The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail is over 450 holes of world-class golf sprawled out across the State of Alabama. Locals got so disgusted with folks flying through their state on the way to Florida, they built thirty plus courses to tempt travelers. Today on these courses, in a State where using the Lord’s name in vain is still considered blasphemy, you’ll hear more “Goddammits” than anywhere else in the country. Apparently, irony begins with irons.
Because of the limited tourist attractions in Dothan, Alabama, the Golf Trail is quite popular here. Players come from around the globe to participate in what has to be the world’s longest “good walk spoiled.” Factor in the multitude of barbecue joints pasted along highways adjacent to the courses and you have the makings of some pretty primitive circumstances. Picture this: Man swings club, curses twice and hurls club skyward, then meanders across the grass to the local food shack to consume a mouth -bloodying rack of ribs before he returns back across the fairway and grabs his club to grunt his way toward double bogey. Makes you wonder whether Kubrick was a fan of the links. Presumably, golf is the evolved gentleman’s game, but based on the setup here in ‘Bama, Geico should be shooting daily ads claiming, “so easy, even a Caveman could do it.”
Back on the tennis courts at Westgate Tennis Club, the tournament’s main draw continues today. With players ranked between 80 and 250 in the world, the competition is close. Fierce-faced ladies rip forehands and backhands in long rallies as the green clay transforms from a blank canvas into a Monet painting. The margins here are small, with less than a handful of points deciding most matches. This implies a twenty-second concentration lapse can cost you a match and that implication is true. At the elite level, the importance of mental skills is on par with physical ones. A random annoying fan in the stands, a car horn, a crow’s squawk. These are a few of the things which can alter focus. These external distractions can cause a player to lose thousands of dollars if they allow themselves to stray off task. As I sit here watching them perform, the facial ticks and body language often tell a far more intriguing story than the strokes.
Now on the home front. The soap construction has reached forty bars. Like a house of cards, it now stands sink-adjacent and is, frankly, pretty impressive. As I placed the finishing touches on this, I wondered if Imelda might get the wrong impression – that perhaps I am showing her the home we could have together, the sanitized house where we might raise our children. For Imelda’s sake, I hope not. After long days on the courts, sometimes we coaches just need a way to cleanse ourselves of the day, to focus our energy on something greater than our game. The soap sculpture offers that. I’m sure she will understand.