It’s often said that old flames die hard, and for me, that couldn’t be more true. After decades of steering clear of the golf courses, I recently found myself drawn back to the sport. Not out of obligation or a mid-life crisis but due to a rekindled passion, an awakening, so to speak.
Time, they say, changes everything. Age brings perspective. The pandemic and my life’s relentless pace as an entrepreneur began to blur the lines between work and pleasure. But through this haze emerged a yearning. A desire to be in the open, to reconnect with the world in its purest form, and what better way to do it than by traversing the lush greens of the English countryside?
Now, some might question the sanity of choosing the golf course during winter’s chilly embrace that lays ahead. The cool, sometimes biting winds, the grey skies threatening rain, or even the frozen ground that turns every shot into a challenge. But there’s a romance to it, an ethereal beauty. The barren trees, their skeletal branches reaching for the heavens, the crunch of frosted grass beneath your shoes, the misty mornings when the world seems paused in a silent reverie.
It’s not just about the game anymore. It’s about the experience, the journey. It’s about witnessing the dance of nature, the ever-changing tapestry of the seasons, and the wildlife that occasionally peers out, curious and unafraid. Each hole becomes not just a challenge of skill but a voyage of discovery, a moment to pause, reflect, and absorb the world around.
And as I venture forth, club in hand, I feel the years melting away. The passion that once drove me to wake up at the crack of dawn, the excitement of that perfect swing, and the camaraderie among fellow golfers are still there. Only now, there’s an added layer of appreciation. For the game, for nature, for life itself.
Golf, for me, has transformed. It’s no longer just a sport. It’s a sanctuary, a haven away from the hustle and bustle of entrepreneurial life. It’s a bridge to my past and a gateway to my future. As I walk the paths once more, I realise that sometimes, to move forward truly, we must revisit the passions of our past.
As the days turned into weeks, my time on the golf course began to offer more than just a serene environment. In all its raw splendour, nature started acting as a conduit for clarity and inspiration in my entrepreneurial journey. The vastness of the open fields, the rhythmic chirping of the birds, and the gentle whisper of the wind carried with them the uncanny ability to declutter my mind. This tranquillity provided a backdrop where my most pressing business decisions found unexpected solutions.
Every time a golf ball sailed into the distance, it felt as if the accompanying weight of uncertainty and stress also took flight. The rolling landscapes became a metaphor for the ups and downs of the business world. Each bunker or water hazard I encountered on the course began to symbolize challenges faced in the boardroom. Each time I navigated these challenges, it was a testament to the fact that with persistence and a clear mind, there’s always a way forward in business and life.
But it wasn’t just the game or the breathtaking nature around; the culmination of each round at the clubhouse offered its kind of magic. There’s something incredibly therapeutic about ending a session on the greens and transitioning to a warm, inviting space where stories are shared, laughter resonates, and camaraderie is rekindled.
It wasn’t just about satiating hunger as I indulged in the culinary delights, a classic English breakfast or a hearty shepherd’s pie. It was about relishing the moment, the flavours, the company. The conversations often veered from recounting spectacular shots to discussing business strategies and market trends. It was astounding how a relaxed setting could yield such profound insights and discussions. It seemed that being in a relaxed environment, surrounded by like-minded individuals, seemed conducive to more open, creative thinking.
The union of golf, nature, and gastronomy offered an enlightening realization. Business isn’t just about boardrooms and balance sheets. It’s also about finding balance in one’s life, taking a moment to breathe, enjoy, and gather thoughts. And sometimes, the most profound decisions come not amidst the chaos but in the quiet moments after a game, with a plate of good food in front of you and the beauty of nature all around.
Surfing, a passion that has tethered my soul to the ocean for over four decades, paints its own picture of euphoria and youthful rebellion against the rhythmic pounding of the waves. Each crash of the tide, every gracefully navigated wave, encapsulates an element of freedom, a visceral connection with nature that is as boundless as the sea itself. However, as the years have swept by much like the ebbing tides, my body, resilient yet truthful, has begun to whisper the need for change. The thrill of conquering the mighty waves, the salty air caressing my face, and the invigorating chill of the water – these are elements I shall forever cherish. But the inherent physicality of surfing, the unabating clash with the cool, demanding waves, has gradually begun to take its toll upon me.
In these reflective moments, I find my thoughts drifting back to the tranquil evenings spent at Belmont Golf Club near Faversham, Kent, with my father. Those were days shrouded in innocence and wonder, where the dense woods that encased the golf course became a playground for imagination and camaraderie. The rustling of the leaves, the faint murmuring of wildlife nearby, and the delicate caress of the evening breeze on my face – these subtle elements forged an indelible connection with nature that was different, yet equally profound, as my experiences with surfing. It’s within these wooded alcoves that I find myself seeking solace and reminiscence, a gentler yet invigorating embrace of nature that aligns with where I stand today. The rolling greens and tranquil surroundings offer a space where body and mind can converge in harmonious unity, replicating the magical moments experienced in my youth, albeit in a more serene setting.
Sharing this personal journey is not merely a narration of my own path but rather a hope that it might inspire someone reading this to explore their own avenues for mental and physical well-being. Sometimes, accepting change and embracing it, leads us down paths that we might have wandered away from, yet they hold within them the ability to bring joy, peace, and a sense of balance back into our lives. May your journey, whether it begins with a step onto a lush green fairway or another path entirely, bring you not only closer to nature but also to moments that rejuvenate both your health and spirit. May you find your Belmont, your sanctuary, in whatever form it takes, wherever it might lie. And in this rediscovery, may you find a peace that resonates deeply within, just as I have found in my return to the fairways.