Sunday, September 8, 2013

My Return To Golf


Three months and three days ago, I had rotator cuff surgery on my left shoulder. My doctor has proven himself to be not only a fine surgeon, but an even more impressive prophet, since every single thing he told me would happen, HAS happened. He warned me that it would be an extremely painful experience, and that I would curse every time I thought of him for the first six weeks. He told me that the rehab process would be long, painful, and slow. Then finally, he told me I would be well enough to start playing golf again by September.

So, there I was Friday, driving out to Royal Virginia on a gorgeous Friday morning, prepared to test his hypothesis. As I expected, RV was wide open, so I walked up on the 1st tee box with a mixture of exhilaration and fear. Just in case you’re wondering, no…I didn’t go to the range to hit any balls beforehand. That’s just not how I roll. That would have been the smart thing, the prudent thing to do. Start out with the wedge, hit a few chips, work my way through the bag taking ever longer swings to test my range of motion…that sort of thing is what the careful, thinking man would have done. But, there I was with a driver in my hand, taking the club back waiting for a sharp pain, feeling none, then swinging down through the ball and watching it fade majestically against the bright blue sky and into the trees on the right side of the fairway. I was thrilled! The ball was lost, but it didn’t hurt! By the time I tapped in for a triple bogey seven, I was practically ecstatic.

The second hole brought more of the same, another lost tee shot, and another triple, but absolutely no discomfort. I did notice that every shot I hit was roughly twenty yards shorter than usual and my ball flight was left to right , when before it had always been the opposite. Then, the miraculous happened…two consecutive pars! By the end of my first nine holes of golf in over six months, I had lost 6 balls, but managed to shoot a 50 with no pain. As I walked off the green and headed to my car, I remember thinking that finally, the shoulder problems were over, behind me.

Then, I made the mistake of overconfidence. When I woke up yesterday and saw the beautiful blue skies and felt no pain in the shoulder, I couldn’t resist a follow up nine holes. I drove out to Sycamore Creek to see if I could possibly be paired up with a threesome. I was amazed to find the parking lot virtually empty and the first tee box wide open, (note to self…sell Sycamore Creek stock). This time, I was hitting the ball a little better, and had only lost two balls by the time I found myself standing in the middle of the 5th fairway with a six iron in my hand. On the follow through of the swing I felt a sharp pain in the shoulder and dropped the club as the ball took a sweeping turn to the left towards a creek. I immediately knew that there would be no more golf for me for the day. The disappointment was deep. Too much, too soon, according to Pam. She’s probably right. Stupid shoulder.

This is always the way it is with me. I can never just take things slow; take my time, pace myself. I always have to go off half cocked with no reasonable plan and no calculus which allows for the possibility of failure. It is one of my many character flaws, one which causes Pam much frustration and grief, my unbridled, unreasonable, and unjustified self-confidence!

This morning’s good news is that the shoulder does not hurt, so apparently, there’s no lasting damage. See? I knew it was just a minor setback all along! I’m good to go. Maybe another nine this afternoon?? What the heck, why not eighteen?

Meanwhile, Pam rolls her eyes in disgust and shakes her head while mumbling, “I am married to a middle school boy!”