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Lesson 2: Staying connected. Exercising and spending time in nature have always been important but, after staying home for days on end, these feel more important than ever. Golf connects us to nature. This is one of golf ’s great gifts. Usually played with others, it is also a social connector and a shared experience. We all recall rounds that we shared with friends and family years later, and these are collective stories which form a part of our lives. Don’t forget that golf is also something you can enjoy alone, allowing us to connect with our inner selves. As I’ve written before in this space, some of my most memorable golf experiences were ones by myself, at dawn or at dusk…just me, that little white ball and the awe-inspiring nature surrounding me – whether it was a mountainous landscape in West Virginia, the palm trees of Florida or the autumn leaves on my hometown course. Golf Lesson 1: Gratitude. In the past, I’ve talked about the importance of being a grateful golfer. Enjoy each swing for what it is. Enjoy the experience. Don’t focus just on score. As many of us are in self-isola- tion, with no sense of when this might end, what we need to practise most is gratitude and connectedness. I’ve shared many virtual conversations during my time of self-isolation and it’s helped me to cope and realize that I’m not alone. We are all in this together. It’s also made me more grateful for what I have: my family, my health, my home and the little things like the first robin singing a tune inmy garden on a Sunday morning. A s I sat down to pen this column, I was filled with anxiety. The news cycle − 24/7 − was COVID-19. Just reading the word pandemic brought panic. I wondered how I could write about golf at a time like this? Does golf even matter in a world where entire countries are quarantined, people are dying at an alarming rate from a virus with no cure and the global economy is heading towards a recession? I stewed for a while and soon realized that golf does matter. And maybe it, like all leisure pursuits, matters now more than ever. There are many lessons to be learned at this time. My hope is that we all come out of this strange new world and emerge on the other side as better humans. I’ve already witnessed this transformation in my hometown with neighbours collecting items for the homeless and checking in on those who are quaran- tined or alone. I’ve read so many wonderful stories of compassion, kindness and authentic leadership. It fills my heart with gladness at times when sadness lurks at the door, ready to pounce. Ben Hogan’s timeless classic Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf is a go-to resource for generations learning the game. It helps break down the swing and gives simple tips. Taking a cue fromHogan, here are five life lessons which we can learn from the current health crisis, which you can apply to golf. 40 | www. snowbirds .org

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