Golf spelt backwards is flog and that is pretty much what I have been doing since purchasing a new set of golf clubs some weeks back.
I feel like all I have been doing lately is finding the golf ball, if I can, and giving it another flog in whatever direction I reckon the green and flag I am aiming for are.
Flog is not a good word in any context, but it perfectly sums up my frustrations of trying to master one of the oldest games in the world.
It looks like I am not alone. After too many years the "old boys" have decided to look at the rules of this sport and make some changes so that the games rules are easier to understand, as if that's going to help me, and to try and speed the game up.
Good luck with trying to speed my game up! After all, this is the game that Mark Twain once described as a good walk spoiled.
So, since 2012, the "old boys" have been receiving feedback from more than 30,000 people who have contributed from more than 100 countries.
I remember reading that and thinking "ow, that's a lot of frustrated people world wide" and I am pleased to know that I am not alone. A problem shared is a problem halved and all that stuff.
The new rules will come into play, pun intended, on January 1, 2019 and if you flog the golf ball like I do, then they may interest you as well. I thought these rules also gave us hints on how life should be.
If I flog my golf ball out of bounds - say over a fence - then I used to have to replay the ball from the place that I flogged the golf ball from for a one shot penalty, and possibly hit it over that same fence again, and again. However, under the new rules, I will be able to go to the place where the ball was seen to go over that fence and flog the ball from there with a two-shot penalty. In other words, I cop an extra penalty shot but am saved the frustration and embarrassment of repeating the same mistake. The good news is even though I made that mistake, I still move closer to the intended target.
Life is full of mistakes too, and we all make them. However, it is so easy to stay stuck in that one place where we made that mistake and flogged that golf ball over that fence focusing so much on that mistake that we make that same mistake again, and again.
It is a good rule that allows me to move forward from the place I made a mistake. Life ought to be like that too.
The other piece of good news about that rule is that the big boys at the professional level or anyone in serious competition will not be able to use this rule. Wow, finally a break for us floggers.
Here is another rule change I like. As the rules are now, when I have finally flogged my golf ball all the way to the green which is the special place that the hole is located, if I putt the ball and it hits the flag while it is still in the hole, then I cop a two-shot penalty.
Under the new rules, I can choose to leave the flag in the hole and I get no penalty if my ball hits it. I like this rule because for a start I will be able to see the hole because the flag is still there, and I do not have to rely on anyone else to pull the flag out, so I don't cop a two-shot penalty.
I reckon our goals in our lives ought to be clearly defined and located by flags too. We should also not have to rely on someone else doing something in the final moment of reaching those goals, so that we are not penalised.
I have been playing flog, I mean golf, for years and I never thought the "old boys" would ever change the rules.
One thing I do know though, golf is not just about the number of times you hit a golf ball or how easy the rules are to follow or even how fast you play the game. Golf is also about spending a few hours of enjoyment and fun with friends you want to be with.
Life ought to be like that too.
Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui, may your life be full of friends, fairways and greens and not out of bounds mistakes.
Ngahihi o te ra Bidois is an international leadership speaker, author, husband and father. To find out more about him view his website on www.ngahibidois.com