Golf and Life
DGA Lito Bermundo, RC San Juan North

    The game of golf sounds simple. With a club you hit a small white ball over green grass until you put into a designated hole. The number of strokes used to complete that task is your score for the hole. At the end of a round – 18 holes in all – your score for each hole, totalled, is your score for the round. The player with the lowest score wins.

    But golf as it is with life isn’t that simple. If it were, the game would be boring and not many people; young boys and girls, gentlemen, ladies and seniors would be playing the game.

    Let us look at a list… why does one play golf: 1) The challenge; 2) To be with friends; 3) Like to walk in nature; 4) Good vacation activity; 5) Joy of accomplishment; 6) Game my spouse, children and I can play together; 7) Develop confidence; 8) Develop concentration; 9) Build character; and 10) Enjoy competition.

    The game thrives because it is so challenging and the seemingly easy task of getting the ball into the hole is actually difficult. Good golf demands patience, practice and skill. That’s why the game fascinates millions of people, both those who actively play and those who interestedly just watch the game.

    Is there a right age to start the game? My answer is; the best age to start in golf is the time you are interested to play the game.

    Let’s look at another list… of prominent people who are into the game of golf.

    LIST A - International (Age started playing): Tiger Woods (before he was born); Bobby Jones (5); Anika Sorenstam (12); Lee Trevino (8); Jack Nicklaus (10); Greg Norman (15)

    LIST B - Rotarians (Age started playing): DG Jun Farcon (35); PDG Teddy Zamora (35); PDG Mac Hermoso (28); DGE Raffy Garcia (12); DS Tom Rocamora (47); LtG Luz Cotoco (22); DDS Joey Sy (32); SAG Noel Flores (12); SAG William Lee (52); PP Ed Manzanares (38); The Writer (long after he got married, when wife gave permission)

    No one ever truly masters golf, not even those in List A. More so, not those in List B.

    Everyone is always trying to improve and that’s part of the game’s appeal. Golfers continuously try to gain intimacy with the golf course, like we do with our relationships in life.

    Golf provides opportunities to spend time in some of nature’s loveliest settings, with the people and friends whose company we enjoy. But again, as in life there are hazards in a golf course: the water, the sand trap, the rough, the trees. Like we do with Satan and evil lurking around in our lives, a golfer must find a way to get out of it in order to realize the game’s contentment and promise.

    In normal life, we direct our attention to here, there and everywhere. We eat breakfast while watching television, drive while listening to the radio, text or talk on our cell phone, we workout in a gym with our headphone on, and all of what we hear and see add to the fragmenting of our attention.

    It is all the opposite to be effective and to enjoy the game of golf. It requires a different pace and frame of mind than our regular normal lives. It is a refreshing change. It is, in a way, a measure of our concentration, like during our personal prayer time or when reading the word of God,

    For some people, like in List A, golf is a real passion – it is like their spouse. For others, like in List B, golf is more casual - like a good friend. But the basic principles of relationship are the same. Even though you don’t see a friend as often as a spouse, you feel you want to show him/her similar care and attention, kindness, if you will, whenever you have the chance to play together. Golf is truly a wonderful game to share with someone, with people you care about. We recognize this all too well in Rotary. In District 3800 we have a season of 8 to 9 golf tournaments and fellowship each Rotary year.

    One day, spouse Merci and son Michael had to attend a community activity at Ateneo. Older daughter Leah and I went to play golf together. Younger daughter Bea drove the golf cart for us with cold drinks, snacks and a book to read in between. We shared the agonies of wayward drives, the getting out of sand traps and the missed short putts. But we valued the delightful hours we shared in the golf course, the closeness we had from playing together. That was one fun day we look forward doing again and again.

    Like in a family and Rotary life, closeness enhances relationships. Golf certainly contributes in making that possible. Promise…