Posts Tagged ‘Golf’

Links to Lyle’s Other Sites

April 22, 2016

My book, Trials and Triumphs of Golf’s Greatest Champions:  A Legacy of Hope is being released in May and you can read more posts at my websites:

Find my Facebook for the book here

Find my blog and book at my website here

Trials and Triumphs of Golf’s Greatest Champions: A Legacy of Hope, brings us inside the world of seven champion golfers whose strength of character sustained them against the physical and emotional trials that threatened both their careers and lives.  Their stories demonstrate  the strength and resilience – indeed, the stubborn persistence – of the human spirit.

 

Excerpt from my book “Never Despair” – It All Comes Back to Character

February 4, 2015

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.

Khalil Gibran

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

– Winston Churchill


“Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots – but you have to play the game where it lies.”[i] So claimed O.B. Keeler, the famed golf writer who, from 1916-1930, travelled over 120,000 miles covering the career of Bobby Jones. We do indeed play the game where it lies. Each day is different, even if the course remains the same, and the challenges are at once maddening and intoxicating.

We play the game. It doesn’t matter if frost covers the ground in winter, if rain water fills the cups on the greens in the spring, or if wind blows sand in our eyes after a bunker shot in the summer. We just love to play.

Walter Simpson, in his 1892 book The Art of Golf, seemed to understand the golfer’s psyche. He wrote that the game “has some drawbacks. It is possible, by too much of it, to destroy the mind.”[ii] His admonition notwithstanding, true golfers rarely get enough of it. We know that if we keep plugging along and keep trying, sometimes good things come to us when we least expect them, just as in life.

Golf is a game with incredible staying power, having been played for over 500 years. Men and women; young and old; royalty and artisans; CEOs and taxi drivers; people with bad backs and creaky knees; amputees and the blind, all play it. A few even play from wheelchairs. What is it that draws people to golf and holds them in its grip until they are too old and feeble to play any longer? The reasons are many. The game engages both body and mind in a very particular way, and some might argue, the soul as well.

James Balfour, who began playing golf in Scotland in the 1840s, explained it this way in Reminiscences of Golf on St Andrews Links:

It is a fine, open-air, athletic exercise, not violent, but bringing into play nearly all the muscles of the body…It is a game of skill, needing mind and thought and judgment, as well as a cunning hand. It is also a social game, where one may go out with a friend or with three, and enjoy mutual intercourse…It never palls or grows stale, as morning by morning the players appear at the teeing ground with as keen a relish as if they had never seen a club for a month.[iii]

It is a game requiring not only physical skill but the ability to control our emotions, as we try to beat our best scores each time out, as well as the scores of our friends who join us in the endeavor.

The game is different because the ball must wait for us. It isn’t baseball or tennis where a ball comes towards us that we have to react to in a split second. The golf ball just lies there passively, sometimes seeming to taunt us.  It’s up to us to make it go.  “There is no hurry,” wrote John Low in Concerning Golf, rather “we fix our own time, we give ourselves every chance of success.”  It is this deliberate quality of the game which “makes it so testing to the nerves; for the very slowness which gives us opportunity for calculation draws our nerves out to the highest tension…”[iv]

Golf certainly can make our stomachs churn and scramble our brains.  Mark Twain famously described it as “a good walk spoiled.”  In the short space of the fifteen minutes or so it takes to play a hole, it’s possible to experience a full gamut of emotions – you name it and it can be felt, in a million different combinations.

Fear and trepidation of the opening tee shot, followed by joy and relief after a great drive nailed straight down the middle, then consternation at the fat second shot plunked into the water, and ending with sadness and disappointment as we walk off the green with a triple-bogey. Herein is a great part of the golf’s attraction.

People are also drawn to the game because it takes them into the great outdoors; to open spaces away from the office. Theodore Arnold Haultain discussed the tactile lure of the course, each with its own personality and varied terrain, in his book The Mystery of Golf. Speaking of the delights of the game in 1910, he described the varied elements that stimulate our senses:

The great breeze that greets you on the hill, the whiffs of air – pungent, penetrating – that come through green things growing, the hot smell of pines at noon, the wet smell of fallen leaves in autumn, the damp and heavy air of the valley at eve, the lungs full of oxygen, the sense of freedom on a great expanse, the exhilaration, the vastness, the buoyancy, the exaltation.[v]

“We live in small spaces,” wrote Henry Leach in The Happy Golfer, “with many walls and low roofs.”[vi] Away from the city, and its cacophony of angry noises that strangle silence, the golf course provides us with a few hours of refuge. Steaming asphalt and concrete, honking horns, and the incessant buzz and clatter of people coming and going gives way to a quiet oasis of cool grass, green trees, chirping birds and the smell of pine needles. “A golfer on the links is uplifted to a simpler, freer self,” claimed Leach.[vii]

Michael Murphy, in his classic book Golf in the Kingdom, spoke of golf in terms of “walkin’ fast across the countryside and feelin’ the wind and watchin’ the sun go down and seein’ yer friends hit good shots and hittin’ some yourself.  It’s love and it’s feelin’ the splendor o’ this good world.”  To David Forgan, who crafted “The Golfer’s Creed” in the late nineteenth century, golf offers “a sweeping away of mental cobwebs, genuine recreation of tired tissues….It is a cure for care, an antidote to worry.”[viii]

ENDNOTES

Epigrams after chapter title from http://www.goodreads.com/quotes

[i] Sidney Matthew, Bobby: The Life and Times of Bobby Jones (Ann Arbor, Michigan: Sports Media Group, 2005), 48.

