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>Well, the Kilted one has been in a bit of a slump for a few months here. It’s mostly job related. Got laid off, and I’ve been busy selling my soul to the highest buyer. I’ve been keeping a very positive attitude, but it’s still a drawn out and challenging time in one’s life. I think men have a harder time being laid off, as on an instinctive level we feel like we’re inadequate if we don’t provide for our family. Sure, friends and relatives are all very nice, saying all the right things, but we still feel like sh*t.

As with most everything else that happens in my life, there’s a tie to golf. Several ties, actually.

Firstly, I just haven’t had enough time, energy, and mostly peace of mind to write about golf.

Job hunting in the internet age is almost a 24/7 proposition, and it takes every bit as much of your time as having an actual job. The difference is, you leave a job to come home. You’re never far away from another jobhunting step.

Being out of work is tremendously tiring. On the days when I have an interview I’m just shot for the rest of the day. Science has proven that being out of work is more stressful than ANY job you can have.

Then there’s the peace of mind bit. Writing about golf is a luxury for me, and without having the lower rungs on my hierarchy of mental needs in place I just haven’t been able to get myself to the point where it was even possible for me to put words on paper (figuratively speaking, of course).

I go back to a partial round of golf I played back in 2003. I was deep in the throes of buying a new house, and my buddy was expecting his firstborn any day. We got about as far as 12 holes, and then we had to walk off the course. Our heads just weren’t in the game, and if they’re not 100% on the next shot there’s just no way to either have fun or play well. I remember my dad saying the same thing about a couple of instances where life got in the way of a good round.

I mean, that’s what we love about golf, right? It’s not that it’s relaxing, in and of itself. Are four foot downhill putts relaxing? Are long water carries relaxing? Are plugged lies in the bunker relaxing? Of course they’re not. The key is that while you worry about all those ups and downs of a round of golf you don’t worry about anything else that’s going on in your life. You don’t, because you can’t.

Then my mind swings around to some of the professional tour players who have had extra-curricular things on their mind this year. Tiger and Phil are the obvious ones, but there are many many pros who have life’s strikes and gutters threaten their mental 300. I’ve never dealt with a loved one having cancer, but I have gone through a divorce. The fact that these guys are even able to be basically competitive at all is a tremendous testament to their innate talent and strength of will.

I’ve been very lucky through my rough spot here that it was by far the nicest time of the year in the Dallas area, and I was able to spend some time on the range and on the course. My game is actually in pretty good shape. The OU – Texas challenge in the beginning of September was the highlight, again dominated by the Sooners. After that I made a move back one tee, to the blues from the whites, and I started walking and carrying my sticks. It took a bit to find a new rhythm, but my game has flourished. I have finished the season with a couple of rounds in the low 80s, and my handicap is at 12.2.

I still think about golf all the time, quite literally. I’ve been watching a lot of the tournaments at the end of the year, and I think the pro game is in very good shape right now.

Right now I’m on a short-term consulting gig, and even though it’s not permanent it’s enough to stop the financial bleeding and let things break even for a bit. I’m hoping to get back into my writing. I’ve also read some significant golf books, and those of you who know me know how much I love golf lit.

I look forward to re-acquainting myself with my old friends in the golf community. Until then, keep’em in the short stuff.

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