Road to Scratch Update: Bouncing Back and Keeping Perspective

In a recent post about this year’s Club Championship, I shed some light on my physical struggles with my lower back, glute and leg. It has been a slow and steady process, but I’m happy to report I’m back on the golf course enjoying the game I love.

I’ve been receiving regular treatments from Dr. Murray Heber at Elite Sports Therapy here in Calgary. He is a Chiropractor who also specializes in A.R.T. (active release technique) and IMS (intra-muscular stimulation), where they essentially put acupuncture needles into targeted areas of a muscle to help release deep-rooted knots and get blood flow to these areas (or that is my understanding). I’ve been seeing steady improvement and the treatments, although painful at times, are helping me get things sorted out. Coupled with some visits to DM Golf Performance to improve my golf specific fitness (more on this later), I’m excited what the future holds.

I’ve turned a corner in the past week and, for the first time in a while, have felt good enough to get several full rounds in. I’ve played five 18-hole rounds plus a 9-hole round in the past 2 weeks. My scores have been 77-79-76-77-79, which has been a nice change from not even feeling strong enough to finish a round. Although I’m not 100% just yet, I’m in the process of bouncing back, and it is nice to feel athletic on the golf course again.

The highlight of the past week was on Thursday night, when my wife Beth and I got out for some evening golf on my birthday. I wanted to have a relaxed evening so we went out to the club for nine holes and followed it up with a fantastic dinner. We didn’t keep score, and would even hit an extra ball if we wanted to. It was a beautiful fall day. We went out and got some exercise, enjoyed the view, and most of all each other’s company. At least for that hour and a half, all of life’s stresses melted away. It was perfect.


Every aspect that made my birthday round of golf perfect had nothing to do with where my ball ended up after I hit it.

It got me thinking — what if the physical limitations I’ve experienced lately became permanent, and I could never play to the level I aspire? What happens when I get old and can’t hit it as far? Would I quit? Constantly be frustrated? I would hope not.

Although my goal to become a scratch golfer has not changed, it is more about the process of staying driven, having purpose, and the opportunity to connect with like-minded people than it is about scores and handicaps. It has nothing to do with impressing people, ego boosts, or self-image. It’s about using golf as a vehicle to form and strengthen relationships, engage in friendly competition, and spend quality time with people you care about. It is about having goals and remaining challenged, both mentally and physically, to stay young and healthy.

My birthday round of golf reminded me the importance of being equipped with an attitude and appreciation for the game that keeps it fun and fulfilling, no matter how many times you need to hit the ball. It was a reminder that golf is the best game in the world — for so many more reasons than the excitement of seeing a ball go into a hole.

Happy golfing!


15 thoughts on “Road to Scratch Update: Bouncing Back and Keeping Perspective

  1. Josh,

    Thank you for a great post and reminder of why we all love the game.

    I, too, have lower back issues and had to stop playing for 18 months. However, in my long journey back to a healthier lower back ( physical therapy, Cortizone shots, acupuncture, chiropractic, and lots of stretching and yoga), one of the several doctors I saw told me that one reason Americans have bad backs is because we never squat. Squatting helps lengthen the spine and get everything back into place. He (who’s Vietnamese ) said many Asians squat to work in rice fields and to eat, and Asians never suffer back problems.

    Now, several times a day I squat and lean forward for a minute or two. It really does help relieve some of the pressure in my spine and opens my hips. Don’t mean to obsess about this … just wanted to pass along a tip that’s helped me get back to golf.

    I enjoy your posts!


    1. Deborah,

      I am thrilled to hear you’re back out there playing the game you love. I appreciate the interesting insight on your back troubles and what has helped you recover, and hope that your exercises continue to keep you on the golf course! Thanks for reading!


  2. Josh, never mind the comment I left earlier – I’m playing catch up on my reading!

    Nice to read you’re feeling well and seeing progress. Also nice to have a great PT, isn’t it?

    Notice your short game improving, too?

    1. Rick,

      It sure is great. Starting to feel stronger and more stable, which definitely helps with the short game. I appreciate the positive comments!


  3. I enjoy golf for exactly what it is – a great way to spend a day and connect with like minded people. While I am not a great golfer and do wish to improve as I continue my golf journey, the only number I have set myself is to continue golfing until I am in my nineties.

    You are right, golf is the best game in the world.

    Glad to hear your health is improving and how can your birthday be anything but happy when you are golfing?

  4. Josh,

    I couldn’t agree more with this! I started my website to find the love I used to have for the game again. I spent an entire year in a mild depression over golf, because I wasn’t improving the way I wanted to. I stopped practicing as much, because I felt that it was a waste, since my mind was not in the right spot.

    It took a few months, but I finally got the courage to turn it around, and start working hard at the game again. I went with the mindset that no matter how I played, I would continue to work hard and put my heart into the game. Turns out, golf has become more enjoyable for me again! Working hard, sticking to the process, teaching others (through my website), making connections, etc. has made this punishing game a joy ride for me again!

    Cheers for the insights!

    1. Zach,

      You’re certainly not alone. It can be pretty easy to go down the wrong path and become very frustrated with golf. It is a difficult game for everyone. Being equipped with the right attitude and appreciation for the game is so important, and savouring those beautiful days on the course even if the results aren’t what you’d like. I’ve noticed that when you put that first, the results are more likely to follow.

      Your site is looking sharp – I’m looking forward to reading your content once you get it up. Thanks for connecting, and for the positive comments!


  5. Great post, Josh. I understand the frustration of not playing well. Luckily, my husband didn’t care. He just wanted me to golf with him. If he had pushed, I would have dropped the game years ago. I’m not a wonderful golfer but I have improved over the years. I play for fun and to spend with my husband and family.

    Hope your health issues continue to improve and enjoy years of the wonderful game we call golf.

    All the best,


    1. Tina,

      Thank you! That’s the beauty of golf, you don’t have to be an expert or have lofty goals to go out and enjoy it and use it to spend time with great people. There are so many great things that go along with the game that are more meaningful than getting that darn ball in the hole! I appreciate the positive comments 🙂


Let Us Know What You Think