Reflecting back on my past, I had a nice upbringing and childhood. I grew up with two parents, a younger brother and I had a simple and cozy house to come home to. When I was fairly young, I fell in love with the game of golf. A golf course sat in our backyard, so in the evening, I would sneak down and play the same hole over and over again. Both of my parents played golf, so it actually became a fun family night event for the four of us, especially as my brother got older.

Then when I was 16, something happened that changed the course of my life forever. My parents made the painful decision to separate, and eventually divorce. Now I know, divorce is a common reality for many people in this era, however, their split wasn’t an easy one to face. Both moved on to other people, and that seemed to only fuel the fire of anguish between my parents. What was once my happy reality, with memories of fun times on the golf course together, were now replaced with anger, sadness and pain. Those good times of laughter, jokes and bad golf shots were gone, and I could no longer remember them anymore.

Over time, things slowly got better. I moved away to school and focused on my career aspirations. Golf faded to the background while I put my college education first and focused on my desires. The harsh feelings between my parents lessened at a snail’s pace, but I was fortunate to live further away and not around the situation on a day-to-day basis. There were tough battles at times, and I can remember the harsh words said between myself and my parents. To this day, I still recall the terrible conversations in my head like they happened yesterday and not years ago.

By the end of my Senior year in college, I started to get back into golf again. My renewed love of the game helped me grow closer to my father, and it made me realize that golf will always be a friend that I can count on throughout life. When some of the hardest moments happened at home, I tried to remember the good ones that took place on the golf course. Golf has always brought me joy, and to let it go, would only take away from something that has always made me happy.

Golf is what led me back to happiness, and in believing in love once again. The golf course was the location of where I was setup on a date with my future husband. The fond memories that I had of my parents, myself and my brother playing golf came rushing back to me. The pain of being disappointed in marriage lasting forever was replaced by joy and happiness. Golfing with my husband, gave me back the one thing I thought I lost when my parents divorced: hope in finding love with someone.

As time progressed, my husband and I grew closer and made wonderful new memories on the golf course together. The game of golf has now become something that we share, and a joy that we hope to relish in with our children someday. The hard memories of my past are there, but now, they have become ghosts in the background of what made me who I am today.

Like golf, life can take a course that we don’t always expect. While we may hit a pond, sand trap or go out of bounds, that doesn’t mean we give up. We try again, more humbled and focused on our future and making it better. The memories of bad shots fade, and are soon replaced with the good ones that keep us coming back to play. Golf is what led me to love, because it gave me the courage to try again, and not let my fear of being hurt dictate who I fall in love with. You cannot be afraid of where the course of life may lead you, because all that matters, is your ability to let go of your fears, and in not letting the pain of your past decide the outcome of your future.