Predetermination, not Vu jaDe: Fearless Golf
We love to think, I’ve been there before; we love to take foreign expressions and tinker with them, and we hate facing our demons.
While competing in the high-pressure arena of the western New York Public Links Golf Association’s two-man scratch scramble at Scott Witter’s Arrowhead Golf Club in September, I was possessed by a state of incredible calm. I wish to iterate two shots to state my case. Standing with my partner at six-under, some 140 yards over water from the deep eighteenth green, we both knew eight iron would get the ball to the middle of the putting surface. The Scrambler was responsible for getting us there, and he proceeded to lay the sod over the ball and dunk it in the drink. In spite of any tension, my routine never wavered, my bubble never burst, and I flushed the ocho at the flag, twenty feet shy in the short grass.
I was tending the pin and itching to tell our partners the story of how I was masochistically glad to have the opportunity to face the pressure when His Scrambleness jacked the putt twelve feet past the hole. So much for a free lunch. Laying down the pin, I sized up the putt and snuggled it in to two feet for par and a fourth-place finish (we play for keeps in the PubLinks!) Hitting those two (and many other) shots under pressure that day let me know that I was certainly on to something. Then I found Gio Valiante, who confirmed what I had uncovered.
Fearless Golf is a book about conquering the mental game (which doubles as its subtitle.) Without retelling the tale, Valiante discusses such seminal bytes as “golf without fear,” “mastery golf,” and ego-free golf” and “self-efficacy” (hey, I’m only halfway done.) Valiante’s point is, great golf swings and shots are the real goal, not trophies, numbers, or recognition. He invokes the Japanese term Kaizen (continual, measured improvement, regardless of performance) on multiple occasions to demonstrate how we get lost in the forest, when we should handle the trees one at a time. His mental approach, if adapted and adopted successfully, eliminates the 72-hole score, the 18-hole score, even the 1-hole score, and especially the brass nameplate on the trophy. I like it, and I ‘m going to spend this Winter in the dome (and the few days of Fall golf we have left) finishing and rereading the book, thinking about it.
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