Prelude

        Since I was a boy I’ve been fascinated with the ability of accomplished performers to maintain their focus
    and composure in the most pressure filled situations.  The feats of acrobats, martial artists, marksman, and
    all other precision athletes always intrigued me.  Additionally, the best of the best in every sport seemed to
    make everyone else look simply average.  I always wondered, what makes these performers so special?  
    What type of edge did they have over everyone else?
        As I played a variety of sports growing up, it became quite clear to me that having talent and ability was
    not enough.  Some of the most talented athletes have a tendency to fold under pressure, and some of the
    more averagely talented athletes seem to pull off the most magnificent plays when it most counts.  In most
    sports even the best performers experience periods of slumps.  However, there are those few that always
    seem to have an edge.  They always seem to make the most of their abilities.  With these observations in
    mind, my life became a quest for the answers to developing the edge.
        Staying committed to this quest took me on an athletic journey.  I played many sports in my youth,
    including gymnastics, tae kwon do, tennis, football, baseball, basketball, soccer, judo, water polo, archery,
    and of course golf.  Since the first time I stepped on a driving range at the age of 9, golf was always my real
    passion.  So when I turned 18 I made my first choice as an adult, I was to be a professional golfer.  At that
    moment I committed my life entirely to golf, and golf became the venue for engaging in the quest.
        Surprisingly the quest for the performance edge would lead me to the fields of philosophy, psychology,
    kinesiology, nutrition, fitness, awareness training, and personal growth.  And through it all I’ve become a
    coach as well as a performer.
        In 1992 I suffered a career threatening injury.  I was unable to play golf for 4 years, incurred two
    surgeries, and underwent three years of physical therapy.  In 1996 my doctors thought I’d never play golf
    again.  However, I am happy to say I currently hold a +5 handicap.  This seven-year journey to solve my
    physical problems provided me the opportunity to understand what truly makes the difference as a
    performer.  Although my physical skills had not been trained for many years, and although my body was
    much less fit than before my injuries, I was still able to score under par as soon as I was cleared to play golf.  
    As a matter of fact, I shot 70 in my first round of golf after being cleared by my doctors to play.  Since that
    round, I have regained my form and have become an even better performer, accumulating 6 hole-in-ones
    and setting over a dozen course records.  So, what’s made the difference, where did this performance edge
    come from, it certainly wasn’t physical.
        Many of these answers came to me while coaching others to reach their potential.  Though I was injured
    for all those years, being injured did not prohibit me from coaching.  As a coach I spent much of my time
    observing the habits, tendencies, mind-sets, and performance characteristics of my students.  It was within
    these observations that many of the answers have been found.
        As a player I had an incredible coach.  He opened my eyes to what real coaching is all about.  Early on he
    noticed my inquisitive nature, and he knew my thirst for knowledge would lead me to the arena of coaching.  
    So, as my mentor he made the choice to share with me his insights into the field of coaching.  Thus, I to
    became a coach.  For that I am truly grateful, and I give thanks to my coach and friend Fred Shoemaker
    (author of Extraordinary Golf).
        Coaches open doors, they inspire awareness, they observe patterns in behavior, and share their
    observations with their students.  Coaches help students become aware of how their thoughts, beliefs,
    disposition, and response mechanisms affect their performance.  Coaches help awaken their students to the
    processes of productivity, efficiency, cause and effect, habit formation, trust and confidence, and the way of
    being your genuine self.  Coaches guide their students into enlightened states, where factors of
    performance become obvious and natural.
        A coach’s first step is to open the door to the way you’ll eventually approach your life.  Then the coach
    helps nurture this process.  Your coach does this by helping awaken your senses, and this helps you
    become more in tune to what is going on in your environment.  Awareness awakens you to true vision,
    effortless focus, unconditional confidence, and the freedom to be genuine in your actions.  In short, coaches
    help you become aware of the state of being that guides you into the performance zone.
        Volumes of instructional materials have been compiled with regard to the golfer’s swing technique, and
    improvements in equipment and course conditions are well documented, however, the average golfers
    handicap has not improved over the past 40 years.  Of course, instruction and technology do make the ball
    go further, which does influence the average golfers enjoyment and ego levels – if only briefly.  However, this
    does not guarantee better performance, because once the golfers inconsistencies catch up to him, the
    enjoyment factor once again diminishes.
         Let’s take a peek into the state of being all accomplished players experience regularly.  Accomplished
    players embody a sense of calmness and peace of mind.  Their actions are free of tension and their focus is
    locked into target-oriented images.  They are aware of their surroundings and committed to a game plan.  
    Accomplished golfers are sure of the skills they possess, and understanding of the skills they have not yet
    internalized.  With all this in mind, accomplished golfers maintain a productive disposition, one full of
    possibility and unconditional confidence.  Finally, they appear to address the ball with calm preparation, they
    swing confidently, and they reflect on each performance with a sense of perspective.
