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First Tee to Last Call: Premarital Lessons

by Conor Coughlin

Last weekend marked the first of a series of marriage preparation classes that my fiancee and I must attend in anticipation of our wedding in August.

I didn’t know this was a part of the marriage process nowadays, but I’m more than willing to comply on our way to the alter. My fiancee is Lutheran and it’s important to her pastor that we complete the prep classes ahead of the wedding. I’ll be the first to admit I was a bit skeptical of what type of value these classes would have for us. After all, we have been dating and living together for over five years.

Before we arrived at class we each had to take a 200 question personality assessment. We kept our answers to ourselves while joking about how the questions were worded. Many of the questions had words like, “all”, “everything”, “always”, and “never” as descriptors.

Anyone who says that “everything” about their partner or their relationship is great is flat out not telling the truth. I would “never” do a certain thing or feel a certain way? Not everything is perfect with anyone, although she is pretty close, as far as I’m concerned.

Somewhat unconvinced of how accurate these results would be, I powered through and completed the task. In our typical fashion, we waited until the last minute to take our assessments, which left us about an hour before our actual class started.

We had a few video chats with our pastor before our in-person meeting, so we had some foundation for what we would be talking about once the in-person meeting occurred. The first class covered the topics of conflict resolution and communication.

I’m not going to tell you that my fiancee and I don’t have disagreements. We do. Not frequently, but they are present in our relationship. After all, we are normal human beings. Anyway, I feel like we have been better than average at resolving disagreements over the years and was very confident this class would yield no new information for us.

Communication is Key

Our pastor started our class by going over our personality assessment. While I wasn’t surprised that we came out compatible, I was surprised at how compatible. She commented that it was one of the highest results she had seen. We balance each other so I shouldn’t be that surprised, but it was nice to hear. After explaining to us why we have such good results, we moved into the core of the class – communication.

Communication is something I like to think I do well, and I often over-communicate. Before this class, I thought I did a good job of expressing how I feel. I won’t share what we talked about specifically as my wife-to-be will most likely read this column and I don’t need any additional practice resolving conflicts.

The format we used while practicing communication was somewhat cheesy. “I wish you would ___ because it would make me feel ___.”

We would practice by going back and forth with the provided verbiage. Then as the receiver, you would repeat it back as close to verbatim as possible. This process is difficult to do because no matter how clear your mind is, your natural reaction is to start to solve the problem before your partner finishes the complete thought. No surprise here, she was able to listen better than I was able to. We each made three attempts before recapping how the exercise made us feel. I invite everyone to try to do this. As goofy as it felt in the moment it is a really insightful activity.

Why is it so insightful? What I learned about myself in a very short amount of time is that when my partner has an issue with me, or how I’m behaving, I almost always interpret the emotion to be anger. As I sat there actively listening, it suddenly dawned on me that conflict is not always about anger.

Quite the opposite, actually. I won’t share her emotions, but I was experiencing anxiousness, disappointment, and insecurity from what I shared. Once I broke down the actual emotion and understood what I was trying to resolve, it became much easier to suggest a path forward and within seconds I wasn’t feeling anger, I was feeling empathy on both sides.

I’m making these items sound more dire and deep than most of them were. One example I think she’d be OK with me sharing is, “spending less time watching television, and spend more time talking.”

We aren’t fighting to save our relationship or anything, but the epiphany I had during class made me feel confident to work through issues, if and when, we have them. The pastor kept reminding us that marriage is like anything else in life and you have to maintain it. The rest of life is unknown but I feel that whether you’re soon to be married or have been married for years, there is most definitely value in adding tools to your tool chest. I’ll keep you updated on anything else I learn through the process as we go.

The unknown is a perfect segue to this week’s golf tournament because pretty much everything about it is unknown.

Into the unknown, Congaree Golf Club

This week the PGA Tour is at Congaree Golf Club for the Palmetto Championships. This is another South Carolina coastal course. To anyone counting at home, this is the third one this season. This event is taking the place of the RBC Canadian Open due to COVID-19 protocols and challenges.

Congaree Golf Club will host its first-ever PGA Tour event this week.

It is incredibly difficult to find much information about the course. There are some similarities to Kiawah Island which just hosted the PGA Championship, but that’s probably the closest comparison I can come up with.

The course is a 7,655-yard par 71, making it one of the longest courses on tour this year. The fairways are tree-lined but somewhat wide and forgiving. Waste bunkers are incorporated throughout and are considered natural, so players will be able to ground their clubs in these hazards, similar to Kiawah.

The greens should play fast barring any sort of sustained rainfall. Most of the greens also have runoff areas, so hitting them and sticking the landing should be at a premium this week. The course is close to the coast, so wind may become a factor during the week. There are scattered showers in the forecast but as of now, it looks like nothing will linger for long periods.

Adding complication to the relatively unknown course is the massive amount of withdrawals from this event. Many players have already qualified for the U.S. Open and have decided to forego competing here. I will not be surprised if the winner ends up being an “unknown” guy from the bottom of the pricing.

I built a very simple, very recently biased model this week mostly focused on approach and around-the-green game. I’ll keep the picks short. In honesty, my best advice is to play light this week, if you play at all. I’m going to play the cheap three-max entry tournament this week mostly because of Fear of Missing Out (F.O.M.O.). But other than that $9 investment, I won’t be touching DraftKings until next week.

Palmetto Challenge Picks

Brooks Koepka ($11,100)

If you listen to my show “The 19th Hole” (co-hosted by @JeNateJackFF) you know I loath Brooks Koepka, so this should be an indication of how desperate I feel this week. Koepka does rate out No. 2 overall in my model. He’s No. 2 in shots-gained approach, No. 1 in greens in regulation gained, as well.

My main hesitation with Koepka (aside from just not liking the guy and no, it’s not his knee injury) is that he very openly does not take non-major events seriously. I’m worried that he won’t give this his all. But as long as he doesn’t withdraw, he doesn’t have to play at 100 percent to win.

Russell Knox ($8,200)

Russell Knox is No. 9 overall in my model over the last 12 rounds played. He rates out No. 7 in approach, No. 7 in greens in regulation and No.8 in proximity. I’ve liked him for quite a while and despite what I said last week, he might have a fighting chance to actually win here.

Vincent Whaley ($7,700)

Vincent Whaley is No. 11 in my model and has made nine cuts out of his last 10 starts. That stretch is full of top-30 finishes, as well. He’s in the top 12 in every stat I built around this week. I like the form and upside he brings with him this week. In this field, he should at least get through the cut and I see no reason he can’t be a top 10 or better here.

Other Golfers I Like this Week

Tyrell Hatton ($10,200)

Tommy Fleetwood ($9,500)

Lucas Glover ($8,600)

Brandt Snedeker ($8,400)

Davis Thompson ($7,200)

Dart Throws

Kevin Kisner ($8,700)

Will Gordon ($6,700)

“Last Call” Dart Throw of the Week

Hank Lebioda ($6,900)

Thanks for reading, and good luck this week!

I use Fantasynational.com for analytics and statistical modeling. If you’re looking for an edge check them out!

Conor Coughlin @Cough_DFS

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