A day to remember. Yes, my first visit to a golf course since the loss of my sight in January 2008!. Another barrier crossed, another critical step taken in moving forward. This memorable outing will further boost and enhance my confidence in getting myself back into socialising, networking and back into circulation, so to speak!
My dear wife, Hong, had to tag along as my caddie/coach, whilst too, guiding me along as I walked and played the 5 out of the 9 holes that I had planned for before the first teei off. The sun and the heat were starting to affect both of us. It must have been the lack of exercises of late that could possibily explained why we felt exhausted after walking the 5 holes, Poor Hong had to lug the half set of golf clubs as I played the 5 holes,
Stepping on and standing on the 1st hole Tee box was so much different from standing in the driving range Tee box. At the golf course, I could sense the wide open space around me unlike the driving range where I experienced the phobia feeling of being hit by UFOs (unidentified flying objects), as I could hear golfers hitting the balls nearby. In this case, balls all over the driving range.
A brief Q & A, to get my bearings, mental mapping image layout of the hole, distance and the obstacles from the Tee box to the greens. Holding a firm golf grip on the driver and a couple of practice swings, I was then ready to 'officially' drive the first ball into the world of darkness. The excitement and inexperience of playing blind golf resulted in me topping the ball and pulling it to the left and the ball rolled onto the rough patch! It was frustrating and I stood on the Tee box for some moments to reflect why and how it happened, disgusted with myself for a poor start. Hong, did not managed to follow and keep track on the ball as it rolled into the rough hedge.. So, 'officially', I had a lost ball to start off. What a start to my first ever blind golf game! Much to my delight, the next several shots, I learned to relax, enjoy the game and I could feel my game slowly creeping back over the next few holes, notwithstanding some inevitable 'airshots'. Chipping and Putting were other challenges which I had to tackle and much more practice needed. Putting into the hole proved to be quite a challenge as I had to know and gauge the putting distance and the hole position, also taking into consideration the varying gradient on the greens. In order for me to putt into the hole after having made the decision to putt the ball into the hole, Hong had to move the pin within the hole to create some noise, enabling me to focus the hearing to locate the hole position.
It was a good start in relearning and regaining the confidence in the game of golf, despite that it will be blind golf for me from now onwards. Well, I shall have to walk several more rounds at the golf course before next week's first blind golf event to be played at the Bukit Jalil Golf course which I am participating together with some Hong Kong blind friends.
More challenging times ahead!