        The average golfer embodies a state of uncertainty.  Their minds are full of mental chatter and they often
    entertain images of impending disaster.  Average golfers are unsure of their skills and lacking in the
    necessary confidence.  Therefore, the average golfer is full of anxiety, born of mental distractions, resulting
    in interference, followed by misdirected actions and emotional responses.  Thus, average golfers address
    the ball in a state of tension, swing with either hesitation or aggressive fury, and react to their performances
    emotionally.  Which way do you want to be on the golf course?
        As you can see, there are considerable obstacles for the average golfer to overcome, whereas the
    accomplished golfer has learned how to by pass the obstacles by being focused and genuine in his actions.  
    For the average golfer to become an accomplished golfer she, too, will need to develop a more confident
    and productive approach to golf.
        Becoming an accomplished golfer involves changing the way you perceive the game.  It involves
    developing a new way of being on the golf course.  You cannot show up to the golf course with the same old
    habits, same old mind-set, and same old attitude and reason that you’ll have totally different and much more
    acceptable results.  You must make a choice to change, and before you make the choice you must be willing
    to acknowledge that how you already do things does not work.
        So, change is a process of awakening ourselves to the way we are, the way we act, the way we respond,
    and the way we continue from this point on.  This means, we must be awakened to our way of being on the
    golf course.  This begs the question, “Are your habits a hindrance or an asset on the golf course?”  “Do you
    have a productive disposition, or do you act with hidden agendas lurking in the back of your mind?”  Knowing
    the answers to these questions involves understanding your nature, and understanding your nature will
    involve the process of reflection.  Are you willing to go there?
        If you do not know your nature, then you won’t be able to depend on yourself in the moment of action.  To
    understand your nature you’ll need to observe your mental state and your response patterns.  By observing
    your mental state as you prepare to play, you become aware of how your thoughts influence your choices
    and actions.  And by observing your mental state as you respond to your actions, you’ll become aware of
    how your thoughts influence your evolving attitude as well as your next move.  This whole cycle involves a
    process of productive reflections, which is a developed skill.
        There is an art to productive reflection.  Reflections happen after the fact.  They are observed and let
    go.  If reflections become rumination, you become stuck in your mental conversations and detached from the
    moment.  You become engrossed in habitual thoughts of past and future, and you get caught up in your
    expectations.  As the habitual thinking is born, awareness is lost, the present recesses into the fog of internal
    conversation, the moment passes you by, and you are left being MENTAL.
        It interests me that golf is commonly believed to be a mental game.  I don’t believe it.  I feel that people
    are mental, and people become too mental during their play.  Furthermore, being mental creates
    interferences that lead to distractions, and being distracted leads to misdirected actions.  Remember, all
    inhibitions start with a mental process.  Therefore, I feel it is beneficial for the golfer to be less mental.  I feel
    each golfer should learn to quiet the mind and open the senses.  I believe the game should be played
    through the senses with an open mind and a genuine nature.  
        However, since people are mental, they need to be prepared for those moments when they become too
    mental, and they would do well to be committed to a process that will allow them to play more naturally,
    authentically, and without inhibitions.  To do this, it is critical you understand your mental patterns and how
    they influence your productivity.
        Being authentic involves being genuine in your behavior, being genuine in your responses to life’s
    situations, and having genuine intentions at the beginning, in the middle, and in the end.  Being genuine
    requires letting go of your social conditioning, freeing yourself from your habitual thinking, and clarifying your
    observations.  Lastly, it involves making the choice to conduct yourself courageously, because being
    genuine does not come easily once you’ve been conditioned to accept societal norms.
        You may have noticed, it will take a lot of commitment to prepare yourself for this task.  For preparation
    involves knowing your disposition and having the fortitude to honor your commitments.  It means keeping
    your intentions clear and approaching your game with a sense of purpose, a purpose beyond the goal of
    simply scoring well.  This purpose may involve acting genuinely while honoring your nature.  And acting
    genuinely will involve being aware, fluid, in focus, and unconditionally confident.  To achieve all this you’ll
    have to let go of your mental tendencies and give into a natural state of being disposed.
        So, with this in mind I’d like to know, “What is the next manifesting level of your game?  Will your game
    become stagnant?  Will you allow yourself to adapt and grow?  Will you be stifled by your ruminating habits?  
    Or, Will you manifest your being genuinely?”  To do so, your preparation must provide a sound foundation,
    your actions must satisfy the basic needs of the game, and your responses will need to support your
    intentions.
        In closing, to find your focal edge you’ll need to create a new outlook about your game.  This means,
    defining a path of productivity, establishing a disposition of unconditional confidence, awakening yourself to
    your true nature and honoring its authenticity.  It means being true to yourself while understanding the
    nature of your mentality.  This is the task of Focus On Golf – Creating the Golfer’s Edge.  I hope you enjoy
    the journey, and I invite you to join the quest.



