These are tense times we're living in, and never have regular doses of self-care been more important to fortifying one's own well-being than in the year 2020. Strapping on boxing gloves and taking out some tension on a punching bag works for some. Lifting weights salves that scar for others. For me, there's the driving range.
I've never been too much of a range rat overall. When it comes to learning to play better golf, I prefer to fine-tune in the live-fire environment of the actual course. But not every golf swing need be made in search of a lower score. Sometimes, the seemingly frivolous act of hitting a golf ball is mental medicine.
A driving range is dearest to me when the goal is less the betterment of the handicap index than the leveling out of the psyche. After all, chopping wood is not always about stocking up for winter. Every component of the golf swing is ideal for the task of distancing oneself, if temporarily, from whatever minor or major headwinds are rustling the sails. The sharpening of my visual focus onto a single dimple, the controlled outburst of backswing-downswing-follow-through and the jolt of impact coalesce into a brief, visceral pulse of reality. At times when I'm confronted by the frustrating intangibility of emotional unease, an inert, inanimate golf ball suddenly becomes a tangible symbol of that anguish. Sending it away with a 6 iron can be deeply therapeutic. Suddenly, a golf swing is much more than an odd physical flourish. It's a ceremony of self-healing.