I’m not going to get too heavily into non-quantifiable goals for the trip. I feel any effort spent waxing about vague goals of “having a good time,” “being safe,” and particularly “learning something I didn’t know about myself” or “coming to a broader understanding of life” is wasted; of course these things and any of the other more general goals you might think of are still goals, but they will inevitably happen, regardless of how much effort I put into trying. I’m going to let them happen. Setting goals for the intangible elements of the trip will simply crush the spontaneous spirit I’m hoping to maintain. I guess you could say the goal regarding “THE JOURNEY” (opposed to “the journey,” which would refer to simply the drives, rounds and meals) is simply to allow an undying spirit of openness and spontaneity be the guide. If I am able to do that, the trip will be a success. And now, to some quantitative goals:
First, I need to establish the rules by which I will be playing. I will follow the rules of golf. That’s simple enough. No mulligans, and no gimmes when I’m playing by myself. When I’m playing with a group, I’ll take reasonable gimmes (think within 2 feet) that are given to me by playing partners – I’m not looking to be that guy; take the gimme and move on. I will also use my discretion when determining if lift, clean and place will apply. I’m not always going to be playing on the most meticulously maintained courses, and if the ball is half mud, I’m not playing it. Other than these few things though, I’m following the rules of the game. The game has rules for a reason; and grossly violating them is juvenile.
On to the goals themselves. There are only a few, and they are pretty straight forward.
– I’d like to average below 90 for the trip. Given that I have averaged 85.2 over the last two years, you’d think I’d set a more ambitious goal. However, I am going to be playing 47 courses I’ve never played before, and on many occasions, I will be playing 36 holes in one day. I will be tired. Playing unfamiliar courses when you’re tired usually adds up to a big number. If I average under 90, I will consider the golfing element of the trip to be a great success
– Arrive home with each club I left with, in the shape it is currently in. Not that I am necessarily concerned with breaking a club intentionally, but clubs can break in the course of play. My buddy’s 4-iron decapitated itself a few weeks ago following a somewhat routine punch out shot. I really love my clubs, all of them, and I want them all to come back to Buffalo with me.
– I do not want to have to buy any balls during the trip. I’m leaving with 81 balls, which gives me plenty of wiggle room. However, the same elements of the trip which caused me to raise my goal for average score to 90 are at work here – unfamiliar courses normally suck up more balls, particularly when you’re tired. I will, of course, find balls too, and am assuming that this will be a relatively easy goal to meet.
– Do something amazing on the trip. Whether it’s an ace, an albatross or an even par round, I’m going to have 49 shots at it, and I’d like to have something cool happen when I’m out there. Of course the ace and albatross are more a matter of luck, while the even par round will be a matter of playing the right course on the right day. No matter what it is, I want something amazing to happen on the course.
That’s it for the golf stuff. There are of course dozens of other things you may think would qualify as reasonable golf goals; from areas in which I could improve to the wide variety of experiences I could have with varied playing partners. These things will happen, and I’m going to let them happen.
There are just a few non golf related goals. Take a look:
– Incur zero traffic violations. I’ve been pretty good about this lately, haven’t gotten anything in over five years. Still though, 10,000+ miles is a LOT of driving, and I’m sure traffic laws will be violated. I’m just going to keep the violations mild.
– Lose some weight. My entire life until 22, I weighed 165-180 lbs. At 6 feet tall, this was a good, normal weight. Five years of the 9-5 did me in good and I am now sitting a massive 240 lbs. That’s outrageous. While I have embraced certain elements of the fat guy lifestyle and do enjoy eating, a lot, it’s time that I get my rear in gear. It should be pretty easy to do, considering the pace at which I’m traveling. There won’t be much time to eat, and I’m planning on loading up on fruits, veggies and yogurt for snacks every couple days. This trip will hopefully serve as an impetus for a healthy body for years to come.
– Average 45 miles per gallon. I know my car intimately, and picked a goal that I know will be hard to achieve. Over the course of the years I’ve owned the TDI, I’ve routinely achieved in the 42-43 range on highways, at widely varying speeds. I have, however, had several tanks up in the 46-47 MPG range, and am hopeful that I can keep a steady tempo on the highways to use as little fuel as possible.
– Come in under budget. Self explanatory. Less money spent is more money for charity. Simple.
On a general note, please let it be known that I kinda abhor the idea of setting goals. It seems like a very mechanical way to live your life; to outline what you want to do, and then to hook up your carriages and puff off towards the station of achievement. It’s always seemed to me that the people with the most goals are causing the most trouble, or are the most asinine people to be around. They’re always focused on what’s next, and what will happen later, rather than what is happening NOW. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe goals aren’t all that bad. I don’t know, I guess I got off to some sort of goal setting start here. However, I was careful to select only very concrete, pragmatic goals. I’m really not interested in long term, or BIG goals right now.
My goal is simply to let it happen, to be guided by the warms winds of youth and the open road. I trust that wherever that lands me, I will be happy. Happiness. That is the ultimate goal. I’m hoping to get there.
There will be one more entry later tonight, about travel.
Massive thank you to Karl at Truths and Lies, who so graciously sent me a few tee shirts and a hat to wear during the trip. Truths and Lies is a company whose “aim (is) to break that mold and embrace the very concept of how golfers dream to play scratch, by offering styles and looks that appropriately define a leisure sport on and off the course.” Mixing pop culture and golf in a way that I’m hoping gains traction, Truths and Lies has come up with some very cool designs. My personal favorite is their take on what is becoming a pretty classic design:
Check them out, Karl is a cool guy, and the designs are casual and sure to inspire conversation amongst golfers.