by Jay Reynolds
Jay Reynolds here, newly reinstated amateur golfer and Jedi-in-training!
I just finished up my first tournament back as an official reinstated amateur: The Austin Men’s City Championship. A 72-hole test over four different courses, with 155 players vying for the crown as Austin’s champion golfer of the year.
The last time I played the Men’s City was 11 years ago, in 2003. I played well but lost in a playoff to Michael Cooper. So of course I wanted to win this time around. But the game had different ideas…
I spent the first 45 holes dancing with The Dark Side and playing a type of army golf I hadn’t experienced in quite a while. I forgot how quickly dark thoughts of toasters and bathtubs can crop up. Which at the time, seemed like more fun than chipping out of the trees on every other hole. Golf is supposed to be fun, right? I can attest that it wasn’t much fun being six over par for the tournament as I made the turn at Grey Rock in the third round.
I had to stop and remind myself that it had been two full years since I last played an actual tournament, and maybe more than three years since I played one that spanned 72 holes. “Patience you must have,” That’s what Yoda would have said, I think.
So I decided two things: 1. swing harder and 2. keep fighting. The score was just the score and I had to quit worrying (even though we all know that’s impossible).
Low and behold, when I ripped a 320 yard drive down the middle of the fairway on #10 at Grey Rock, I felt things might just turn around.
I came home in 33 strokes that day, then followed it up with a solid 68 in the final round at Kizer – which got me proudly back to even par for the tournament and also squeaked me into the top 10.
It was an adventurous first week back, and as much frustration as there was, there is nothing quite like the fight of tournament golf. I’m about as level headed as they come, but my goodness I completely forgot the incredible range of emotions you can experience in 4 hours (kudos to the tournament committee for playing threesomes!).
There was my first tee shot of my newfound amateur career at Morris Williams: a driver that was closer to 18 fairway than the one in which I was aiming. My tail firmly between my legs, I trudged off to do the only thing we can do after a bad shot: find it and hit it again.
There was the chip in for birdie on #15 at Grey Rock after flubbing a 50 yard pitch shot that made me remember that even a blind accord finds a squirrel once in a while.
Then the 7 foot birdie putt on #17 at Kizer to actually reach red numbers for the tournament – which just 26 holes earlier felt not just unlikely, but bordering on impossible.
My lesson that I take away from the week is this: there’s nothing quite like the inner turmoil tournament golf can manifest.
I think Master Yoda had some good advice for all of us: “Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”
That’s what i’ll be working on.
I have a lot of work to do and I look forward to all the pleasure and pain that will undoubtably come with every tournament I play for a long time to come. But more importably, thank goodness Peach wash’t playing. He would have probably beat me and that might have been more embarrassment that I could handle!
Until next time…May the force be with you and if you want to follow Peach at The British Senior Amateur, here’s the link: CLICK HERE. The first round is Wednesday Aug 6th!