There was a great moment in this past weekend’s final round of The Masters golf tournament when Australian phenom, Jason Day, holed a sandshot for eagle and American, Matt Kucher, who was paired with him, gave him a big high five.
Having been an avid golfer at one time I have often thought about the many similarities between golf and creative writing. While obviously in competition with one another, there is also a certain brotherhood that golfers enjoy (even the pros), a “we’re in this together” type of sensibility that is not quite the case with other sports. The reason for this is pretty simple: the real competition that a golfer faces is not the other golfers in the tournament. It’s the course itself.
Hitting a golf ball with any degree of accuracy is a very difficult thing to do, but at the professional level it’s not physical talent that makes or breaks a player. It’s the ability to win the war in one’s heart and mind, the ability to manifest intention into reality, to completely relax in the face of enormous pressure, and to somehow achieve victory with zen-like indifference.
Like golfers, we writers also engage in a daily struggle against a faceless foe that pushes both our minds and our emotional stamina to the limit. And like golfers, we still must find ways to overcome errant shots, adapt to unfavorable lies, regain our focus after egregious mental mistakes, and most of all, press on without losing our confidence.
Masters champions are not made overnight, and neither are great writers. It’s only through hard work, determination, mental fortitude, and a tremendous passion for our chosen craft that we can wake up each day, take another swing at the flagstick, and triumph over the course.