About ten years ago, nearly eleven now, when I first moved to Edmonton to begin graduate studies in choral conducting, I was what you'd call a "weekend hacker" in the golf world. I thought I played OK, averaged about 108 strokes a round, parred a few holes, even birdied one or two. I then found out that both my supervisor and a new friend, also a choral conductor, were avid golfers. I was very happy about this - until I played with them for the first time. Not realizing that one was a mid-teen handicap, and the other nearly a scratch (zero) handicap. I felt completely useless, and at time utterly embarrassed to be playing with them.
Over the next few years, I found that they were very patient people, and also good teachers of the game, and I steadily improved over time. I also started to find some comparisons between the golf swing, and conducting gesture. Things like foot positioning, weight transfer, using gravity to your advantage and tempo. I even discovered an "ictus" in golf (ball striking). Since that time I've had a few lessons, joined a club, and have been as low as a 14 handicap. I've had a hole in one, and have seen the low 80s on my card a number of times. I have also beat my supervisor in a game or two (I don't recommend you do this prior to your defense date), and now I play upwards to sixty round a year. Up here, our golf season starts early May, and ends late November. Today was day one!
Every once in a while, when I am coaching a conducting student I catch myself saying something like "it's just like timing a perfect golf swing" and then I look to see a blank face and realize "oh ya, that dissertation hasn't been written yet ... someday, you'll understand ..."