    Chapter One:The Awakening

        If you want to change your game, it’s time to awaken your mind and senses to a new way of approaching your
    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.


    The Vision:

        The new outlook will contain a clear perspective.  Having such a perspective is the foundation for growth and
    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
    conducts himself.
        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
    that manner.
        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
    commitments.
        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.


    The Process:

        The warrior notices how her belief system and response mechanisms constantly influence the way she acts,
    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.


    Mastering The Process:

        Mastering the way means being prepared to live life’s challenges.  It means having unconditional confidence in
    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.



    Chapter Three: Being Genuine

       What does it mean to be genuine?  Let’s start with the question “How are you being while playing on the golf
    course?”  What are your modes of preparation, performance, and purpose?  What is your mode of
    responding, reframing, and recommitting to the cycle of golf?  Do you have a clear process of preparation?  
    Are you performance-oriented by clarifying and committing to the best courses of action?  Do you find a way
    of being productive and purposeful in between golf shots? Do you respond well by assessing what happens
    and reframing your mind-set to stick to the chosen game plan?  Do you follow-up your responses by
    recommitting to the process?  Or is your play cluttered with being indecisive, hasty, and emotionally reactive?
       Changing the way you play means changing the way you are being on the golf course.  There are many
    things that define your being, and there are many things that influence the way you are being in the moment.  
    Your actions, attitudes, and reactions are the obvious contributors to your mode of being a golfer.  Your
    thoughts, beliefs, and underlying disposition provide some of the more subtle influences.  However, the more
    subtle influences require your undivided attention.  This is because the subtle influences are often harder to
    recognize.  They also demand greater commitment to maintain productivity.  Additionally, they have just as
    much impact as the obvious factors.
       When a subtle influence sneaks up and catches you by surprise, it can often cause what I call a train-
    wreck.  A train-wreck is the process of mental chatter turning into mental conversation, followed by distracted
    focus, resulting in poor performance, culminating in emotional reactions, and a loss of purpose.  Then the
    cycle continues, snowballing and escalating into a state of being defensive and emotionally frustrated.
       Most golfers have found themselves stuck in this process.  And I have not met anyone yet that enjoys it.  
    The whole process feels unnatural and unlike our true self.  We all know it’s not our true nature to act this
    way.  We all know we’d be different if we were able to maintain our composure.  We all instinctively know our
    best golf comes from within, from some place that houses our genuine nature.  So, why do we get stuck in the
    process of habitual thoughts and train-wrecks?
       We get stuck in the process because we don’t recognize what causes us to act, or be, the way we are while
    playing on the golf course.  And we don’t recognize the causes because they are extremely subtle.  They are
    so subtle because they are the underlying fibers of our being human.  So, if we are going to understand why
    we behave the way we do, we need to understand the underlying influences that cause us to behave the way
    we do.
       Most golfers understand that their actions, attitudes, emotions, and reactions influence their performance
    and their score.  However, they are unaware of how their upbringing, their social conditioning, and their belief
    system influences their play.  I am often asked, “Why do I need to consider these factors, they have nothing to
    do with the rules and skills of golf?”  
       That may be so, but the rules and skills of golf do not play themselves.  You have to play your way around
    the golf course with your skills, within the guidelines of the rules, while expressing your manner of being alive
    on this earth.  When you are on the golf course, you are still existing as yourself, in your life.  You cannot
    escape yourself, your humanity, your conditioning, and all the baggage you’ve accumulated in life simply
    because you are playing golf.  Oh, sure you can try.  And you may even succeed for brief moments at a time.  
    But, your underlying disposition is going to catch up with you, especially during an activity that takes over 4
