"And It Stoned Me..."
No, no no - not CS making the rounds through the abundance of local ganja shops here in Eugene - but taking in all the offerings from last week's Open Championship at venerable Royal Portrush, in Northern Ireland.
Who else to help us decipher those tidings than Belfast's own, Van Morrison. You know the routine, friends: click above, close your eyes for a few short moments (VM demo-ing above), listen (what a gift that is - or do you take that for granted as well, as with so many other things?), then come back this way for some ideas and insight that can help you better navigate the oft-tricky paths on the links, and in life...
"And it stoned me to my soul
Stoned me just like Jelly Roll
And it stoned me
And it stoned me to my soul
Stoned me just like goin' home
And it stoned me"
Champion Golfer of the Year Shane Lowry stoned the rest of the field on his way to hoisting the Claret Jug. The man with the "Jelly Roll" midsection made this gathering of elites look like a bunch of, well, stoners - especially after his 63 on Saturday.
And Lowry gave credit where credit is due, to all those humans in his life who contributed to his success. Do you? Too many of my coaching brethren bask in the limelight when a student wins an event, or plays well (but where are they hiding when they play poorly?). Posting for impressionable eyes and ears at each and every opp. Plastering left and right for the purposes of impressing the masses, fattening the wallet, and stroking the attention-seeking ego.
Morrison's shout out in these lyrics is to one Jelly Roll Morton, whose recordings he listened to when he was a boy with his father. Who dat, you may ask? Why, the writer of the very first Jazz tune, "Jelly Roll Blues." Click above, or below, for a listen - and remember to give thanks to those in your golfing (and daily sidewalks) life who have inspired, and walked beside you, through thick and thin.
Keep in mind: some people come into your life as blessings, others as lessons.
Stoned him to his soul, undoubtedly, winning on his native isle. Just like goin' home. Although Lowry hails originally from a bit farther south, seems the whole nation united (and celebrated) his victory. Hmm... in a country (the good 'ole US of A - where so many Irish immigrated to, luckily, back in the day) becoming more and more divided, the power of sport once again brings us together.
Last I checked, the golf ball, the links underfoot, and the almighty golf Gods don't care where you come from, what color your skin is, or what deity you praise. Equanimity at its best.
Hence the question begets: what's going to bring your game together? Take you to the next level? And - what is 'stoning' you from getting there? You know - the inherent weaknesses in your game (or life)? Insecurities. Fears. 'Curses?' Is there a certain club, shot or situation that jumps up like a mischievous leprechaun, and consistently bites you in the arse? Is it not time to address it?
You have choices, boys & girls: stay in your comfort and handicap/index zone, where nothing grows, evolves or improves - or take a leap of well-intentioned and guided faith to the promised land of betterment?
Word around my campfire (mine burns far and wide, BTW) is that Mr. Lowry chips and pitches it as good as anyone... You? Oh, I know it's not as downright sexy as 'sending it' as far as possible off the tee, but when you can stone it to kick in range from around the dance floor, those numbers on your scorecard begin to shrink.
Plus: do you need superhuman-like strength, mobility, stability and range of motion to become proficient with the partial shots? I think not. Some direction & feedback with your technique. Some creativity & imagination. Some quality & smarts in your practice regime (Train2Trust).
Integrate those pieces, and you'll find some flow with such shots - maybe even an "other dimension," as V. Morrison did when writing this song...
"Oh, the water
Oh, the water
Oh, the water
Get it myself from the mountain stream"
Morrison, in 1985, related the song to a quasi-mystical experience he had as a child:
"I suppose I was about twelve years old. We used to go to a place called Ballystockart to fish. We stopped in the village on the way up to this place and I went to this little stone house, and there was an old man there with dark weather-beaten skin, and we asked him if he had any water. He gave us some water which he said he'd got from the stream. We drank some and everything seemed to stop for me. Time stood still. For five minutes everything was really quiet and I was in this 'other dimension.' That's what the song is about."
Wacky water you claim? Sick old man? Time standing still - really? I know, you're too damn busy with the seemingly important in your existence to ponder such cockamamie, huh? You don't have time. I understand. Just as one Stephen Hawking understood the realities of time standing still...
"To understand this mind-boggling idea, consider a black hole floating in space. A typical black hole is a star so massive that it has collapsed in on itself. It’s so massive that not even light can escape its gravity, which is why it’s almost perfectly black. It’s gravitational pull is so powerful, it warps and distorts not only light but also time. To see how, imagine a clock is being sucked into it. As the clock gets closer and closer to the black hole, it begins to get slower and slower. Time itself begins to slow down. Now imagine the clock as it enters the black hole — well, assuming of course that it could withstand the extreme gravitational forces– it would actually stop. It stops not because it is broken, but because inside the black hole time itself doesn’t exist. And that’s exactly what happened at the start of the universe."
Ah, the sheer power of water, and not solely from a hydration standpoint... Time standing still - like when you are engaged in something (varied, intriguing and effective golf practice, for example) you are passionate and intently interested in. Time flies, distractions dissipate, focus sharpens. And the quiet..
Then there's the diametric opposite: like when one of our self-anointed golf gurus stones you into rote, repetitive and artificial practice regimes. Sending a ball into a drive-in movie screen. Letting you have do-overs (there's that comfort zone again). Fluffing each and every ball onto a perfect lie. Why, you could be stoned and perform quite well in these scenarios.
And what about the noise in your head from that overload of info, #'s and data?
Nature's Golf Park
As Morrison biographer Ritchie York described it, the song remembered "how it was when you were a kid and just got stoned from nature and you didn't need anything else."
Wow, what a concept: stoned from nature. Unbeknownst to you, it happens each and every time you set foot into the golf park - haven't you noticed? Perhaps you're preoccupied with swing concepts (practice time is over, it's time to play) or that final tally on the scorecard (can you have a goal and do your best, w/o being attached to the result?).
Stop. Take a look around, a breath in, touch something (the turf underfoot, a tree or plant) other than your dumbphone for a change.
Bandon Dunes (image above) owner and longtime friend Mike Keiser noticed some time ago, and has created a myriad of mystical walks all over the globe that will stone you, fo sho. Click on the pic above to read a fantastic piece on Mike and his vision that has come to life, from Golf Digest.
I'm here to help in your 'stoning' process, fellow golfers. How best for you to swing a club, and play the game. How to use your precious practice time more effectively. How to enjoy the experience we call "golf" more completely.
Train2Trust guided practice sessions in July, 2019:
Saturday, July 27, 10:00 - 11:30 AM
Plus: individual and small group guidance at Eugene Country Club, or a facility near you.
"May the roof above us never fall in.
And may the friends gathered below it never fall out"
-- Irish blessing
~ CS ~