After a few rounds of sensible golf round the par 3 course close to me, the time had come to go back to playing big boys golf. My Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is behaving itself, my swings looking much better so now is as good a time as any to see how my body, and back, will cope with a full length course.
With this in mind, I took the 150 mile trip up the motorway to meet up with my best mate and join him for a round around his members course. I stood on the first tee feeling very positive about the coming round. Now for those who play golf know standing on the first tee with people watching can be a bit daunting, especially if you haven’t hit your driver/wood for a while. Now I’d love to say I spanked my first shot right down the middle of the fairway, but I didn’t. However I didn’t fluff it completely, just slightly. A few bad shots followed this leaving me 50 yards from the hole. One of things playing the par 3 course did help me with was my short game, which I now have a lot of confidence in. With this confidence beaming from me (despite the poor start to the round) I hit one of the best chips I have and will likely ever hit. Leaving it just inches from the hole for a tap in putt for 1 over par. Not that bad a start after all. This form carried on for several holes, including a par on the third which I was very very happy with.
On the back 9 though things were different. The stress on my back muscles was starting to show, as the stiffness crept back in. My scoring increased as a result, and the frustration was close behind. I finished the full 18 feeling like I had played 36 holes. Suprisingly however although stiff and achy, the sharp pain in which Ive been accustomed to in the past wasn’t prevalent. So the following morning with an excessive amount of stretching, I commences round 2. This was almost identical in my physical experience, but thankfully not in scoring, with a 6 shot improvement on the previous round.
I am obviously very happy with the fact my AS let me go back to playing full rounds of golf again, despite all the extra work warming up and stretching before and after, I thoroughly enjoyed playing again. I think this partly as I felt normal again. Living with a condition which at times can be very restrictive can be quite depressing and demoralising. Feeling ‘normal’ again to me is a very good feeling, and something that I’ll never take for granted again.