Off Season: Sabbaticals from Golf


17 October 2016 (Pasadena, CA) I live in California. For folk in warm weather climates there is no off season with the exception of an occasional rainout. I lived in New York City for 6+ years but was on a 10 year hiatus from the game so I never experienced an off-season. In fact, I cannot even imagine what a 4-6 month layoff from the game would do to me. I read the golf magazines and watch the Golf Channel and note that in colder climates there are indoor ranges and putting greens to hone your game when snow is on the ground; several which are very high tech and allow you to play simulated golf. I have also seen television shows on off-season golf workouts that allow players to  attend to one’s overall health to improve your game. I have also met snowbirds who leave cold weather climates and migrate to Florida and California so that they can play all year round. I get it. We don’t want to step away from the game that means so much to us. But if you do not find yourself with scheduling flexibility that snowbirds and geese exercise during the winter, what are you to do? What are you to make of the mandatory 4-6 month golf sabbatical? If you haven’t gathered by now, I teach at a university and am afforded summers off and every 7 years I get a teaching sabbatical of either a half year or full year. There is a reason for sabbaticals. They allow you to restore yourself, take a step away and THINK or not think about your trade. They are restorative and give fresh perspective. They also allow you to dabble as you see fit to work on your scholarship at your pace. They allow you to step out of the whirlwind. Hence, they are life giving. Is any of this translatable to the mandatory golf sabbatical? Here is how I would superimpose the academic on athletic notions of a break. Restoration…do you need to heal any in-season injuries with rest or rehab? Now is the time to do so. It is also a time to work on strength and flexibility if you are an older player. Get some reps in…find an indoor hitting facility to keep the swing grooved. Enhance…this is an excellent opportunity for you to take professional lessons. Think about your season, what worked? What part of your game needs improvement? Take the season’s issues to a pro. Plan…a golf trip or two at a warm climate golf venue. Work towards a golf travel reward. Think…take time to read a book or two on golf history. Place yourself within the trajectory of the history of the game. Miss…the game you love so much. Come back to it restored and energized for a new season. I look forward to seeing you all back on the course next spring.

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