    hours to play.  So, the first parameter of life is, as long as you are alive you will find yourself in your life.  
    Whether at work, home, or playing golf, you’d better find a way of being yourself that reflects a process of
    living well
        How do we live well?  We do so by living our lives without carrying around all the unnecessary and negative
    baggage we humans tend to hang on to.  It seems to me, the more baggage I carry with me the harder it will
    be to act and react as my true self.  It seems to me, the more baggage I carry around, the harder it will be to
    be productive.  It seems to me, the more baggage I carry around, the harder it will be to reach my potential.  
    Why, because negativity attracts negativity, and productivity attracts productivity.  
        For example, the more negative baggage I carry around, the less attractive my disposition appears to the
    people I meet in the world.  In some respects I become less presentable to the world.  Other people sense the
    negativity and react to it.  Other negative people may relate to it and be attracted to it, while more positive
    people will recognize it and want to stay away from it.  And, it is clear the more you surround yourself with
    negative people and negative influences, the harder it is to break out of the negative situation.  Therefore, I
    choose to conduct myself in a manner in which I am more likely to attract productive people into my life.  This
    will gravitate my life toward more productive situations and more productive opportunities, making it easier to
    reach my goals.
        So, how do I live my life free of all this baggage?  I can use meditation as a way of freeing myself from the
    bonds of negativity.  I can use positive thinking to wade my way out of the swampland of negativity, or I can put
    blinders on in an effort to screen myself from potential negativity.  However, none of these guarantee that
    negativity will not creep back into my mind.  They too have limitations.
        Isn’t there a way of being genuine right from the get go?  Isn’t there a way of being my true self that simply
    says “No Thank You” when it sees negativity coming?  Isn’t there a way of being me that allows me to make
    the simple choices and commitments that will keep me true to a productive way of living?  And if there is,
    wouldn’t that way of being provide me a more purified foundation for acting productively?  Wouldn’t this way of
    being myself keep my actions and responses true to the most genuine way of living?  Wouldn’t this way of
    being reflect my play in the light of my true potential?
        Of course, I can use meditation, positive thinking, and blind faith as tools to guide me through those
    moments when I’ve lost my way.  However, I’d much rather stay committed to the process of being genuine in
    my life.  What will your way of being genuine reveal about your true nature?  Wouldn’t you like to find out?
        I associate being genuine with conducting yourself while honoring your divine nature.  I believe we are all
    born into this world with a sense of living life as an expression of our true nature.  I believe this is the purpose
    of life, and to its end I believe we are born into this life with a nature that is full of possibility.  I believe our true
    nature is a divine gift, bestowed upon us for the purpose of reaching our potential.
        I told my mom once, when I see old pictures of myself as a baby I had a certain look in my eyes.  It reflected
    divinity, it had a genuine feel.  That look stayed through my adolescent years, however, it slowly changed until
    enough of it was lost that I no longer had what could be called “the look.”  I felt like I had lost that part of me.  
    However, it could only be hiding because I knew it was inside me somewhere, deep inside.  I told her, “I want
    that look back, it’s mine, God’s gift to me, and it shows me that I am perceiving life through my genuine nature.”
        When I peer into a baby’s eyes I see the look.  When I peer into a toddler’s eyes I see the look 90% of the
    time.  When I peer into a child’s eyes I see the look 70% of the time.  When I peer into a teen’s eyes, I see the
    look 50% of the time.  When I look into an adults eyes I see the look maybe 20% of the time.  Why is it that we
    are born into this life with the sense of divine potential?  Why is it that a baby’s eyes look out into the world
    while reflecting this sense of potential?  And why is it that an adult’s eyes rarely reflect this sense?  
        I believe our eyes are the windows to our soul, and the soul is the gate-keeper of our genuine nature.  
    Although we are born into this world with the purpose of reaching our potential through a process of acting
    genuine, social conditioning finds a way to introduce corrosive influences.  I believe it is the job of the soul to
    guide us through life in such a way to maintain our original nature.  However, the soul often becomes overly
