Gerry helped me appreciate that it is actually not only okay to outwardly take some pleasure from the good shots, it is important that you do so. I had always been one of those guys who acted like a good shot was nothing to get excited about, because I felt I was supposed to hit good shots. I had somehow convinced myself that outwardly enjoying or savouring a good shot was somehow uncool, or in bad taste; that it was being arrogant, or conceited. But Gerry taught me that it was really okay to savour the experience of a good shot or a good round, and really let it soak in. In fact, he taught me that not to do so, means you are missing out on the joy of the game.
I haven't really been wired that way. I have been a guy who preferried to think about the putts I missed, or the shot I hooked out of bounds, instead of the good shots I hit. In retrospect, I really should have paid more attention to Gerry, who could shoot 100, hit a bunch of wicked slices and duffs, but, over a post-round beer, only seem to remember and want to talk about the pure seven iron he hit on number thirteen. It took me a while to figure out that Gerry's approach was the way to really enjoy the game of golf. For Gerry, this came naturally. He was simply being himself. For me, a guy who has traditionally been a glass-half-empty kind of a guy, this approach has had to be learned.
Instead of moaning about the short putts I missed, I want to be immodest enough to talk about the great seven iron I hit, like Gerry. I always loved to hear Gerry recount his great shots. I shared his enthusiasm and his joy. It was infectious. So, from now on, those who don't want to hear about a good shot I hit probably shouldn't ask me how I played, because I intend to try to become more like Gerry and have a selectively good memory when it comes to my game.
I'm going to try never again to whine about the three footer I missed, preferring instead to talk about the twenty or thirty footer I made. That isn't being immodest, or a braggart. In fact, it is whining about shots missed that is really being immodest. Everyone misses three footers, so who am I to whine about missing one? Do I think I'm too good to miss a three footer? If I talk about anything, from now on I hope it will be that great drive I hit, or the chip in on sixteen. I want to be a glass-half-full guy.
Instead of saying, "I would have shot 75, but I missed three short putts," I'm going to happily say, "I would have shot 80, but I chipped one in on seventeen." It's the same round, but from a different perspective. To stress the chip in that prevented an 80, or 100, instead of the missed putts that prevented a 75, or 95, isn't just being modest. It's being real, and it's being positive, and it's just the kind of thing Gerry would have said. He was a guy who enjoyed his game every time he teed it up. He wanted to play well, but he was also a realist who managed to really understand what golf is all about; having fun and savouring the memories. Thanks, Big Guy. I sure miss you.