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Perfect Day
By Anne Marie Goslak

 

I have had the pleasure of teaching golf more than 20 years. Of the 30,000 students, I loved working with 29,998 of them. Every student is unique and special. They each come with their own story of why they want to play golf, skill set, and dreams their “golfing future”. I have said many times, “New students are like Christmas gifts. You don’t know what you are about to receive, but you are excited about it, none the less.”

“What about the other two students?” you ask? One was just plain mean. He had some serious anger issues. I felt safer the moment he announced he was going elsewhere. The second one was a woman. If I had to compare her to a Christmas gift, she was “socks the crazy aunt sent you”.

At her very first lesson, I asked the usual questions about golf history, injuries, and goals for the future. I like to know what a student is trying to achieve so that I can construct a plan for their success.

She sat, stone faced, with her arms crossed, defiant. “I am only here because HE is making me. I hate golf and I think it’s stupid. Let’s just get thru these 6 excruciating hours over the next month of wastefulness and we’ll call it a day.”

As I probed more, I discovered she was “one of them”. She was a wife of a crazy golfer whose dream in life was to have his wife with him on the course. She had yet to “get it” and was angry he was even asking her to try. For her birthday, he had gotten her 6 lessons with me. When I said, “How nice.” She responded with, “I’d rather be at the spa.”

Despite her attitude, I did my best. She showed improvement from the start. I was single in my excitement. I cheered when she got the ball in the air. I celebrated her first par. I did all I could, but by lesson number 5, I was ready to throw in the towel.

Finally, the last day, I actually saw her smile. For a moment, I thought, “She’s happy to be here!” No… she was just glad this was her last day. She left me with a comment I will never forget. “Why did he even THINK I’d like to join him in the torment that is golf?”

I answered her question with a question. “What would be your perfect day? What combination of things would really make you happy?”

She went on to describe a morning at the spa, followed by lunch at a great Italian place, and terrific conversation with friends or her husband.

I explained to her that some men play golf to get AWAY from their wives. Others want to combine the things they love; golf, the outdoors, AND their wife.

Although she did not get the “golf thing”, I wanted her to leave, knowing what was really going on here. Her husband wanted to experience “the perfect day” which included her. When I looked up to see if I was actually getting thru to her, I saw she was crying. She finally understood and was grateful for the thought behind the “gift”.

Speaking of gifts, I felt badly that she had experienced such torture in the form of a birthday gift. I purchased a gift card from the spa and sent it to her with a note that said, “Thank you for your business. I am sorry lessons were not the gift you were expecting. Hope you enjoy this more.”

Three months later, I received a card in the mail. It was a picture of the couple on a golf course in Hawaii. He had a beer in his hand and his arm wrapped around his wife. The note said, “I played like crap, but enjoyed the course, the beer AND being with my wife. Thanks for the perfect day!”

Shockingly, she came back the following year. This time she purchased lessons for herself. We had a better time. Editor: Can we change that top number to 29,999?

-Anne Marie Goslak