A long time ago in a state far, far away... The game left me. The magic was gone. In an effort to master the game, I took part in a clinic at the local course and told the local guru I wanted to lower my ball flight. He closed my stance a bit and closed my club face a bit and I started achieving the results I was looking for. Unfortunately, the new ball flight destroyed my consistent high fade that I could count on and my tee game turned into a random act of direction. I could no longer predict the results. OB. Ponds. Deep Rough. Bunkers. I was hitting 3 from the tee box on a regular basis. My short game was never better, but draining 20 foot putts to save double bogey and chipping in to achieve 1 over became a heavy yolk. The game was no longer fun. I needed a break. Throughout my golfing timeline, I have taken several sabbaticals that have ranged from months to a couple of years. Every time, I returned to the game energized and more enthusiastic than ever before. The time off gave me greater perspective and would allow me to recharge my batteries. I thought a few months away from the game would be all I needed to wash away the pain and build the desire again. I was wrong. In the interim, I started playing Box Lacrosse. Starting from ground zero, I began acquiring lacrosse sticks like a true club ho. I learned how to dye and string lacrosse heads and spent hours practice against a wall between the weekly pick up games. An old fat man playing box lacrosse against high school and college aged kids was definitely an uphill battle, but I loved every minute of it. Unfortunately, life got in the way. In the fall of 2010, the announcement that my company was merging with a much larger one came out. It took all of 30 seconds for me to realize that one of two things was eventually going to happen: I would be relocated to Texas or would lose my job. It took about another 30 seconds before my downward spiral into depression began. The Florida real estate market was in the tank. My house was not worth what I paid for it 7 years earlier, foreclosed houses were popping up in the neighborhood on a regular basis. Orlando is a second home kind of town, and when the economy tanked those second homes were the first to be liquidated. My industry was in a rapid cycle of consolidation and mergers, my job opportunities were dwindling fast with people being laid off rather than hired. If I did not get picked up by the acquiring company, my career was essentially over. Each day I slipped deeper into a depressed state holding on to a sliver of hope that the justice department would block the merger. Unfortunately, the entire industry was in a very dynamic state. Rival corporations were merging at an unprescidented rate and the decision by the justice department became a no brainer, the merger was approved. As a work group of only four individuals, we were not a priority for the acquiring company to worry about so our requests to set up meetings to discuss our future went unfulfilled. We were left to twist in the wind. Eventually, they sent a VP out to meet with us individually. Our group was to be terminated. Sorry, fellas, we can not work it out with the union to transition you over so you guys are done, but we need you to stay with us for another nine months because your so important to the operation and we will give you a small bonus if you stay long enough for us to terminate you. Awesome, where do I sign up? That was the last straw for one of my co-workers and he was gone in a month leaving us short handed the rest of the remaining days. The gentle descent into depression turned into a crash dive. For the next year I essentially checked out of life. It was like I was on some sort of autopilot with no disconnect button; get up, go to work, come home, lie on couch and stare at the wall, and go to bed. Rinse, wash, and repeat day after day. I had zero motivation to do anything. I was constantly fatigued. We had to put three of our dogs down that winter due to various medical issues, two within one week. I did not think it could get any worse, but it did. The pain kept increasing as it impacted those around me. Thankfully, a couple of people in the right places had the foresight to set aside a fund to protect a few of the work groups that were going to have difficulties transitioning in the merger. While the CEO's were constantly telling the press that everyone would be offered a job, the truth was playing out a bit differently. Armed with a lawyer and the law on our side, we were able to work out a successful transition and restore our employment status. Needless to say, our resurrection pissed off some fellow employees which kept life interesting for a while at work, but things were starting to look up. We were not looking forward to the move, but at least my spirits were starting a slow ascent. We completed the move to Texas in late spring of 2013. There were still some issues at work, but things proceeded in an upward direction. Golf was the furthest thing from my mind. I could not bring myself to put the time required to maintain a level that I would be comfortable with. When you hit rock bottom, you start to view time very differently. I wasted countless hours that could have been better spent with my loved ones. That fall, we joined a country club (which has become a bit more well known the past few years as it is where Jordan Spieth learned to play golf and still holds the course record) on a racquet membership, no golf. Tennis has become our sport of choice and allows me to spend more time with my wife in a game we both enjoy. The club Ho mentality still persists, but it comes out in the form of racquets. Trust me, I already have more than I need. The past few years have seen the tides wash away most of the lingering effects of my darkest days. I can drive by the holes at my club on the way to the tennis courts with no desire to get out on the links, but I still longed for a way to enjoy some form of the game. The time commitment for 18 holes of golf and the practice time required to stay proficient at it is just too great. If only there was a way to enjoy the game in a condensed period of time. I think I may have found the answer. Top Golf. From what information I have gathered, it is essentially a driving range turned into a video game. Each ball has some sort of RFID tag in it that registers its location to a console in the hitting bay. The range itself has several target areas that, to me, look like very large skiball targets divided into rings and sections. The console allows you to play various games which reward various combinations of accuracy and distance. The hitting bays are serviced by a wait staff with acces to a full food menu and bar items. The best part, the joy of golfing in a condensed time frame. You rent the bay's by the hour. While I will never rule out a return to traditional golf, I still find it hard to justify the time required to get proficient at it again. We are going to try out Top Golf soon and I am hoping that it will allow me to at least partially return to a game that I once loved so much. I am looking forward to the next phase in my golfing journey as my passion for the game awakens once again.