I have an interesting relationship with Golf. I love the game but it doesn’t love me back… at least not as yet. My best game shows up unannounced, one brilliant putt here and a fantastic drive there; and almost nothing in between (other than lot of displaced grass on the fairway). I usually keep my score in terms of the golf balls I lost in the water and the woods on the beautiful green golf courses in Indonesia and Malaysia; where I play with my Dad. For now, my short game is better than my long game and this gives me confidence that I can certainly improve in future with more practice.
I have been playing golf infrequently for last 3 years, since we moved to Singapore from Shanghai. Playing golf in Singapore is very expensive, so we go to my favourite staycation spot … the Angsana Bintan which is 60 minutes away by boat and has the Greg Norman designed Laguna golf course. On any long weekend, my Dad and I stay at the resort and play this course about thrice a year. I would have liked to play more often if it weren’t for the pressures of final years of my IB Diploma Program. Unlike how most people may think, Golf is not just another physical or outdoor game but really “a game played between the ears” as my Peddanana (uncle) says. And this mind game part of Golf is incredibly similar to Chess.
I learnt Chess when I was 5 while we lived in Hyderabad. As a child, I never had much patience and couldn’t sit in one place for too long. So, I think that’s why my parents “conspired” to get me a Chess coach. Not only did I learn some patience, but also learnt a lot about Chess during those 2 years. It is truly a mind game, in which one is still for long duration, thinks, plans and executes. Chess teaches the ability to think strategically, consider options and make decisions.
While on the surface, Golf and Chess seem to be very different … as different as chalk and cheese. But dig a little deeper and you start observing more similarities than the visible differences. Both are mind games, both are relaxing if you enjoy them and both usually don’t follow any straight jacketed path. Each has millions of permutations and combinations included in the game before the players reach the final outcome.
So, the ability to play and understand Chess gives me additional thinking power in Golf. I can plan my moves, think of the path that the golf ball should follow before it reaches the green and above all, plan the final putt when I use the drive the golf ball at the pin. Well… the rest as they say is practice and execution.