Along with death and taxes, there is one other thing that is an absolute certainty in life and that is change.
Once upon a time, I was quite a keen golfer. Nothing brilliant, but respectable. On a good day I could get around in the low eighties, on a bad day I might drift into three figures, and probably a pint or two afterwards to ease the pain.
In recent years I don’t play so much, partly due to diminishing eyesight, also to do with my new found love of learning how to play several musical instruments (current count is four, classical guitar, piano, harmonica and clarinet). One man bands on Grafton Street beware, you will shortly have competition.
Until recently my golf clubs were happily gathering dust in my hallway. Then I accepted an offer to play in an Ireland v U.K. match with some friends that I hadn’t seen for a while.
It seemed like a good idea at the time, weekend away, bit of golf, nice hotel, catching up with old friends.
Then I went for a practice round with three of the Irish team and discovered not only how poor my golf was but also how dependent I was when it came to getting around the golf course. All had changed, changed utterly.
Now the whole idea of wrapping an iron rod, otherwise known as a golf club, around the back of your head and then somehow expecting this rod to unwind downwards towards the ground and impact with a small white spherical object, otherwise known as a golf ball, at a very precise angle is something that does seem to be a little nonsensical.
However, it is something that can make a person very rich if you happen to become very good at it. Apparently it is also something that can turn a happily married man into a serial womaniser but that’s another story.
In short my practice round was close to embarrassing. Shots went in directions that I didn’t know existed. Where exactly is east of oblivion anyway? On top of all that spraying of golf balls to various dark corners of the solar system was the dependency thing.
I have become accustomed to increased dependence as my tunnel vision eyesight has steadily deteriorated over the years. I keep wondering what exactly that light of the end of the tunnel actually is. Maybe it really is an oncoming train after all.
What I had not become accustomed to was the high level of dependency on the golf course that I experienced that day.
On the rare occasions that I play these days it is usually with Irish Blind Golf and I have a fully sighted guide to assist me.
This time I did not have my own guide and it showed. Many things became issues; the low sun which reduced my sight even further, overhanging trees and bushes which threatened my curly locks not to mention my besieged brain, low ropes protecting wet areas of the course became trip hazards, even just re-finding my golf bag when walking from a green was an issue. My playing partners were great but it was an eye opener, in a manner of speaking.
The Ireland v U.K. match was played in The Belfry, a famous Ryder Cup venue near Birmingham. It was great to catch up with some old friends and nice to play some historic golf holes.
The Belfry is a very impressive golf venue. The hotel is nice but has a strange sprawling design akin to a maze. Getting back to my room at the end of the night and then to the breakfast room in the morning was not a straight forward operation. I was grateful to my roommate for his assistance at these times. I was not so appreciative of him when it came to sleep time and some strange noises could be heard from his side of the room. I can say without fear of contradiction that sleeping in a hotel corridor is uncomfortable. It would appear that it is also not allowed.
For the record the match was drawn 6-6, with the Irish team retaining the bragging rights as we were defending champions. I assisted in one of the winning points and played a little better than expected, mainly thanks to a golf lesson I received a few days before departure.
The moral of the story? Life, to a large degree, is an exercise in change and adjustment. Every single thing around us is in a constant state of change; the weather, our bank balance, our bodies. I just happen to be very slowly going blind. One of the adjustments I appear to be making is to replace my golf clubs with my musical instruments.
Now where did I leave that piano?