Experience Helps You Travel Further

When my older brother first taught me how to play golf, he took me to the driving range. He showed me the proper form, how to stand, how to hold my hands, and how to grip the club. Although many lessons were to come, he stressed the importance of letting the ball do the work by just making contact with the correct club in the sweet spot.

When it was my turn to hit the dimpled white golf ball, I swung with all of my might. I hit the ball, but it didn’t travel half as far as his ball did (with much less effort in his swing). “This game is stupid,” I said to hide my embarrassment that a big strong guy like me couldn’t hit the ball past a few feet.

The Swing, The Club, and A Dimpled Ball

He again encouraged me to take some of the pressure off myself by hitting the ball in the sweet spot with a solid swing that wasn’t aimed at killing the ball. I did exactly as he said and the ball traveled much further with less effort. It even felt different when it left the grooves of the club head.

Relationships are eerily similar to the lesson passed down from my older brother. When I have put all of my effort into pushing my mate to have drive that will enhance both of our lives, she doesn’t progress very far. However, if I give less effort in my push, then I am not hurt nor am I overextending myself to become angry at my “swing.” I’m just beginning to realize that the “ball” has to do some of the work too. That explains why the ball has dimples. The ball was designed to travel far with minimal push.

In the beginning of golf, golf balls were smooth. Over time golfers realized that the used balls and older balls flew much further than smooth balls. These balls had their flaws (bumps, lumps, slices, and nicks), but golfers that wanted to have an upper hand preferred balls with flaws. These flawed balls became sought after because of their ability to travel further than a ball with no experience. The design changed to dimples in the balls.

I wonder if God knew that people would travel further with less effort if they had experience at life’s perils. Maybe that’s why successful people have survival testimonies, bumps, lumps, bruises, and nicks.

Golf, like life, is a difficult game and many days it will seem like the game has caused harm to your pride and ego, especially when others are watching. On other days, all the stars align and you hit a hole in one and have the best game of your life.

The key is to keep showing up with the right equipment and dimpled balls. The dimples in the balls each have a story that help the ball travel further than it would with no experience.

Corey J. Henderson, DrPH, MPA

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