Peter Jacobsen was quoted as saying, “one of the most fascinating things about golf is how it reflects the cycle of life. No matter what you shoot, the next day you have to go back to the first tee and begin all over again and make yourself into something.”
My father was an avid golfer and absolutely respected the game. Etiquette was a priority; the rules of the game were to be adhered to; and integrity was paramount. To dad it was the integrity of the game that took precedent.
Dad lived life the way he played golf. Whether it was in his job, serving the community, or raising a family, dad lived by those same principles. He worked hard; he treated everyone with respect and in everything he did it was with the utmost integrity. And he lived each day the same way. He knew that each day he had to “go back to the first tee and begin all over again…” – A golf teaching tool.
Obviously he was a great model to follow. I would spend time with him on the golf course where he played at a very high level having won many amateur events over the years. I was always struck by his level of quiet confidence. He was always in the game and never “out of the hole”. But this came with years of practice and tournament seasoning since like he said “nothing comes easy in golf just like in life. You have to be realistic in your expectations and there are no short cuts to success.” – A golf teaching tool.
Dad seemed to always have a purpose on the golf course. He knew what he wanted to do and what stood in his way and played accordingly knowing full well that there is going to have to be adjustments along the way. He knew that frustrations and disappointments were a part of the game and he managed those since just like in life you can’t let those things control you – a golf teaching tool.
Dad built his golf game on a solid foundation. He practiced all of the shots so that he knew what to do once on the course. While everyone else was hitting drives and long iron on the practice tee he was hitting 8 and 9 irons. Then he spent time chipping the ball around the practice green. He knew that the game was won or lost from 150 yards in – a golf teaching tool.
Dad knew the golf swing and he knew his strengths and weaknesses and built his strategy around that. He also knew that just as important as the golf swing and feel was his mental attitude. He would spend time before each round in some quiet time thinking and envisioning what he was going to do and review the strategy he had planned out the night before to get his mind into the game – a golf teaching tool.
He had a pad of paper where he had laid out his game-plan for each hole. Nothing elaborate, just a short sketch of each hole and a general layout of what he intended to do with a few notes on the hole-subtleties which he needed to be aware of in case he wasn’t hitting the ball quite as crisply as he would like. And let’s face it; golf like life always has surprises. So by having a few notes and having a plan, although there may be some adjustments, he would take a moment or two on each tee to get refocused and back on the game-plan – a golf teaching tool.
He used to tell me about Ben Hogan who often would walk a course the evening before a tournament to notice and learn all of it’s subtleties and as he stated “tricks and traps”. This was Hogan’s way of getting mentally prepared and focused on the golf round. So preparation was a big deal with dad whether it was in golf or adding a patio to the back yard.
Dad loved this wonderful game and played respectably till he died in his sleep at the age of 76. In fact, that morning he had done what he had done virtually every day in his later years; have coffee with the “guys” and play a quick nine. In fact, I like to believe that he was planning tomorrow’s round when the good Lord said, “it’s time to come home.”