I grew up playing golf, but fell out of the game for school, work and other priorities. I'd been wanting to get back into it, but kept procrastinating. So, when my friend Ben asked me to join him for 9 holes to celebrate his 40th birthday at Glen Oaks, I thought… here's my chance.
At first, I was a bit apprehensive to have my first round in 8 years be at a fancy country club. I didn't even have clothes to pass dress code, but I figured this would be a great way to dive in head first and get back out there. So, I quickly went shopping and got a few practice swings in at the driving range.
On Ben's birthday, I showed up to find him sipping on a Miami Vice cocktail with his buddy and business partner, Ben Sinclair. This immediately set the stage that we were going to have some fun... which is good, because I threw a giant gold rope chain in my bag to troll the dress code.
Golfing with Ben was awesome. Whether it was his general demeanor, his lack of grabbing a scorecard, the way we strolled around the clubhouse, or laughs along the way, he was a constant reminder that we were here to relax and enjoy the experience.
For the first 5 holes of the back nine, my subconscious nerves were getting in the way. Most of my hits weren’t clean and the strong winds certainly weren’t helping… But despite all the double bogeys, I was still having fun and it felt great being back on the course.
Halfway through the round, I could feel the groove coming back. On hole 15, I finally scored my first par of the day (Ben still beat me with a birdie, haha). After that, we stepped up to hole 16, a 168-yard par 3 with wind in our face... Feeling incredibly relaxed, I lined up with my 7-iron and hit a super clean shot. It felt great and looked even better. Good line. Good Distance. The ball dropped just short and left of the pin, took 2 small hops, and then smoothly rolled right into the hole.
It looked so simple and clean. I couldn’t believe what I’d just seen. Ben and I started screaming and laughing as we ran around the tee box. We full-on bear hugged and I think he even picked me up at one point. Neither of us knew what to do or how to act, so I just threw my gold chain on and giggled while Ben pulled out his GoPro and captured the moment.After that ace, the next hole was a complete blur, but I ended the round with a birdie on 18. Five double bogeys, a bogey, a par, birdie, and hole-in-one.
If I hadn't set my nerves/ego aside and took that opportunity to jump back into the game by having my first round in 8 years at an intimidating country club, I’d still be in that procrastination loop. I would've never gotten my first hole-in-one or shared this incredible experience on Ben's 40th birthday...
Throughout my life and career, I've learned that getting in over-my-head has always been the fastest way for me to grow and move forward. I'm not expecting to be cranking out hole-in-ones from here, but once again, jumping back in head-first is something that I will never regret. That round of golf was the perfect reminder to keep stepping out of my comfort zone, enjoying the moments, and celebrating. It was a reminder that I needed.