Once I knew that the best way to achieve the goal of writing an educational and inspiring book about golf – particularly junior golf – was through fantasy and magical-realism, is when the book really began to take on a life of it’s own.
The structure became apparent rather quickly. Junior golfers typically play nine holes of golf. This meant that our hero would naturally take a journey through the course and each hole would present a new challenge. It was an obvious choice to make “getting back home” the prize at the end of the round.
We would meet at my home for a couple of hours every Monday morning to brainstorm. Gregg would come tell stories about his experiences teaching, then I would use those anecdotes and set them against the backdrop of our hero’s journey. The only thing missing was a real underlying purpose. Something meaningful to give the story some verve.
That’s when Gregg shared a story about how he once observed a junior golfer at the driving range. The boy had a bucket overflowing with golf balls and was hitting them one after the other, no emotion, no passion — just ball, set, whack. Gregg walked over to the boy and asked him if he knew that he was making the golf ball very sad. Greg said the ball, which he jokingly called Ralphie, had a life of it’s own and waited a long time to be brought out and hit. And after being hit, Ralphie will be laying out on the range waiting in the rain and sun, until the ball collecting tractor comes to scoop him up. So make it count, for Ralphie.
The boy never hit the ball the same after that. And Ralphie, our hero’s charming companion, was born.
Now Skyler (the hero) would be tasked with not just getting herself home, but also saving poor lost Ralphie.
And anyone who has ever played a round knows — there are plenty of lost Ralphie’s out there waiting to be found and in return they will give you a purpose.