    protective.  It decides to shield our divine nature from the corruptive influences instead of mentoring us to
    understand which influences are productive and which are destructive.
        If the soul decides to put up the shield to keep us from ever seeing these influences, the shield eventually
    becomes covered with corrosive influences.  The more these negative influences pile up, the stronger the
    shield becomes.  The tighter the gate-keeper locks up the doors you might say.  Thus, the soul accepts the
    corruption in such a way to completely shield and isolate our divine nature from life’s influences.
        The more corrupt the process, the less the individual’s genuine nature shines through.  Thus, the look in
    the eyes changes.  This does not mean that the individual’s genuine nature stops shining, it is simply hidden
    behind the corrosive coating the soul has accumulated.  You might say, the sun is still shining behind the dark
    clouds of negativity.
        In the film Star Wars they talk about the “Dark-Side” and the “Force.”  The dark side represents the over
    abundance of corruptive influences absorbed into the soul.  The force represents the light of life, it expresses
    unconditional trust in one’s divine nature.  Even Darth Vader still housed the brightness of his genuine
    nature.  He simply lost faith and chose to give into the influences of the dark-side.  The lesson here is that the
    key to letting your divine nature shine through is to have unconditional trust in your genuine nature.
        What the soul often forgets is one’s genuine nature cannot be corrupted.  It can be hidden, shielded, and
    locked away, but it can never become corrupted.  Its essence is divine, its source is “the force.”  So, like an
    over protective parent the soul tries to shield, hide, and lock away the child from life’s dark-side.  However, in
    the end this over protective process fails, because it neglects to prepare the child for the inevitable meeting
    between life and its dark-side.
        Good parents do not commit themselves 100% to protecting their children.  They support and educate their
    children.  They also provide their children with the opportunity to learn from life, and to learn from their
    mistakes.  They prepare their children for interaction in the world.  They help their children learn the values of
    commitment, integrity, and honor.  They impress upon their children the virtue of living, responding, and
    carrying on well in their lives.  They show their children that having unconditional confidence in their true
    nature is the only validation and the only source of guidance needed by a responsible person.  They show
    their children that trust is an indispensable tool in the process.  They show their children by placing trust in
    their children.  They trust that by nurturing the child’s true nature, the child will consistently make good choices
    and learn from her mistakes.
        Throughout this whole process the individual learns on her own the value of self.  The individual learns to
    unconditionally commit to her true nature.  And if the individual does so she will learn that her nature cannot
    be corrupted.  In knowing this she will develop unconditional confidence in herself.  For the only validation we
    need in life is knowing our own divine nature.  
        If we connect to our divine nature and commit to acting genuinely, we are being true to ourselves and we
    have nothing to be ashamed of.  In the film The Legend of Bagger Vance, Bagger tells Junuh that he must find
    his authentic swing.  He has Junuh watch Bobby Jones as he prepares to swing.  As they watch, they notice
    how Bobby Jones seems to be looking down the fairway in such a way to absorb himself and his swing into the
    field of play.  At that moment, “the field” had very distinct energies connecting everything together, and Bobby
    Jones was simply trying to find his place in the field.  For each moment, there exists an authentic swing for
    each individual.  A swing that connects the golfer, the field of play, and the moment.  And it is this swing, the
    one that is unique to us and also fits the situation that is our authentic swing.
        The only way you can act authentically is by believing in your true nature.  This does not come easy.  It
    involves unconditional commitment and faith.  It involves letting go of your past and future.  It means
    committing to the now through a sense of your own divine presence, “I am here to be myself and express my
    potential.  It is my destiny, whether I realize it in this life or the next, and I will conduct myself while honoring its
    origins.”  This is the attitude of an authentic being.
        The following quote from Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead also expresses this process.  It is a tribute to the
    process of being genuine, of being true to oneself.  The quote is from the introduction and I will pick it up here:

