Ancient Romans played a game with curved sticks and a small ball. The object was to play the ball continually
until you struck a pole a designated distance away. Although a primitive representation of golf, it was definitely
among the family of golfing games. This is not the only story of golf like games predating modern origins. There
are many theories as to where the game originated. I like to believe that the game simply evolved from a variety
of different sources, some of which arose spontaneously without influence of each other. No matter what
historians might argue, the modern game is generally accepted to have originated in Scotland.
The game has such a lure, that even in ancient Scotland, where the modern origins are so strongly rooted, it
was once outlawed. Golf became so popular that the people of Scotland preferred playing the game to practicing
archery. Since archery was the country's main line of defense, something had to been done about golf's
overpowering influence on the population. Hence, golf was declared illegal. What a testimony to the game.
The game is like a huge cultural beacon, luring all to its mystique. In every part of the world, and across
numerous cultural boundaries, golf has become the most unifying of games. No matter where you are from, what
language you speak, and what ideologies you might hold true, the game of golf touches all. Players in one
country can watch players from another, and still understand the inner struggle all golfers go through. If you are
a golfer, you certainly understand the type of strife every other golfer experiences while engaged in the golfing
journey. Thus, even though you search for your own answers, you also sympathize with everyone else's
struggle. Throughout this process you are sure to understand the yearning to master what's truly possible for
your game. Although you may believe your goal is to master the external the game, you must realize that you are
truly trying to become the master of your own destiny, and you search for mastery by engaging in the game and
testing your understanding of life.
For most individuals, the best way to mastery is the natural way. One of the fundamental premises of the
natural way is that the game should be played and controlled by your natural hand.
Throughout the ages, all sports have been designed to challenge, or test our natural abilities. The challenge
was to heighten our awareness by utilizing our senses. The test is to apply this awareness under the most
adverse conditions. In order to achieve these goals, you must command the sensitivity of your body, the mentality
of your mind, and the fortitude of your inner resolve.
Among all the available challenges, I believe golf to be the ultimate test. The physical demands are of a most
precise and technical nature, while the inner challenges are the game's greatest attraction.
The greatest challenge in life is not competing against an opponent, or facing death. It's enduring, adapting,
and overcoming your own internal struggle. It is finding out what makes you truly happy. It is discovering the
limits of what you alone can do. It is finding fulfillment out of life. It is deciding for your self what success really is.
Furthermore, it's achieving peace of mind. You must find these things out for yourself, and yourself alone. Along
the way, you must face your fears and uncertainties head on if you are going to find meaning in your life.
The reason golf is so luring, is that golf is one of the only games which provides you with the opportunity to
accept total responsibility for your actions. The way you deal with the enfolding of the game is your responsibility
alone, and it is the product of your internal actions. This is not to say that you have total control over what is
going to happen, it is merely to say that you must make your choices, and live with them, without placing blame.
With this in mind, I believe each player knows for himself that only he is to blame for his poor play, even if he does
not outwardly admit it. Since you must accept sole responsibility for your actions, you alone deserve the
pleasures of success. However, as you watch others execute extraordinary performances, you too may rejoice.
Since you can sympathize with others struggles, you can also celebrate in their glory. This is partly because their
success renews our beliefs in what is truly possible for our selves.
Golf's field of play is the most interactive of playgrounds. It combines the elements of nature, the pressures of
conflict, and our own internal struggles. Our position in relation to the hole is always changing, and the
possibilities are infinite. The elements of nature provide us with the struggle for survival. This struggle challenges
us to endure, to become adaptable, to have courage and fortitude.
The opponents we face may not be those who we compete against. It may be the person who developed the
course design. Many golfers never compete in tournaments. They simply enjoy the gifts the game provides.
However, these players too have an opponent. It is often said, "The player must play the course." When we play
poorly, we often say, "The course got the best of me today." Well, isn't it really the golf course architect who got
the best of you that day?
Architects design our fields of honor, by assessing the lay of the land and integrating it through their skills and
knowledge, into an immense playground of opportunity. The architect himself knows the quest, because he
himself is looking for the answers to his own questions of life. The architect imagines what others might fear, as
well as utilizes his own uncertainties. Thus, whether consciously or subconsciously, he expresses his desires
through course design, challenging us to clarify our deepest doubts.
The fact is, no man enters this world completely enlightened. Therefore life becomes a journey, or quest, for
such understanding. We are, however, born with the skills necessary for meeting the challenge. Along the way,
some hide from the invitation, while others feel life's fire burning deep in their soul. Some give up at unassuming
moments along the way, others give everything they have to honor life's quest. No matter who you may be,
whether hider, or voyager, all know the adventure while playing on the fields of honor. In other words, Golf affords
us all the opportunity to both pursue and experience, the most valuable lessons of life. As you encounter each
pole, you must assess for yourself what you must do next. In this manner you cannot escape your own
uncertainties. Thus, even without the elements of nature, and the architect’s choreography, you would still have
to face your own mentality.
Although most of us think we know why we play the game, I believe it's because of the reasons we are not yet
aware of that keep us coming back. It is precisely because we have not answered the most allusive of life's
questions that we renew the search another day. No matter what level of accomplishment you reach, the game
always seems to have more to offer. Furthermore, whether we want to or not, everyone brings all aspects of their
life to the golf course. For golf is life, and life is golf. Whether happy, sad, frustrated, arrogant, or humble, you
cannot put aside your emotions, or your character. Thus, you come to express your inner self through the game.
