Earth, Air, Fire and Water. A Greek philosopher named Empedocles is credited with the theory of these four elements being the root of all existing matter. Most of his writings have been lost over the years but the theory remains with us to this day. Modern religion and science no longer pay homage to these thoughts but they apply to the world of golf more now than ever.
Earth represents the secret to all life in golf and long drive. Unless a person is willing to get their hands dirty and spend time in the dirt, they will never find success in this sport. Golf clubs that never need a cleaning or that never receive a bath are sure signs of either not caring or being unwilling to commit to achieve progress. Earth is a constant in golf and like the other 3 elements, can either reward or punish you. The ground can bless you with a kind bounce or a generous roll out after a big drive or it can swallow up your golf ball and leave you searching for a hidden Easter egg.
Air includes the stagnant cold and heat of each day as well as the wind that cannot be tamed. Wind is the ultimate test of the soul of a golfing athlete. Sometimes, this element can push against you and test the limits of your resolve and it only allows the purest and most dedicated souls to succeed. It also offers a push when least expected and needed the most. Wind is a favorite target in long drive and it always either gets the exaggerated blame for poor tee shots or the accolades for allowing a competitor to win in the clutch.
Fire comes from within. Many people golf and many believe they can crush a golf ball but few have the fire inside that drives them to go beyond their comfort zone and to pick up the clubs even after a bad day. The fire can produce heat in the form of a golfer or long driver who finds a groove and seems to be unstoppable and often their opponent feels the burn of the encounter. Fire can also produce a fever to compete and when the fire burns brightest, it’s often called addiction and passion and is noted by the glow that is seen in the eyes of golfer who lights up when talking about the game that they love. Over the thanksgiving holiday, one of my in-laws asked me what was going on in my life…other than golf? She had already felt the warmth as other people walked by and asked me about golf related issues and she had zero interest in feeling the burn.
Water is an element that takes many forms including ice, vapor, liquid and steam. Water can be the cause of fear when a new golfer stands over a tee shot that crosses a pond or an approach shot that has to carry a stream and until they conquer the demons inside, their ball will be drawn to those dangers like a magnet. Once a player spends enough time in the dirt and allows the fire to drive them toward a repeatable swing, the fear of water is replaced by ice water that flows through their veins in the most crucial moments. The ultimate success is found when all the elements culminate with an epic performance as the fire is fueled by adrenaline to compete, the earth yields a kind bounce to send the ball in the perfect direction, the wind either offers little resistance or a helping hand, the ice water flowing through the veins offers a steady comfort and in victory, you can feel the steam coming from the top of your head.
The elements of golf have also been called the golf gods and they have the power to either drive a person to greatness or to purge them from the sport. Whenever you hear a golfer complain and talk about quitting, it’s just the golfing gods placing pressure on them and testing their commitment level. There’s no shame in admitting defeat but to those who endure, the rewards are great.
Moby – Shark Attack Golf