            “It is not the works, but the beliefs which is here decisive and determines the order of rank – to employ
    once more an old religious formula with a new and deeper meaning – it is some fundamental certainty which a
    noble soul has about itself, something which is not to be sought, is not to be found, and perhaps, also, is not
    to be lost.- The noble soul has reverence for itself.-“ (Friedrich Nietzche, Beyond Good and Evil.)

    This view of man has rarely been expressed in human history.  Today it is virtually non-existent.  Yet this is the
    view with which - in various degrees of longing, wistfulness, passion and agonized confusion – the best of
    mankind’s youth start out in life.  It is not even a view, for most of them, but a foggy, groping, undefined sense
    of raw pain and incommunicable happiness.  It is a sense of enormous expectation, the sense that one’s life is
    important, that great achievements are within one’s capacity, and that great things lie ahead.

    It is not in the nature of man – nor of any living entity – to start out by giving up, by spitting in one’s own face
    and damning existence; that requires a process of corruption whose rapidity differs from man to man.  Some
    give up at the first touch of pressure; some sell out; some run down by imperceptible degrees and lose their
    fire, never knowing when or how they lost it.  Then all of these vanish in the vast swamp of their elders who tell
    them persistently that maturity consists of abandoning one’s mind; security, of abandoning one’s values;
    practicality, of losing self-esteem.  Yet a few hold on and move on, knowing that the fire is not to be betrayed,
    learning how to give it shape, purpose and reality.  But whatever their future, at the dawn of their lives, men
    seek a noble vision of man’s nature and of life’s potential.

    …..It does not matter that only a few of each generation will grasp and achieve the full reality of man’s proper
    stature – and that the rest will betray it.  It is those few that move the world and give life its meaning – and it is
    those few that I have always sought to address.  The rest are no concern of mine; it is not me or The
    Fountainhead that they will betray: it is their own souls.

    Ayn Rand
    New York, May 1968”


        This passage has captivated me since I first read it, and its essence has stayed with me my whole life.  I,
    too, believe that, “The noble soul has reverence for itself.” I believe such a soul honors life’s commitments with
    true integrity, and I believe such a soul acts with dignity, with the intention of being genuine in one’s conduct.
        If we are born into this life with such a genuine presence; If we are born into this life with such divine
    purpose; then we should honor this intention by feeding purposeful fuel to the fire, not by trying to smother it
    out through corrosive philosophies and corruptive social acceptance.  So, since we are born into such a noble
    presence, why not seek a way of living that expresses its genuine being?  Why not commit to living life in a
    most genuine manner?
        Of course, even this idea is a philosophy, a sort of ideology about a better way of life and play.  You’ll have
    to decide for yourself whether being genuine in your actions is a better way of being on this earth, in this
    lifetime.  You’ll have to decide for yourself whether being genuine in your conduct will help you realize your
    potential.  You’ll have to decide for yourself whether being genuine in your responsive behavior will help keep
    you true to the path of better play.
        I do know this, if you do not give being genuine a try, then you’ll never know how it can influence the quality
    of your life and play.  Conversely, if you commit to being genuine in your conduct, your actions, and your
    behavioral responses, you will certainly know how it influences the quality of your life.  And remember, when
    you are playing golf, your life is golf for the moment.  So, I urge you to seek your genuine nature, to become
    best friends with your original self, and to commit to being as authentic as possible until you understand its
    influences.



    “Being genuine means finding, committing to, and acting through your divine nature.”
Copyright 2006 EA Tischler - New Horizons Golf Approach. All rights reserved.
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

    Chapter Two: A Nurturing Attitude

        Chapter One may have seemed like an unlikely introduction on how to focus on golf.  However, I believe the
    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
    become.
        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

    Prelude:  New Beginnings                                                2

    Part One:  The Golfer’s Disposition
    Chapter One-        The Awakening                                                 10
    Chapter Two-         A Nurturing Attitude                                        17
    Chapter Three-      Being Genuine                                                 21
    Chapter Four-        Being Open Minded                                        30


    Part Two:  Cornerstones for Improvement
    Chapter Five-         Readiness: The Goal of Preparation             38                                     
    Chapter Six-           Performance: The Goal of Action                   47         
    Chapter Seven-      Recommitting: Staying The Course               57
    Chapter Eight-        Composure:  Being Purposeful In Golf         62

    Part Three:  Keeping The Process Fertile
    Chapter Nine-        Mindfulness: Monitoring the Patterns           70
    Chapter Ten-         Imagery: The Perspective of Performance     83
    Chapter Eleven-    Focusing: Better Performance Exercises      89
    Chapter Twelve-    The Edge: The Gift of Wholeness                   108             

This information on this webpage was published in
EA.Tischler's self-published book "Focus On Golf -
Creating The Golfer's Edge".  Copyright 2002, 2006
by EA Tischler. All rights reserved.