[ii] Walter G. Simpson, The Art of Golf (Edinburgh: David Douglas, 1892), 5.

[iii] James Balfour, Reminiscences of Golf on St Andrews Links (Edinburgh: David Douglas, 1887), 54.

[iv] John L. Low, Concerning Golf (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1903), 6-7.

[v] Theodore Arnold Haultain, The Mystery of Golf. 2nd ed. (New York: Macmillan Company, 1910), 244.

[vi] Henry Leach, The Happy Golfer (London: Macmillan and Co., 1914), 13.

[vii] Ibid.

[viii] Michael Murphy, Golf in the Kingdom (New York: Viking Arkana, 1994), 65; “Golfer’s Creed” by Forgan,in The American Golf Teaching Method (Ft. Pierce, FL: United States Golf Teachers Federation, 1999), 68.

Azinger’s Ryder Cup Mastery

September 26, 2008

Captain Paul Azinger employed an ingenious method for managing his team, breaking his squad into three groups, or PODS, as the press referred to them.   He split personalities into three groups of four players.  Group One was Phil Mickelson, Anthony Kim, Hunter Mahan and Justin Leonard.   Azinger put Raymond Floyd in charge of leading these guys.  Group Two included Boo Weekley, J.B. Holmes Kenny Perry, and Jim Furyk.  Azinger put tour veteran Olin Browne with them.   Group Three was made up of Ben Curtis, Steve Stricker, Stewart Cink and Chad Campbell.  Azinger assigned Dave Stockton, an emotional guy who’s game was very much like that of his troops.   I take my hat of to Azinger for his creative arrangement – I think it was a stroke of genius to think outside the box.  It worked well and you have to hand it to the rookies for coming up so big.  And Boo Weekley doing his Happy Gilmore imitation on the first tee on Sunday was classic.  Way to go guys!

Physical Fitness and Golf

June 21, 2008

On my Good Golf For Life.com website I have a section that discusses the important role of physical fitness and golf. Tiger Woods is the poster child for building one’s body into a golfing machine.

Suppose you could spend 20 minutes a couple of days a week and do a simple yet highly effective, very easy to learn workout.

Even Better…Suppose you step on the course a couple weeks from now having the absolute confidence that your drive is longer, your accuracy is amazing and your days of being embarrassed on the golf course may be over.

Sounds too good to be true? Well, Rick Miller, a well-known golf fitness trainer, has a program you might be intersested in. Below is a press release he has been kind enough to share with me.

If you are intersested in contacting Rick, let me know, and I will pass on your name and email address to him. Thanks.

****************************************************
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

In less than 10 minutes golfers can have all their golf fitness questions answered. Over 85% of golfers lack the physical capability to play any better. They often wish they had a way to measure their body’s ability to perform, since in 2008 testing a golfers fitness level is as important as taking lessons and practicing.

The definitive white paper in golf, The Golf Fitness Handicap Test© has just been released to the public. This breakthrough test is quick, free and lets golfers know exactly how well their bodies can play the game. Golfers have a handicap index now they finally have a way to measure and track their fitness level.

America’s top golf fitness expert, Rick Miller says, playing without knowing this critical information means you are golfing at a distinct disadvantage. Since the body is the most important piece of equipment in golf, understanding it can give any golfer a noticeable edge on the golf course.

If you would like to view this white paper contact me at the information above and I will personally email it to you. This important document has just been released but many golfers have already viewed it and are playing golf like they were years younger. Do not fall behind, get the test and take control how you golf.

The Legend of Tiger Grows

June 17, 2008

Tiger Woods is not of this world. I have been watching golf since 1974 and have studied its history closely, and conclude that this man is beyond description. Not only is he blessed with unspeakable physical talent, but also possesses the combined hearts of all the best champions of the game. He hates to lose, always. He never gives up, ever. Yesterday he gouged a third shot from the rough to within 15 feet and made the putt to tie Rocco Mediate and have a chance to win in a playoff today. He was dead, but is never dead. 

Other players don’t have a chance from that lie.  Tiger always has a chance. Always. Even more than Nicklaus – who I thought was superhuman – and Tiger did this on a knee that was gimpy. I mean he was limping around like Ben Hogan after hge was hit by a bis in 1949. Has Tiger ever missed a putt? Remember when he made all those putts to win the 1996 U.S. Amateur when he was dead in that match. The putt to beat Bob May in the 2000 PGA? All the other “regular” events that have become a blur of perfection. And yesterday, 15 feet that he had to make. It may not have had the break of the 12-footer Bobby Jones made on the 72nd hole at Winged Foot in the 1927 U.S. Open, but it was at least as improbable.

It gave him life, at the expense of another victim. For today was a fait accompli. I’ m just so proud of Rocco for playing him like a man today and not lying down. Rocco is a throwback, a guy with a swing out of the 1940s, and he’s played through back problems that would have shelved 90% of the timid souls on Tour. So kudos to you Rocco! But you were up against the Tiger, the man with the gift.

Bob Ferguson, who won the British Open three time in the 19th century, once said: “Nerve, enthusiasm, and practice are the three essentials to golf. But to be great requires the gift.” The gift, indeed! That gift has been passed down from Allan Robertson to Young Tom Morris to Harry Vardon to Bobby Jones to Sam Snead to Jack Nicklaus and now to Tiger Woods. He’s the best of them all, and that’s saying something coming from me, the man who said when Tiger turned pro that he would win maybe 15-20 tournaments. I ate my words long ago and now just appreciate his gift and his greatness. We golf fans are lucky to live to witness his feats, believe me.