In many parts of the world, the winter months can be dreary. The days creep shorter, the temperature drops colder, and the grass turns brown. It’s as if all the growth and vibrancy of the year comes to a complete halt. It forces us into our winter cocoons of hot cocoa and Christmas cookies.
For a golfer, the cold weather, the shorter days, and the brown grass aren’t exactly ideal - or so you would think.
Just like Mother Nature, professional golf comes to the same screeching stop. The Symetra Tour finishes its season at the end of October and doesn’t start back up until the end of February. The LPGA Tour wraps up at the end of November and starts back up at the end of January. The one exception to this rule is the wrap-around season on the PGA Tour.
So, when my final putt dropped at Stage II of Q School at the end of October, I had a long break ahead of me, one I knew I needed for various reasons. However, I questioned whether it would drag on too long. Just like the dormant grass, I was ready for a little nap. My first year on Tour tested my endurance mentally and physically. I wanted some rest, but also didn’t want the winter days to waste away.
Many people asked me how I would use my off time. That’s a question I asked myself. A nine-hour drive from Jupiter, FL to Charlotte, NC gave me enough time to create a rough plan.
I broke it down into five segments. Three “R’s” and a “W”. Rest. Reflect. Read. Write.
Rest. Towards the end of the season, I noticed my body starting to feel tired. Before Stage 2 of Q-School, I popped a rib out of place in my back. That was a big enough sign to me that I needed to start my off-season with some quality rest. My mind needed a break. I was tired of going to bed thinking about how I can play that hole better in the morning or how fixing a certain part of my swing would unlock perfect ball striking. I wanted to recharge my body, mind and fill my spirit with the joy of the season that was ahead.
That sounds simple, but it was an adjustment for a girl that is used to watching sunrise walking out of the gym and chasing sunsets on the links. I spent time with my family, fiancé, and friends. I took long walks and spent more time stretching. I got lost in making all the home-cooked meals I had missed while I was on the road. Somewhere in between all these activities, I got engaged.
It didn’t take long before I realized I was well-rested and fully energized again. In all the time of rest and filling my days with things I love, I freed my mind to reflect on the whirlwind season that I had just finished.
Reflect. During the chaos of the constant on-the-go lifestyle on Tour, it’s hard to realize what’s going on while you’re in the middle of it. It was my first crack at it, and I was just going. Going from one airport to the next, one hotel to the next, one course to the next, and one Chick Fil A to the next. Once sitting still, I could finally reflect. I thought back on the things I learned, some things I would change, and what I could improve on for the following year. I’m excited to share all of these.
Read. Reading is one of my favorite things to do. I love to learn, find inspiration, and hear other people’s stories. It’s how I prefer to start my day. So, that’s just what I did. I read different books about golf, life, writing, and the pursuit of excellence. I read Golf is a Game of Confidence by Bob Rotella, Golf and Life by Jack Nicklaus, On Writing by Stephen King, and Atomic Habits by James Clear just to name a few. I’m thankful for the way words can inspire and educate. The way we can have a conversation with someone without speaking a word. Maybe that’s why I’ve become so drawn to writing.
Write. If you took a field trip through my brain, you’d wonder how these words end up on the page. I’m usually surprised too. But that’s the beauty I’ve found in writing. When my mind is blurry and there are too many thoughts to even know what I’m thinking, writing makes everything clear. Beyond that, it’s my connection with all of you.
Throughout my journey, I’ve questioned the selfishness of the pursuit. I’m often practicing alone to improve my own skills. The only name reflecting on my performance is mine. It doesn’t give credit to the team, sponsors, and support I have behind me. In the airports, on the empty highway, in the hotel room... it’s just me. That is until I write to all of you. It’s my hope that this journey inspires, educates, and in some way helps others in their personal pursuits. So, it was my goal in the off-season to write more and dig a little deeper into this interest. As a result, you can expect more writing to come throughout the season.
Two months of three “R’s” and a “W” resulted in one more “R”:
Recharged. I now am energized, excited, and very optimistic for the upcoming 2022 season. The reason grass goes dormant in the winter is to conserve water, nutrients, and energy for survival. All to make sure it is ready to thrive in the warmer months. I’d like to think my two months of dormancy have done the same. Maybe, every once in a while, we need to follow the season. Who knows how green the grass could be on the other side.