I might be the worst golfer ever. So, when someone asks me if I play, my answer is, “Sort of. I play once or twice per year, whether I need to or not. After all, it’s a game I don’t understand. I always get the highest score, but for some reason, they say I haven’t won.”
But last week, I gained some new insight into an old game.
I got up early one day and drove to Hill Air Force Base to play in the Coldwell Banker Foundation fundraiser with some friends. They invited me to come, and while I knew I would add no value to their team score, I knew I would enjoy their company and help raise money to assist others. The event was organized in a scramble format.
A scramble format allows four players to play as a team. Each player hits from the tee and then each player hits their next shot from the position of the best ball and so on, until the team’s ball goes into the cup on the green. It’s an interesting take on a game that is individual in nature, while teaching some valuable lessons:
Individuals are encouraged to play their best.
The round of golf is sped up.
It takes advantage of individual expertise.
Players collaborate and learn from each other.
When I’m playing in a scramble format, I try much harder to play my best. I feel a different motivation from when I’m playing as an individual. I don’t want to let my team down so I stay focused the entire round. While playing on my own, I begin to lose interest after five or six holes because I can see that the course is designed to defeat me. Because others on my team make a better shot than I do, I feel hopeful and want to contribute to the success of the whole.
As we succeed as a team, our focus is to move forward from success to success, and our progress through the course is faster than it otherwise would be. I don’t get as discouraged or lost in the weeds looking for my errant balls as I would on my own. My friends keep me motivated toward winning, shot after shot.
As a result, I enjoy the advantage of the individual expertise of my teammates. I’ve found that each one of us have special skills in each aspect of the game. One may be a great putter. One may be skilled at driving. Another may be able to hit out of the rough well. And, I get to stand right there as they evaluate and hit.
Therefore, I learn more about each part of the game. Player collaboration allows me to ask questions so I can understand the how and why of each situation. Members of my team have taught me things I never would have considered individually. It’s a great way to learn and teach. Perhaps the scramble format is simply a better way to play golf, as well as to live our lives off the golf course.
I might be the worst golfer ever. But when someone asks me if I play my new answer is, “Sort of. I play once or twice per year, if I can play in a scramble format. After all, that makes it a game where I am encouraged to play my best, quickly learn from the expertise of my teammates and collaborate so I can become better.”
Perhaps my brain is a scramble, but last week I gained some new insight as to a better way to approach living life.
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.