golf. This awakening is about creating a new vision of how to play golf. It’s about committing to a productive
approach to golf. It’s about considering how your beliefs, attitudes, and behavior habits influence your conduct
on the golf course. It’s about having a whole new outlook.
This outlook will consider the perspective of what’s possible for your game instead of what’s wrong with it. The
average golfer is usually stifled by thoughts of what’s wrong with their golf. Why not consider how to achieve what’
s possible? Every golfer knows their potential is much more than their present performance level. So, why not
consider a way to work toward your potential?
Every time you step on the golf course, there exists the possibility that you will learn more about how to play
your best golf. However, the only way you’ll realize this is by being awake to the possibility when it happens. If
you are not looking for it, it will pass you by as it occurs. So, it helps to be looking for such possibilities. It helps
to be looking in the right direction by having the perspective that it may occur.
Trying to fix what is wrong is a restrictive approach to golf. It’s restrictive because it only considers what’s out
of place with regard to the skills you’ve already experienced. It does not consider the maximum potential of your
game. If you were truly an awakened golfer, what skills would you possess? Having this perspective will guide
you down the path to your best golf. So, consider there’s much more for your game than simply fixing your old
incomplete game. Consider an ever growing and expanding game, one that will always offer you new levels of
experience, enjoyment, and learning. And consider that this approach to the game is right there in front of you.
You simply need to see it that way.
The trouble is, your old beliefs and understandings create a smoke screen that covers your present
perspective. The smoke screen hides the trailhead to your potential. If you cannot locate the trailhead, you will
not find the path you desire. You might say your present beliefs camouflage the vision of what’s possible. So,
even when you are looking for it, you don’t see it. Therefore, the awakening involves creating clarity with your
vision. It’s about awakening a crystal clear image of what’s possible. As soon as you clear away the smoke
screen, a new outlook will appear, an outlook expressing awakened views of life’s potential.
productivity. This is because, the type of perspective you create is the type of diet you feed your game. It is also
because, your physical actions and behaviors follow the guidelines set down by your internal dialogues. All your
inner workings, your beliefs, habitual thoughts, and ideologies create your present disposition. Your disposition is
the underlying approach you have toward life. It defines your inclinations to act the way you do in each and every
situation you face. Thus, it is a way of being created by and accepted by your inner self.
Your disposition, your attitude, your thought patterns, and your responses are all nurtured by your
perspective. Therefore, you would be wise to create a perspective that is always concerned with providing the
best nutrients to your mind, body, and spirit. In this way, perspective is the diet of being healthy and whole.
Such perspective is usually anchored in a code of understanding between willing participants. This code is not
so much a set of rules to be attached to. It is not a formula for success. It is more a vision, or an ideal, as to how
awakened people conduct themselves. For example, soldiers abide by rules, regulations, and a chain of
command; however, they live by a code of honor. The code of honor is simply a vision of how the ideal soldier
In ancient times, warriorship was the standard of conduct. The vision of warriorship was one of authenticity. A
warrior was to strive to be genuine in every moment of life. A warrior would face every moment with the intent of
being awake. She would approach each endeavor with unwavering commitment. A warrior never quits. Neither
does a true golfer. Golfers have their own code of honor, their own ethics. We call it etiquette, and its founding
principle is integrity.
Integrity is the ability to honor one’s commitments. As my coach once put it, “The basis for his integrity is, you
could say, his destinal resolve,….. a resolve that steers the course of his life. His goals, values and purpose in
life have a foundation which I have rarely seen in my years of teaching. I can truly say that he is his own person
and not simply the creation of various forces impacting on him in society. He has commitments in the various
areas of his life, his relationships, his work and his golf, and not only are those commitments in alignment, but he
honors them. That is what true integrity is.”
The person who has integrity conducts herself with dignity. The warrior expresses dignity while honoring the
code, and the golfer expresses dignity while honoring the game’s etiquette. Honoring golf’s code of etiquette
means that you conduct yourself with dignity in all situations. Thus, the situation should not influence the conduct
of your dignity. Etiquette, integrity, and honor should always be present to the golfer’s disposition. This means
dignity is the disposition of the honorable golfer.
The warrior’s vision also included the principle that you always conduct yourself as if you were the role model
for all those who will follow in your footsteps. You embody this principle so that those who look up to you for
advice, guidance, and support will also understand the vision to follow. Thus, the vision expresses the time-tested
ideal of leading by example. You can think about it this way, if everyone you ever touched wrote a note about
how they remembered you, what type of conduct would you like them to associate with you – conduct yourself in
The last part of this vision is the idea that all warriors have a mutual respect for each other. Honoring the code
with true integrity, and expressing their commitments with dignity, creates a type of bond between warriors. All
warriors share a deep bond of mutual respect. This bond is so deep, it borders on friendship, even in the heat of
battle. There are competitors in all sports that express this same virtue. However, no athlete expresses it more
than the golfer that truly honors the etiquette of the game.
