I started playing golf 20 years ago as a high school senior. I had some garage sale clubs and some buddies and I would trounce up and down the Jackson Municipal Golf Course or the links in Raymond at Hinds Community College. It has always been fun, but I have never really taken it seriously. In fact, I have never taken a single golf lesson. I pretty much just go out and play. My golf swing is of the classic has-been-baseball-player genre. Imagine that.
Over the years, I have played golf with all sorts of people. Some golfers are hyper-sensitive about the rules, counting every stroke and requiring you to finish every put. The day I make it to the Senior PGA is the day I am going to play like that. I have also played golf with friends who get way too angry at themselves and others on the golf course. It’s a little unnerving. I can remember a former roommate from law school that could get a little scary out there. Yikes!
My favorite way to play is treating the time as an enjoyable outing with friends where we get to chat about little of nothing and maybe share a beer or two. Sometimes I keep score, but most of the time I don’t really care. If I play a few holes back to back where I am having trouble getting the ball in the hole, I will quit keeping score altogether because I am just competitive enough to let it ruin my day. I just try to take it one shot at a time and one hole at a time. Being a person that was pretty serious about baseball for a long time, I decided that the day I practice golf like I did baseball for hours a day every day will be when I start getting upset about my score on the golf course. For me, a successful golf game is just being able to play. If I make a handful of pars and mix in a birdie, that’s great. I don’t care about the scorecard or my handicap. That’s not why I’m there.
Oh yes, the Mulligan. A Mulligan is a do-over, a second chance, a freebee, a shot that does not count against your score. Sometimes people play with a Mulligan per side, sometimes it seems there are unlimited Mulligans. As you may have suspected by some of my other thoughts in this little blog, I am big time in favor of the Mulligan. I am not in favor of them because I care so much about my score, but I am in favor of them because sometimes you just need to overlook a shot to get back on track. You see, when you shank one into the woods, you have to play the second shot from the woods. Because of the trees, you may or may not get back into the fairway. If you don’t, that bogie could turn into a triple or worse before you know it. However, if you take a Mulligan, it is amazing sometimes how “that golfer playing behind you” corrects the little mistakes in the previous swing and you are playing from the short grass again. Instead of looking for your ball in the forest, you just forget the bad swing and the extra stroke and just keep on playing.
So Craig, what’s this got to do with Mississippi marriage or divorce? Good question. I think the bottom line is that we all deserve a second chance. Whether your marriage has failed or whether you are happily together and you just dropped the ball on Mother’s Day (which I have been known to do), you can live life like the guy who gets angry at every shot or you can treat it like a relaxing time with friends where you get to be outside and chat about whatever.
Everyone deserves a Mulligan.
By: Craig Robertson