“I don’t know what to do with what I have.” -BG

I still carry around the title of professional golfer. Most people that meet me are surprised to hear that. I’m not sure why I never got my amateur status back but it wouldn’t really matter. I was in the business for a very long time. I worked and failed at a lot of facilities but eventually found my way to good opportunities. With those, came the chance to play at some very exclusive clubs. I’ve played every “top” golf course in the state of Arizona, minus one or two. Even getting to rip it with some veteran tour players. I got to walk 18 and they even allowed me to take divots at the famed Cypress Point Golf Club when we relocated to the Bay Area. I only know few that have had that chance. I practiced a lot, almost every day. One day I looked over and I was hitting balls right next to Hall Of Famer Jerry Rice. I was blessed to practice and play a lot over the last 15 years.

Last night I started a new class and we introduced ourselves. One of the things she wanted in the introduction were some things that you loved to do. Golf wasn’t mentioned in my words, strange, it usually is. Last week my wife pointed out to me that my online picture posts have completely shifted from golf swings to Piper poses. My identity has been altered… completely. I don’t watch golf and couldn’t even tell you what the PGA Tour is going to look like this year or even where the majors are. I see many friends posting pictures from the PGA merchandise show in Florida, right now, and I could care less. I pulled into my garage and see my golf life on the wall; old clubs, flags and scorecards from some great places and I think to myself, “is that over?”

I pull the car back out of the driveway. Two lefts and a right and minutes later I’m driving by my home course, the course by my home. It’s been raining off and on all day, so the course looks immaculate. I take a big deep breath and I still get that feeling. It’s still in there. Thank God. I don’t know what I would do if it was gone. That may sound silly to you.

Now comes the how to navigate playing and practicing while being a student and full time father? I don’t know how. I’m afraid to play on weekends, it leads me to wanting to play more and takes time away from what is important. How do I afford it? I never got that infamous PGA that is so prevalent in all my online identities. PGABILLY? I keep it because it’s ironic, at least to me. So, I have to pay to play now and to practice. I see first hand why I don’t know many golfers here and perhaps why it’s a shrinking sport, shit’s expensive. I know so many professionals that could have helped me out but the funny thing about Golf Pros is that they are a pretty selfish bunch. No offense fellas, but if it doesn’t get you something in return, you are likely to ignore or pass. I made the statement that if you truly love something, “you will figure it out…” Well, I’m having a doozy of a time with this. Most won’t understand when it’s “just golf Billy, calm down.” What if I told you, “you can’t do the thing you love because you don’t have time, can’t afford it and don’t know what path to take it on?” What if I plucked the strings from your guitar, the bristles from your paint brush or the lens from your camera? It is my art, my passion.

I’ve committed to playing in my annual Pro Am with my guys at the end of April. I think I’m going to build a homemade training facility in my back yard. Nothing fancy, just a hitting net, maybe a chipping net or two, some weighted clubs, an impact bag; just enough to keep muscle memory alive and my desire pumping. This isn’t a sad story, just not a normal golf/love story. I will be ready to play…somehow. To Be Continued…

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