Welcome back to Walk-Around with BatCaddy. In this issue we walk with BatCaddy team member, and former golf pro, Guy Thompson as he shares his passion for walking golf, the experience that takes place between each shot, and the impact of staying present. We live in fast paced society but what happens when you slow it down for 18 holes and eliminate the distractions? Well, you experience the golf.
How long you've been playing golf?
About thirty two years.
And how did you get introduced to the game?
My dad. It started with a golf club and stories about his past and playing the game. He showed me a few things but mostly self-taught. In my late twenties I became a PGA teaching professional and soon got a taste of real course management and walking the course from shot to shot. It gave me a the opportunity to experience how the game was supposed to the be played.
How was the transition from riding a cart to walking the course?
Well, I'm have a somewhat romantic relationship with the game. I always wanted to walk because that's the way the game is felt. The space between where you hit the ball and where it lands is kind of like hunting; there's so much between architecture, ball placement, risk versus reward, all these different elements that makes the game great. And walking gives you a chance to really know the course, the intentions of the architecture from hole-to-hole. So to answer your question the transition was easy because that's how I always wanted to play the game.
That's interesting. Can you share more understanding the architecture?
When walking you really start understanding what fairways to greens mean. What it represents. And that it's not just about power and hitting the ball as far as you can. You start understanding the reasons behind the traps, tee box placements, slopes, rankings on handicaps, and landing zones. It's all the things I love about the game. You know, it's the difference between going to the Grand Canyon and checking out the view, or exploring the canyon. I prefer to explore.
When walking, you're not looking from end zone to end zone, you're taking each swing and taking each moment on the course one step at a time.
I like your Grand Canyon analogy.
Yeah – It's like going on a cross country trip and only visiting the rest stops. There's so much that's happening in between.
What about pace of play? Some may say walking slows it down.
I often play with people who ride a cart and while I'm walking from shot to shot, they are often tracking down two balls which slows them down. If you're riding with a partner, and you both hit it a mile down the center, you hop in the cart, zip up to your balls and wait for the group ahead of you. So to answer your question, no, the game is not slowing down, while at the same time you're able to stay in rhythm and present which helps my game tremendously.
Let's talk about staying in rhythm.
The natural sequence of events is not happening when you're starting and stopping. Hitting your ball, hopping in a cart, and checking your emails along the way. The flow of the game is amazing, when you're walking you're able to stay in that space. When walking from shot-to-shot it allows you to think about not just the shot you just hit but you're next as well. When jumping in the cart, you pull yourself out of the moment of the game.
As a society we're really pressed to speed things up and get ahead of ourselves. We're not conditioned to be present and mindful. Golf is meant to be played at walking speed. The shot, the architecture, the surroundings. When present and in the flow, the round completely changes, and you experience it as it was meant to be experienced. And I get the fitness benefits as well!
You're 52, walking 5-6 miles every round.
Yes. But without a BatCaddy I'm not able to really enjoy it and focus on the experience of the course and my shots. Like I said, it's the time and space between shots that's not missed when walking. I can stay in the flow, pay attention to the other around me, and often times be the first one to the pin, effortlessly, while getting my fitness in at the same time.
Let's switch gears. With everything that you've shared about why you love to walk, experiencing, and understanding, the purpose behind the course architecture one step at a time; What are your three bucket list courses?
Well, there are so many courses left to play, but what I can say is that I couldn't imagine playing them without walking it, and experiencing every detail that made the course great.
Last question, what is Guy Thompson's BatCaddy of choice?
I walk with the X4R Remote Control Caddy with the scorecard and umbrella holder, seat, and GPS holder.