The small squad crept silently through the trees, their eyes searching the ground. Occasionally they looked around to assure themselves that the others were still there. Only their leader walked in the open, seemingly unconcerned about the dangers surrounding them.
We were golfing with the boss, and he was pretty good.
As the game wore on, we wore down. “Fighting through fatigue is all part of the sport,” our boss told us. Easy for him to say – we had been putting in two miles to each one of his.
The battle raged on. With rebel yells we attacked the beach. Wielding our wedges we struck again and again. Sandy explosions erupted all around us. The boss continued on, silently.
Then came the water. We repeated the mantra that every golfer knows by heart: “There is no water. There is no water.” The mantra became a conviction: the ball would sail safely over the pond. There is no water. There is no water. (Smack. Ploop.) The ball is not in the water. The ball is not in the water.
By the time we finished, three of us were wet, sandy, sweaty, and frustrated. Our boss looked cool as a cucumber, and shot pretty close to par. We lost so badly that we couldn’t even act like we let him win, which of course is a time-honored military tradition.
But our boss was a near par golfer. Par is the Holy Grail of golf, and a paradox. If you shoot a perfect game, you have achieved par (translation: average). If you do better than that, you are below par, or SUB-par. Does that make sense?
Well, not me, mister. I will not be satisfied with mediocrity. I have higher standards. I insist on being ABOVE par.
I set double-bogey as my goal. My boss called it the Bacon Par. (Unfortunately the term eventually became a synonym for “being satisfied with lower standards,” but that’s not important.)
What’s important is that you can use golf as a metaphor for life. Set goals. Attack obstacles and overcome them.
Oh. And use mulligans whenever you can.