I grabbed one of the sports magazine at the hotel where I am settled . I'm reading about some of the most famous golfers while relaxing and sipping a hot cup of aromatic mango tea from Johor Bahru, I've come across an article of Robert Tyre Jones Jr. also known as "Bobby Jones". Bobby's most famous achievements are being the most successful amateur golfer to compete in international and national level. And he also helped design the Augusta National Golf Club and co-founded the famous annual Masters Tournament. One of his most insightful quotes is, "Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots - but you have to play the ball where it lies. "
Today is our last day here in Singapore. It has been a delightful 4-day of leisure and a bad week to our wallets. But all of these are epic and priceless. It has been a great adventure for a 3 in 1 tri-city tour. Traversing Singapore, Johor and Batam is a very indulging and immersing experience. We've managed to visit and witness the great taste of a cultural melting pot that is Singapore, the gastronomic delight and mouth watering Indonesian food and the Malaysian gentle and rich arts heritage.
This is my second time in Singapore but it is still mesmerizing yet uncanny. But there is a new and funny yet embarrassing experience here in Singapore. It is when I crashed, slid down and fell on the concrete while attempting to get a good shot of the view. I was laughing because of my clumsiness and at the same time so very ashamed because of what had happened. Having a few wounds and bruises as my souvenirs. But as I looked at my camera. Alas! "A good shot from a bad break." I've taken a great photo after that fall. I was smiling while having a bloody arm and limping towards my brother. And shouting, IT WAS WORTH IT! If I didn't play the ball where it lies, i shouldn't have gotten the shot. A true testament of what Bobby Jones has told with a little bit of pain.
They say that life is a game that everyone is playing for a while now, but still no one can figure out how to play it right. But the moment I read how Bobby looks at life, it enlightened me. His thought of life is simple. That life is an irony but that's the fun part in it. What matters is what you do and how you patiently pursue your goal from that point forward.
For us to better understand, we have to put life side by side with the game closest to it, golf. Why golf you ask? Well, because golf is all about focus and concentration. As Paul Azinger said, “Staying in the present is the key to the golfer's game: Once you start thinking about a shot you just messed up. You're lost”. So, eyes on the ball. And stay on the present. Golf is a competitive game same as life but unlike any other sport, it is a game played not against your opponent but against yourself, against the odds, against the terrain, against the weather and against the game itself.
When I was a lad, my father brought me to a golf course to see how he performs his job as a photographer. But back then I really didn't care about all that. All I saw was, the view is very huge, green and nice, the people appears to be so quiet then in an instant becomes so wild, and of course our room and the *free (oh so i thought) food . The amazing refrigerator in my hotel is filled with food!
Adding to the experience is when I'm playing with some of the clubs, a bald guy approaches me and talks to me on how to play golf. He told me a lot. But the best part is when he told that to have the best game, you have to pick the right club and to hit the perfect drive. He also explained to me that a drive is the first shot I take to go for the hole. And that those persons whose names are written on the wall (the hole-in-one board) have no other things in mind other than to sink the ball with just one swing. He added that, the person with less things in mind gets the better shot. That was very informative but then again, I was a kid then with no intention of playing golf. I was just playing with those long metal sticks as if they were swords. Golf is really a simple game in concept. You just have to sink a small ball in a hole in the least number of swings. Same as life, you just have to experience, learn and enjoy more as fast as you can. And to do this you have to clear your mind from other distractions and only think about your goal. Learn the irony and the tendencies of the game. And know that mostly you get bad breaks out of good shots and good breaks out of bad shots. In short, expect the unexpected. At the end it, is not about how far are you in the lead of your fellow players or how far behind are you. What really matters are, how focused are you to reach your goal and how much you enjoy and what you've learned while playing against yourself as your worst and best adversary.
No wonder how an amateur in the game of golf became better than some of the pros at his time. Bobby looks at golf in a different angle than how we usually see it. This just proves that golf is not just a game it is a way of life. And here we are left with two questions, Are we willing to play the ball where it lies and to do our best from this point forward? And are you winning against life or does your adversary have the upper hand? If it does, learn to think less, think back, reassess and focus more on your goal for you to hit perfectly and build the swing of a lifetime.