After 4 cervical spine surgeries and 1 hand surgery in 15 months, I’ve finally (hopefully) gotten over the hump and am on the other side of recovery.
Eleven weeks after my last surgery, yesterday I made my return to the links at the incredible McArthur Golf Club in Hobe Sound, FL.
McArthur is one of the finest golf courses in Florida and considered by many to be THE best golf course in Florida.
After laying on the couch and not playing a round of golf since August, I was cleared by my neuro-surgeon to give it a go.
My warm up on the range was the first time hitting balls in over 4 months, so I had no idea what to expect. But, then again, I’ve never been one to steer away from a challenge.
The member that hosted me at the club was aware of my condition and asked me to play a few sets of tees up with him on the 7,200+ yard course, but that’s just not my style. So, I made the long hike back to the “Black” tees on the opening 415-yard par 4.
I could sense the hesitation in my host’s voice as he wondered aloud, “why I would torture myself by playing the back tees after all I had been through.”
But for me, there was never a doubt.
I stepped up, striped it down the middle and had only 135 left which I wedged to about 20 feet and rolled in the birdie putt.
Opening with a birdie after all this time off and still being in the middle of physical therapy (which I’ll be doing for the next 2 years!!) on such a spectacular golf course, well, I couldn’t help but crack a warm smile as I soaked in the South Florida sunshine. Sometimes golf can be more rewarding than words can explain and this was one of those times.
But I was afraid this brief moment of glory was about to be short lived as I looked at the next hole – McArthur’s fourth hardest hole at 450 yards and significantly uphill on the approach.
Once again, I walked all the way back to the back tees. The guys I was playing with were slightly less hesitant to watch me march to my demise this time around, but not by much.
Without hesitation, I stepped up and uncorked a 320-yard drive (slightly downwind) and only had a sand wedge into the green! Not bad for an old, crippled guy!
The front nine continued with me hitting shots of the quality that I haven’t seen since before my accident in June 2011. I finished at 1 over par 37 on the front playing from the tips.
After that, I had to sit out for a few holes because of fatigue. I had been forced to lay on the couch for a total of 8 months to recover, and I discovered this does not help your endurance!
I was exhausted but happy that I had hit so many great shots on the front after such a long hiatus. For the rest of the holes on the back nine, I played from the up tees with my playing partners and finished a few over on the back nine with what little energy I could muster.
All in all, it was a great day at a great golf course with great weather and great people.
I was excited to see that even after a year and a half lay off that my RST fundamentals not only didn’t let me down, but far exceeded my expectations.
While I hadn’t been able to practice by hitting balls after my surgery, I was able to continue to work on my swing in front of a mirror in the house in slow motion just like you see me talk about in all online golf instruction videos. I spent what little time I did practice in front of the mirror working on my downswing movements, particularly the videos on hip spinning.
During the round, if I didn’t spin my hips, I hit it a mile and dead straight – just how I like it! My gimpy body hitting 300+ yard drives by working on SLOWING my hips down should be proof positive that it’s NOT hip speed that allows you to hit the ball a long ways!
Learning how to synchronize the downswing movements, how to create lag and how to correctly perform the “throw the ball” drill will allow you hit the longest, most effortless shots you’ve ever imagined – no matter your injuries or weaknesses!