Thus, golf truly is a game of honor. Real golfers honor the code and embody the vision while staying
grounded in the game’s self-policing rules and etiquette. Golfers are deeply rooted in the process of the game, a
process that begins with your belief about how the game is meant to be played. The process is grounded by your
understandings, nourished by your awareness, supported by your response system, and sheltered by your
All warriors understand the process, they stay committed to the way, and find the source of their commitments
within themselves, unconditionally as a universal truth. Furthermore, all warriors honor their commitments by their
own volition. It is a choice to act in this manner. It is a choice to conduct yourself with the vision in mind. It is a
choice to honor your commitments. It is a choice to show such fortitude. And so, for every golfer that wants to
stay true to the path they too must make the choice.
learns, and perceives each moment of her life. Once again, all warriors understand the process, they stay
committed to the code, and they find the source of their commitments unconditionally within themselves. So does
the accomplished golfer. Understanding the way of the warrior is understanding the way of the competitor.
Whether you compete in tournaments, or not, you’ll always be in competition with the course and yourself. So, do
your best to understand the way of the warrior-competitor. In the end, it will be the way of the golfer.
The way of the competitor begins with the code of honor. Next the competitor strives to understand what mode
of play works best for himself. The competitor then creates a fluid game plan. A game plan which considers the
chosen mode of play while allowing for adaptation and improvisation along the way. The ability to be fluid and
adaptive is important, because the competitor knows that interferences can pop up at any point in the process.
The competitor knows that these interferences are not her own personal property. They are simply hiccups
within her experiences. The competitor knows he has the skills to overcome and evade future interferences. The
competitor knows that when you encounter interferences, you’ve simply ran into some bumps in the road. You
haven’t lost your way. Your commitment ties you to the way. If you honor your commitments then you honor the
way, even if your journey is detoured from time to time.
Warriors and competitors respond well to the bumps and detours along the way. The way you respond is a
sign of your true commitment. Do you respond with perspective? Do you react well to the mishaps on the golf
course? Do you have a productive approach to assessing your play? The key is keeping perspective. And
keeping perspective requires being awake and clear in your post-shot assessment process. Are you awake
during your post-shot routine, or do you get stuck in self-absorbed analysis? Are you able to openly assess what
just happened, or do you complain about your mishaps and bad fortune? Are you able to let go of your mishaps,
or do you ruminate on your bad luck? Whatever the case, if you are going to improve, you need to find a way to
be more productive with the process. You might go as far as to say, you need to master the process.
your ability to handle life’s difficult moments. It means appreciating life’s pleasurable times. It means having
compassion for others when they struggle in life. It means being brave as you travel your own path. It means
being genuine in your actions, which means being true to yourself and believing in your own validity.
Staying true to the course is difficult because emotions often get in the way. Social conditioning often creates
a belief system which has an emotionally sensitive foundation. This being the case, we respond emotionally when
the results of our actions are undesirable. This does not mean we are hot-headed or emotionally weak. It simply
means we have a tendency to react emotionally instead of with clarity.
Even with a strong disposition, emotions are a natural part of our response mechanism. Emotions are bound
to kick-in at some point. The question is, what will you do next? How will you carry-on? Will you let go of the
issue and get back into the game? Or will you dwell on the impetus for your emotional reaction?
When emotions habitually kick-in, strive to understand their nature. Dive into the habitual thoughts and beliefs
that spark the emotional response.
Clarify the fact that the emotions are interfering with your actions. Recommit to your potential and act genuinely
by getting back into the game. So, be prepared to handle the struggles and be committed to getting back on
track when you find yourself detoured. I always remind myself – Get Back Into The Game.
By this point you may have noticed reoccurring themes. These themes include the ability to prepare yourself
properly, the ability to act genuinely, and the ability to react to your play with clarity and commitment to the vision.
Keeping these themes in perspective, and laying a foundation that will continually support their presence is critical
to the process of mastering your play.
Life is a continual journey, and the journey progresses in a cyclical manner. The game of golf also journeys in
a cyclical manner, and your preparations, actions, and reactions define the basic cycle of your life and play. This
being the case, mastering your play means being fluid with the transitions from preparation, to action, to reaction,
to assessment, and to getting back into the game.
This may not seem as exciting as learning how to drive the ball 300 yards. However, mastery is not concerned
with what’s exciting. In fact, it is often more concerned with what’s ordinary. My coach always told me, “Being
extraordinary means performing ordinary tasks extra well, or extraordinarily well.” And this is the path of mastery.
Additionally, masters never tire of taking care of the fundamentals. Masters never tire of repetition. Masters
never tire of their daily routines. Thus the accomplished golfer never tires of revisiting the fundamentals, of
executing their routines, and of taking care of the game’s cyclical process.
|New Horizons Golf Approach
I n n o v a t i v e C o a c h i n g F o r G o l f e r s
best place to begin any stage of learning is at the beginning. Growth in life always begins with the fundamental
needs. These fundamental needs are nurtured by the conditions and nutrients presented by the current
environment. Growth simply happens, and so does learning.
Now that you’ve created the fundamental vision by awakening your mind to a more productive way of being a
golfer, you have given your game some life, you have given your game the basic life force needed for growth. It
is now time to provide the proper conditions and nutrients so that improvement will simply happen. Simply put,
you’ve planted new seeds by awakening a new vision of being a golfer. Let’s make sure you keep those seeds
planted in fertile soil, while at the same time feeding them the proper nutrients.
