Minutes before the start of my practice round I plopped down in one of the 30 open chairs perched on the top of the Pete Dye Driving range. I shook up my pre-made salad and took a picture of my food in the air. I then sent the picture to my fiancé with the comment, “Lunch with a view.”
By view, I meant the amazing backdrop, the majestic mountains and beautifully mown grass. However, when I looked back at the image, I failed to see the other part of the view: the empty white chairs in front of me. Lunch with a view, yet alone.
Seconds later, I had company. As my fork went digging for my second bite, I heard a voice say, “Did you bring that?” It was our tour photographer and social media manager, Ben Harpring. I was happy to be joined by Ben as he always radiates positive energy. Once we got past the depths of my salad, I asked how he was doing. In a genuine and reserved voice, he responded, “Alright.” It caught me off guard for the happiness he usually appears to possess.
It’s Ben’s first-year full time on the Epson Tour. Previously, he worked mostly with the LPGA. He went on to explain to me that it has been a time of adjustment for him out here. While he has enjoyed the new experiences and served the players on the Epson Tour, he misses his relationships on the LPGA. In an effort to satisfy both, he has been jumping between both tours on off weeks.
At that moment, I realized of all the time that I’ve spent out here, my personal camera has been so zoomed in on my own journey, I was missing those around me. I think that happens to many players. We are so focused on ourselves that we fail to recognize the people that are also a part of this journey, the people who work early mornings and late nights to lay out the land for us to chase our dreams. Like us players, Ben is pursuing his passion, seeking progress and fulfillment in his career. Similar to some players, he is hopping between both tours in the hopes of positioning himself properly either way. With that comes exhaustion from travel, time spent alone, and taxing long days.
If we zoom out or swap lenses with another person, we soon find that the chairs aren’t empty. There are people all around us going through the same troubles and triumphs, regardless of their pursuits in life.
In my third round, one of the players in my group forgot to bring a tee to the par five seventh hole. She began her trek back to her bag that sat 50 yards away at the bottom of the hill. Just a few steps in, the other player in my group interrupted her and tossed a tee her way. As the one player picked it up grateful for the saved steps on the hilly course, the other player said, “Hey, we're all in this together.”
At that moment, I felt like it had all come full circle. It’s an individual sport, but we’re all a team. Similar to life, we are all pursuing our own paths, but let's never get too lazy to always lend a hand.