by Peter Fibiger
Among a number of friends and acquaintances of a vintage similar to mine are several who steadfastly refuse to, as we say here in Canada, “hang up their skates.”
Ever since it began to occupy a certain amount of my consideration some several years back, retirement has often led to discussions that included golf; discussions that would inevitably lead to one or more of their participants sagely uttering the observation that “‘You can only play so much golf.”
My current schedule has me on the golf course twice to three times a week, and I freely admit that much more than that would likely stretch my ability to maintain the great pleasure I take from the game.
Moreover, the threat to marital accord by a divorce lawyer hovering over the unsuspecting quarry of my bank account is surely more than either the marriage or its fragile monetary resources could endure, were I to stretch those three weekly rounds to four or more. But that’s another matter.
So, back to those for whom retirement seems somehow to be an impossible consideration.
What is it, I wonder, that seemingly won’t let them embrace the joy of abandoning obedience to self-imposed and unnecessary responsibility? Perhaps they see it as capitulation to the inevitable approach of life’s sunset, as though it were avoidable. Or maybe they fear the very notion of having to wrestle with filling up the hours of what they see as otherwise empty days ahead.
Whatever the case, in their refusal to accept the freedom afforded by a more unscheduled life, they are, in my always contestable opinion, short-changing themselves on the value of the days remaining to them.
Today happens to be Monday. I don’t golf on Mondays. Instead, I wake up and as awareness of the day seeps across my slowly stirring mind, I am filled with that same comfort and ease that Saturday mornings delivered throughout my school years.
By my current schedule, Wednesday and Sunday mornings provide an equal serenity uninvaded by those jolting thoughts of the day’s impending commitments. That absence of angst is like medicine for the soul.
None of this is to say that I live in a perpetual state of unassailable serenity. The truth of that gets driven home as I come awake on those days that a tee time beckons, and on those evenings that I tussle with recalling every errant shot from the day behind me, and how I might have turned each one into a masterpiece, but for a dropped right shoulder, a more carefully read putt, another practice swing, more deliberate concentration, a flatter backswing, a brief stop at the top, better tempo, a straighter left arm…and on, and on.
I know you know what I mean.
This conundrum we call golf, despite its many demands and frustrations, is still rife with rewards for me. The open air carrying sweet aromas of cut grass, the stunningly magnificent views, deer and their fawns lazily feeding on tall grasses, the satisfaction of comfortable exhaustion from a long walk, and the delight of the occasional birdie; all this and much more has me willingly abandoning my bed on those mornings when the starter calls.
Still and all, though I might agree that you can only play so much golf, none of that is to say that I’d be scouring the help wanted ads just now if I’d never picked up a golf club.
Peter Fibiger served on the PNGA Board of Directors for 18 years, including 12 years on the Executive Committee and more than a decade as the PNGA Communications Committee Chairman. He also served as PNGA President from 2018-2021. He lives in Victoria, B.C., and he’ll tell a few tales over a Guinness. Click here to read the full article on Peter’s impact on the PNGA and the golf community.