The Quiet Calm

the sensation, pleasure and even the sound of a

well struck shot are well documented… the instant of contact you immediately know

when it’s right, feels right and sounds right….. when you find the sweet spot,

the sensation travels up the shaft into your hands and is then parceled out to all the

pleasure centers available to us as humans…..”aaah laddie,” the old Scot said,

“that’ll bring ya back for more !”


what’s not discussed or written about as much….is the quiet

calm that comes over you when you find yourself, often unexplainably, about/

prepared to play a shot where you feel certain success is just a moment

away…part of the immense happiness I feel when this happens occurs because that annoying voice in my head, my therapist calls it the

“harpie voice “, decides “i think lex is okay on this shot, i think i can clock out.”

the annoying voice (you know the one that is supposedly looking after your

best interest by instructing you what to do and what not to do in deadly serious tone) decides

this particular shot will not require “his” attention…..that he can sit

this one out and so this voice recedes, and so…this adds immeasurably to the quiet and the calm.

i’ve often wondered if this quiet calm can be called up or induced, and i pay very close attention, and i’m fascinated when it occurs.


the tenth hole at the duke university course, a place that i’ve played more rounds than any other golf course in the last forty years,

for whatever reason, the drive looks just right to me from the tee.

it is a challenging shot that gets my attention and requires

precision….there’s plenty of room to the left to start the ball, but a

bunker at 265 at the left edge of the fairway….the right side is

totally tree lined with tall pines…..the tee is slightly elevated so

you can see everything perfectly……i usually hit a solid, quality

drive off of #10….today was no exception, and as i stood over the

ball, i sensed there was plenty of time and absolutely no worries about

where my ball would end up… swing felt free and “oily” without any need to control things or exert any

effort….it flew farther than any drive I hit all day with what felt to

be the most effortless swing of the day….the anticipation to feel and

watch my drive on # 10 was joyful in itself….and even if the ball had

flown off line and been struck off center there would have been some

goodness in the shot. the kind of goodness that is not present when i

play a shot where i am worried, afraid and try to control things by overthinking them….a shot

where my athleticism is blocked by too much thought….where i am stuck

up in my head thinking how to swing…..


“give up control to gain control, there’s no need to force things. just let yourself be.” – george knudsen


as “the boss” claude harmon so aptly said,

“mr. jones i am not certain what you are thinking about standing up there

over the ball……but it couldn’t be good!”


back to the feeling of the quiet calm….it’s not the same feeling you have

laying on the couch or in a hot bath….there’s more presence and focus,

and whereas you feel calm there is energy pursing through your body, an

exhilaration…..the confidence that something positive is about to

happen to you. maybe the closest feeling to this quiet calm is being eighteen

about to take a beautiful girl into your arms…..where confidence

and focus and happiness are all born out of a carefree, abandon of

sorts. where you are not thinking but rather letting go and being

present…anticipation and thrill that a hard slider

into the middle of # 10 can’t match….but they are in the same “family”

somehow to me.


” ye’ll come away from the links with a new hold on life, that is

certain if ye play the game with all your heart, ”  shivas irons



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