I want to share this story with you because it goes way beyond the game of golf it set out to be .On Sunday 11th September 2011at 11.20am approx I found myself standing on the first tee box in my golf club surrounded by supporters .It was the final of the Bloom Cup against one of the other local golf clubs.
So what so unusual about that ,well 8 years ago when diagnosed with Parkinson’s I could not have written this story and how it unfolded
My captain really believed in me and had given me a chance to prove that despite Parkinson’s I could still compete .
My outstanding golf partner and friend Siobhan was incredibly supportive.
So I had prepared well for this match, I had an hours yoga under my belt from the night before and had hydrated myself well .I woke at 5am (not unusual for me)and waited until the pain in my back and legs had subsided and the stiffness eased slightly before I got up .I spent the next two hours taking medication ,doing exercises and breathing techniques that would unravel my body and eventually let me swing a club .I did some visualisation the key for me was to be calm alert and focused.
I have to be very careful about my diet protein sets my body into slow motion so I tend to avoid it during the day. .So for breakfast it was porridge made on water nuts and seeds and honey .
By 9.30 I was at the club no one would have known the preparation it took to get me there. I warmed up and played a few holes before I knew it we were on the tee box.I had stood slightly apart from the spectators and concentrated on my breathing stress sends my mediation off and I could not take a chance.We started off and after 4 holes we were 3 holes down not good! So we continued on and eventually came to the 15th hole ,we were still 3 down, and I said to Siobhan “They need us!”.
Its a longish par 3 and we both drove off, I chipped onto the green and one of the opposition was in the bunker. She played an outstanding bunker shot to within a foot of the hole.
I suddenly realised that in order to half the hole I had to sink the putt. So I took a deep breath, relaxed my body and said to myself “This is going in” and so it did. The opposition sank their putt we had been let out of jail and headed for the 16th. Siobhan played the hole like a professional, she was left with a downhill putt which she executed perfectly. We were now heading to the 17th ( 2 down) and just like our confidence the crowds suddenly appeared.
We ended up winning the 17th hole to rapturous applause, now we were only one down and at this stage I knew that our team mates had won their matches which was fantastic. Stepping up onto the 18th tee box I knew that all we had to do was win this hole halve the match to win the cup and the pennant.
We both drove the ball down the middle and I am sure each drive gained at least 10 yards from the sheer wall of sound that pushed out from the crowd urging the two drives homeward. We played perfect shots to the green and were both within striking distance of winning the match. I remember the crowd behind and above in the castles balcony taking a collective breath, and holding, as Siobhan’s calmly struck putt rolled lazily into the hole completely unaware of the euphoria it was going to cause.
And so it was we had won the Bloom Cup and I had played a game of golf using the mental tools that I use in all areas of my life and why am I surprised that it worked yet again.
You would have got great odds at the beginning of the golf season on the outcome of that match last Sunday.
The power of mindfulness breathing and making choices to live positively are there for all of us to grasp .I did on Sunday ( against all the odds) because I got out of my way !!
We were a great team we supported each other believed in each other and we had a fantastic manager and assistant manager who were there every step of the way.
What a life experience it was the journey that got us to our final destination in style!!