Over a quarter century ago I tried playing golf, but was too close to my Division I competitive decompression to appreciate what the game had to offer. I engaged my personal pause button on the game and said I’d pick it up when I was 50. Little did I know two things back then. First, how fast 25 years would fly by and second, that golf would be a new channel for me to discover self, enjoy time with my husband and friends and even be an asset for business.
In much of the literature I’ve been absorbing about cancer after care, authors advise cancer survivors to take up something new after treatment. As you are not the same person you were before cancer, coming out the other side gives you the opportunity to redefine yourself and explore aspects of self that have been latent and waiting for discovery. It was a text from a colleague the evening before a golf outing asking me if I wanted to join the foursome that flipped my “golf on” switch. I had been wondering how to navigate my swing after breast reconstruction, especially with the pectorals muscle repositioning. Grabbing my husband’s clubs and swatting at the dandelion heads in the neighbor’s yard, (after a few tips from him) led me to believe I could indeed golf. I accepted the invitation and enjoyed an erratic and memorable round of scramble with a borrowed set of clubs. I was scratched with golf fever.
As timing would have it, a moment of opportunity came shortly after this foray at the St. Vincent de Paul golf outing dinner where I found myself the high bidder of a set of new irons donated by Tour Edge in Batavia. Reading the certificate, the set came with a custom fitting, swing analysis and tour of their headquarters. Jumping right on the opportunity, I emailed the contact on the award letter and set up my appointment for custom fitting and analysis that same week. The Tour Edge facility is tucked away in the eastern edge of Batavia’s industrial park and the sight of it would make any golfer start palpitating.
After swinging the club a few times for the camera (and slicing quite nicely I might add) and being measured, it was determined I was a ladies long. My grip was selected as well as the types of clubs I’d need. Opting to trade in my lower clubs for a 4 hybrid, and adding in a driver, my new starter set was ordered.
A couple weeks later, my new clubs were ready to pick up and while conversing with Joe Svitak (photo on left), he learned about my non-profit and offered to make me a custom putter with the Breast Cancer MyStory logo embedded in it. “This just keeps getting better,” I thought. Reflecting on my new sport there are so many upsides – ladies restrooms with no lines, a cart that drives around and brings you beverages, locker rooms with lots of elbow room and a ladies tee closer to the pin. On the flip side, golfing does come with a few challenges: learning the rules, playing by the rules, keeping your head down and trying not to get frustrated. I’m learning to dance when I crack a good drive, celebrate with a simple chip and be passionate about putting. It’s amazing how few good shots it takes a golfer to keep coming back. Yes, I’ve found a new sense of self and it fits quite well thank you.