The process you engage in provides the conditions for growth. Your thoughts, beliefs, and reflections provide
the nutrients. Therefore, maintaining a productive process will keep the conditions for growth fertile. Additionally,
understanding your thought patterns will help you understand the type of food you’re feeding your game.
Similarly, observing your beliefs and reflections will help you understand how well rounded your golf diet has
You can think of the process as the framework for conditioning. The process establishes the foundation for
growth, and defines the parameters for action and observation. You might say the process guides you into action
and helps you stay committed to the way throughout your responses. The process, therefore, is the soil you plant
the seeds in. The nutrients on the other hand influence how you perceive life’s happenings and this perception
has a profound influence on the quality of your focus. More specifically, the thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes that
create your underlying disposition are the nutrients that mold the way you perceive what’s going on in your life.
Your perceptions affect your decision making process, your behavior patterns, and your performance levels.
You would be wise to understand how your perceptions do this, and you would be wise to understand why your
perceptions tend to reoccur in habitual patterns. To understand why you tend to recreate these habitual
perceptions, you must understand the nature of your mind and what thinking habits you’ve already internalized.
So, once again it will help to understand what type of soil (the perspective and process) you’ve been planting the
seeds in, and it will help to understand the type of nutrients (the thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes) you’ve been
feeding your game.
Furthermore, understanding your nature as well as your social conditioning will also clarify the reasons for
your present conduct. Your nature will always influence your conduct authentically, while your social conditioning
may influence your conduct in a biased manner. Your nature is founded in divine principles, and it always
expresses itself genuinely. So, if your nature shines through and expresses itself in your actions, your actions will
be natural and genuine.
If your social conditioning is nurtured through a process of being genuine, your conditioning will create a
process of openness, clarity, and true perspective. Thus, the process you are engaged in will be truly
productive. If your conditioning is malnourished by corrupted principles of social acceptance, your path will
encounter contradictions and conflicting views. This will cause hesitations and doubts to arise, and will inevitably
render your journey less productive.
You can free yourself from your habitual patterns of behavior. You can change your conditioning. Remember,
what you are conditioned to do is not your nature. It is subjective. It can be reconditioned. And, a productive
reconditioning process can open your perception, awaken your senses, and clarify your observations. The result
of this reconditioning process is the restoration of your conduct to a natural way of being.
It may help to reflect on such concerns as, “How do I act when I express my true nature,” and “What path to
performance do my habitual thoughts guide me down? Do my habitual thought patterns allow me to manifest
myself in a productive manner? Or, do they guide me into the non-productive process of rumination? Do my
thought patterns facilitate the process of being task oriented, or do they lead me out of the present and into the
fantasy worlds of expectations, what ifs, and woulda-shoulda-coulda’s?”
If your thought patterns continually lead you astray, then they are not providing the type of nutrients your
game needs – Sticking to a diet of ice cream and candy will not make you a fit athlete. If unhealthy thought
patterns continually reoccur, I might suggest you ponder the question, “Where am I when my thoughts cease to
exist?” I know for myself, when my thoughts become absent I find myself exactly where I am – aware of my
present state of being. You might also inquire, “Who am I when I have no thoughts?” This one you’ll have to
answer for yourself.
Purity of action depends on having a present state of awareness. By being aware and fluid with your present
focus, you are able to stay tuned into exactly what needs to be done. However, when thoughts are engaged and
mental conversations begin, it becomes impossible to focus. Instead, you become stuck in the fantasy world of
mental hypothesis. The what-ifs pop up, replacing the reality of what needs to happen, now. The woulda-
shoulda-coulda’s then support the story with Oscar winning performances. In the end, it was all an illusion. An
illusion that turned into a nightmare, full of fear, doubt, frustration, and misdirected actions.
The only way around the fantasizing process is to make a commitment to being present more often. When you
notice the nightmare thought process manifesting itself, make the commitment to snap out of the mental state and
return to a productive process of awareness and absorption.
Getting back to a process of awareness and absorption can be facilitated by a mechanism for recommitment.
You can use a saying as a trigger, you can use a mantra to restore your natural disposition, or you can use a
meditative process to return to the present. There are many productive processes to choose from, you simply
need to commit to one of them in the moment.
No matter what process you choose, choose one that keeps you grounded in principles that make the soil
fertile. The main goal of this process will be to replace the non-productive patterns of thought and behavior with a
healthy diet of awareness and genuine conduct. With the present state of awareness and conduct established
you can get back to trusting your skills and playing enjoyable golf.
Table of Contents
Chapter Two- A Nurturing Attitude 17
Chapter Three- Being Genuine 21
Chapter Four- Being Open Minded 30
Chapter Six- Performance: The Goal of Action 47
Chapter Seven- Recommitting: Staying The Course 57
Chapter Eight- Composure: Being Purposeful In Golf 62
Chapter Ten- Imagery: The Perspective of Performance 83
Chapter Eleven- Focusing: Better Performance Exercises 89
Chapter Twelve- The Edge: The Gift of Wholeness 108