BY JOHN GEIBERGER
As I used to be packing my suitcase after six days of golf at Woodhall Spa, 200 miles north of London, many ideas have been racing by way of my head.
“I couldn’t consider what I simply performed in.”
“The good drives in cross winds to tight fairways with heath on each side, (my VERO X1 ball saved me away from all the difficulty😀).”
“The mid iron to pin excessive, away from the 8-10 foot bunkers on each side of the inexperienced; the birdie putt that stopped two inches brief straight down hill on the ultimate inexperienced.“
I had simply completed one thing I by no means dreamed of doing.
I performed within the British Senior Novice.
It wasn’t the British Open I used to get up at 5 am to observe and take heed to the masterful voice of Englishman Peter Allis, however it definitely stirred up reminiscences of watching Watson, Ballesteros and Nicklaus win a number of instances on golf’s most famed hyperlinks programs.
I performed collegiate golf at Pepperdine and caddied on the PGA Champions Tour, the place I used to be a part of seven wins earlier than returning to teach The Waves (1996-2013), an expertise highlighted by the 1997 Nationwide Championship!
It in all probability goes with out saying however golf is my life.
After battling Covid in December 2022, which led to bouts with viral pneumonia , PCP pneumonia, and different fungal sicknesses, the subsequent 5 months have been extra about staying alive than celebrating my fifty fifth birthday and enjoying senior beginner golf.
Whereas attending the second spherical of the US Open at LACC on June 16, I obtained an electronic mail confirming my entry into R&A’s British Senior Novice.
I couldn’t consider it.
With lower than three weeks to organize for an occasion that started July 11, I used to be full of doubt. I used to be nonetheless regaining my power, having carried my bag and performed 9 holes simply 5 – 6 instances. Was I robust sufficient? Would the extent of my recreation enable me to compete? Might I drive on the opposite aspect of the highway?!
There have been a thousand loopy ideas operating by way of my head, however a consensus rapidly emerged amongst my associates: I’d be loopy to not go. The extra I considered it – the choice by no means left my thoughts for 10 days – I spotted life is about creating reminiscences and overcoming our fears.
I made up my thoughts. I used to be going to compete within the British Senior Novice!
Once I made my solution to Woodhall Spa, the host property, 6,500 miles from residence, and the R&A official greeted me for my first follow spherical, he confirmed my title, nation and handicap (it’s a must to be at the very least a +1 to play). All these doubts once more flooded my thoughts, not the least of which was, “Do I belong?”
After my first follow spherical with three People (one being the current senior Florida match play champion) and my second spherical with three joyous Irishman, I began to consider in my recreation.
I knew I had made the correct determination to compete once they introduced on the primary tee, “From america of America, John Geiberger.” It was a particular second and I used to be glad I put myself on the market.
My thoughts went clean, however I knew I needed to hit the ball. My opening tee shot was a weak push in the correct tough, however GAME ON! I used to be there competing and the flag was up!
It took a lot psychological and bodily power since I used to be not event sharp. I reached again into my teaching library and recalled what I taught my group.
I used to be in group 13 of 58 and after making birdie following that weak drive on No. 1, “staying current” sounded lots simpler once I was the one telling my prices at Pepperdine what to do.
A -1 underneath par 72 (the Woodhall Spa-Hotchkin course is a par 73) within the first spherical eased my fears about whether or not I belonged. Sadly, the wheels got here off throughout a 6-hole stretch within the second spherical, leaving me perilously near the cutline – the sector of 178 is trimmed to 50 after 36 holes.
Mercifully, I made the lower and after a 3rd spherical 76 completed at 8-over par, good for T-41.
Fairly good for my first main!
Trying again on the expertise, I used to be nervous, bordering on scared, however luckily I had previous experiences to attract from. Now, the reminiscences I created run by way of my thoughts day and night time.
Typically, even within the face of concern, we have now to leap in and face the unknown. That’s what life is all about!
At the same time as I confronted my very own doubts, the one benefit I knew I had that week was enjoying the VERO X1, the perfect performing ball within the discipline. I certain didn’t really feel any wind! Cheers to that!!
About John Geiberger
John Geiberger is the son of golf legend, Mr. 59., Al Geiberger (11X PGA Tour Winner). John wears many hats, as head of OnCore’s participant growth, a highschool golf coach, teacher and coach for collegiate degree gamers and an expert caddy.