What’s the line, Joe?

Oftentimes, when architects speak about building a golf course, or golf course architecture if you will, they speak about angles, or playing lines.The idea is that when a player is on the tee box, a good player at least, that player should have to decide where the ideal spot would be for his ball to stop, in order to set up his or her second shot. A lot of times, we just step up to the ball and aim for the fairway but that’s not always the best approach. There is usually an optimal place to be, and a spray and pray ethos probably won’t get you to where you wanna be.Sometimes, it’s the left side of the fairway to have a better line to the green, sometimes it’s the right side of the fairway to avoid the tree blocking the hole on the left. Sometimes, the flatter ground is just short of an average drive, to catch the unaware off guard, sometimes you have to go long in order to carry something meant to swallow your ball.Most of the time, the ideal spot is right next to some kind of hair-raising hazard the average golfer would want to go nowhere near.It’s all about risk versus reward. Usually, the architect is daring you to get as close to the most frightening part of the hole as you can. And, if you choose the safer line, well, there’s most likely a bigger challenge waiting for you on your next shot.Take the 13th hole at Augusta for example. One of the most famous holes at the home of The Masters, the 13th became great because of the great architecture behind it. The hole doglegs to the left, and the landing area is on a hill that slopes severely down to the creek that winds along the left side of the fairway.
A map of the 13th hole at Augusta National. (Masters.com via The Fried Egg)
More on the architecture of the 13th at Augusta can be found here if you’re interested.
The ideal place to stop your ball is on the lower side of the hill, closest to the water. That is where the ground is the most level, and is definitely something you would want to take into account for your next shot. The stream snakes across the hole in front of the green, and the green slopes left to right, the opposite of the hill you’re hitting from, and if you’re hitting your second shot from the right side of the fairway, where the slope is the worst, you could be in for some trouble.While we may not all be golf course architects, we are something of a “life architect,” we still have to figure out what our playing lines are. Life is fraught with hazards and deception, but there is an ideal landing spot for us also. We just have to figure out how to get there.There’s something to be said about that though. Have you ever noticed that the most successful people didn’t just end up there by chance? No, just like a golfer needs to be very intentional to get his ball into the right place, we also have to be intentional to get our lives into the place we want them to be.We’ve all heard Denzel say, “Dreams without goals are just dreams.” Well, maybe you haven’t heard that… until now. I’ve spent a lot of time watching motivational speeches. Sometimes I project.The point is, we have to have an idea of where we’re trying to go. It may be vague, but without a desired destination in mind, we end up floating in the same spot, never taking the shot, or worse, we spray and pray, and end up out of position for our second shot, making our lives more difficult in the long run.Being too intentional can be an issue too, though. I can blame many a topped shot on trying too hard to get the ball into the ideal position. For the sake of this article and my own mental health, however, I won’t dive that situation any deeper. Just forget about it and move on, Teej.There’s a healthy balance to be had. Moderation, as they say. You’ve got to be intentional without being too intentional, aiming while leaving the shot open to chance. Who knows? Maybe, there’s a better landing spot then the one you picked out in your mind.Ultimately, both golf and life are a crapshoot. You’ve got to roll the dice in order to play the game, and while we might not know where they’re going to land, we might as well do it with intention and give ourselves the best shot at landing in the best spot.

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