"Just pinch the back of that ball, son"; "swing inside out"; "keep your head behind the ball".words of wisdom that still echo in my head to this day. My brother and I had a good role-model to follow since dad had won the Tacoma Amateur in the early 30's and followed that up with 20+ amateur titles over the next 30 years. We both enjoyed the game but in my case there were other priorities such as baseball and basketball - If only I had known then what I know now. Golf, as you know, is a game that you can play your entire life.
And although dad tried his hardest to pass on his legacy, I didn't make it easy for me. "Pinch the ball" what does that mean? "Keep your head behind the ball." aren't you already 'behind' it facing it? By the time little "cocky me"asked someone to show me what pinching the ball looks like" it was too late.
I had already pissed off the messenger. The one thing that dad did get through to me that made sense was to play more strategically when it came to golf - always put your self in a position to make the next shot. He modeled perfectly with each round. You see, golf is no different than most anything else. Those that succeed understand that preparation and planning are the keys to success. That includes practice as well as laying out a game-plan that one can follow during the golf round.
Even when dad had a miscue he was never out of the hole. You would see him wandering off somewhere other than in the fairway after hitting an errand shot yet the next thing you know you look up and there he is 20 feet from the pin putting for his birdie. Dad's theory was quite simple: always play the smart shot, keep your mind in the game and things will eventually take care of themselves. (In fact, that was his basic theory in life - "it will all work out" was his pet phrase). Dad would let the big "bangers" flirt with the trees flexing their muscles with every shot while he strategically stayed with his game-plan always giving himself a shot at the pin.
Even his miscues would leave an open shot. Did he always win? Of course not but no one does. What he did do was always win more often than the other three in his foursome put together. Dad was consistent - never counted out.
And if you were to beat him you would have to do it with your best game straight up. Dad could get beat but he never lost. As the years have gone by I have thought about the lessons that dad tried to convey on the golf course and even though they did not register nor seem important at the time they have grown in clarity with each passing year.
He was not only a great "sticker" but a great human being and I wish he were still here to show me how to "pinch that ball off the turf". I think I just might 'get it' now.
Article by Jeff Gustafson - the creator of the Pocket Pro Personal Game-Plan and Strategy System http://www.the-sixth-man.com http://www.managingthecourse.com