making an unceremonious quadruple bogey 7 on the demanding 124 yard 17th at Alisal River Course on my 35th hole.

I did a lot of things well.

Missing the cut by 7 and being 14 shots off the lead didn’t deter my (delusional) optimism.

It wasn’t until January 2015 on a “Boy’s Weekend” snowboarding in Mammoth that I was no longer able to ignore the 220 lb. elephant in the room.

Midday on the second day of the trip, I found that I couldn’t make it to the bottom of the mountain without stopping for a rest.

I wasn’t attempting to run down the mountain, no I was sliding over snow on a waxed board…this shouldn’t have been such a challenge.

As I lay in the snow at the top of Andy’s Double Gold with both of my legs shaking uncontrollably and my lungs feeling as if I was breathing napalm, I knew that if I were to have any chance at success things were going to have to change dramatically.