As you begin to express your inner self you come to understand that you are truly in search of balance
throughout your life and golf. You also realize that the product of this balance is peace of mind, and that the only
way you can achieve this peace of mind is by becoming truly open with yourself. Once at peace with your self, the
world appears as a totally new environment, one that is more vivid and intriguing. At this point, life becomes
The golfer tees it up at the first. He shows himself in front of the clubhouse, the world, and God. At this
moment he cannot remember a time he felt more naked. For, the events leading up to and surrounding the first
tee experience are sure to expose the depths of the player's character. The way the player tees up his ball, the
club he chooses to play, the time he takes to prepare himself, the undertaking of his practice swing, and the
mannerisms induced by the awareness of such exposure, all illuminate the extent of the player's character. The
golfer instinctively knows that the quality of his tee shot will disclose much more than the level of his golfing
accomplishment. It shows whether the player has the courage to overcome the uncertainty of even further
exposure. It shows whether his Will is strong enough to overcome his fears and doubts. It shows whether he has
enough confidence to take a chance with his inner self. It shows whether he has trust in his destinal resolve.
Furthermore, the way the player reacts to his play further illustrates the fortitude of the Self.
As the golfer prepares to play his first shot, he's overwhelmed with feelings of uncertainty. For within the next
few moments the possibility exists the player will reveal much more than he wishes. The possibility also exists that
something truly extraordinary might happen. Therefore, even though the player may have to face the
consequences of his insecurities, he is compelled to take the chance that he will express his potential. Hence, the
essence of the game is rooted in the dubious nature of the golfer's journey. Consequently, to say that the score
is the important thing would truly be an injustice.
Even though every golfer understands the mystery of the first tee, we all continue to accept the game's
challenge. You might say the quest is an addiction. For although the game's side effects can be quite unsettling,
the game's mystical flavor keeps us coming back for more. No matter how low our slumps may take us, the
exhilaration of the highs keep our hopes for the future alive. It is precisely because the future provides us with
the possibility that all the energies of the game will come together within one majestic moment that we are
habituated to playing. The first tee experience is also like a trigger that sets the whole adventure into motion. For
it is the anticipation of what might come next that compels us to forge our way off the tee and into the playing
field. Once the trigger is pulled, everything that follows will inevitably unravel like a mystery.
As the player walks off the first tee, he embarks on an adventure that is certain to be full of discovery. Along
the way, he is sure to come face to face with the rogue in himself as well as the dignitary, the coward as well as
the hero, and the doubter as well as the venturer. Within his first couple of steps off the first tee, he feels as if
he's passing through an invisible portal. It's as if he's stepping into another plane of existence. The air feels
crisp, the colors of nature seem more conspicuous, and the sounds of the game seem to be more resonant. The
game has a way of awakening our senses to a higher level of receptivity. We tend to notice the freshness of the
grass under our feet, the warmth of the sun on our skin, the smell of the flora in the air, and we enjoy the courses
whose aesthetic appeal reaches beyond the ordinary. When the views are spectacular, we seem to tap into some
imperceptible source of cosmic energy. We seem to be filled with this energy, as if we are charged by the beauty
of it all.
As the player approaches his ball, he has visions of grandeur. He imagines what it would be to experience his
best round, and he calculates how he's going to go about realizing this vision. The player assesses the lie of the
ball, and in doing so appraises the extent of his abilities. He finds some correlation between the difficulty of the lie
and the level of confidence he has in himself. If the player gives in to the doubter, then he may find himself
searching for a preferred lie. Where as, if he honors being a venturer, he will play it as it lies. With the decision
made, his work is only just begun. He must plunge forward, finding some way to play the next shot.
Before playing the shot he must pin point his target, and evaluate the relationship between the ball, the target,
and his talent for the game. He must assess the lay of the land, and determine the magnitude of the obstacles
that lie ahead. He must establish a line of flight and formulate a course of action. The player can opt to be
conservative by choosing a play that is entirely within his comfort zone, or he can dare to play beyond his present
level of confidence. If his present goals involve the quality of score, then he would be wise to play within himself.
However, if he'd rather experience the full extent of sport, then he may choose to take a more bold approach. If
his goal is to expand the limits of his present horizons, then he should anchor himself well within the outer limits of
his game while routinely braving the unknown that lies just beyond his present boundaries.
No matter what choice the individual might make, his sole responsibility is to accept the consequences of his
decision. If he decides to stay within his comfort zone, he must accept the fact that he has passed up an
opportunity to experience what's beyond his present understanding. If he chooses to dare the uncertainty that
lies within the outer regions of the game, then he must accept the fact that he may become captive to the
precarious nature of the unknown. Whatever path the player decides to tour, the eminent experience is sure to
afford him the opportunity to expand the limits of his awareness as well as his state of mind.
As his second shot flies through the air, there is a feeling of anxious anticipation. For within the next few
moments, the ball may come to rest within the safe haven of the green, or it may find some hazardous demise. As
we watch the ball fly through the air, we truly wish it to find a generous position in relations to the cup. Even
though this is the case, we will not be truly happy unless it reaches this position in the proper manner. No one is
happy with a shot that is sculled up to the pin, nor are we happy with the shots that ricochet off pending
obstacles. We may graciously accept the gift of good fortune. However, we know in our hearts that we are
searching for much more than these simply random strokes of luck.
If the shot does not find the cradle of the green, then we are reminded of the fact that no matter how difficult
the job, we must continue until the job is finished. We must find a way of forging on, making up for any
misdirected efforts we may have encountered. Then once we reach the green, we are presented with precisely
the task of finishing the job. We find solace in the act of holing the putt.
Because, no matter what preceded the holing of the ball, the fact that we holed it shows that we've stayed
dedicated to the basic commitments of life. Furthermore, it shows that we understand these commitments and
value their gravity. There's a sense of completion, fulfillment, and integrity upon holing the putt, and until you do
so, it would not feel proper to move on. For anything left undone is sure to weigh heavily on the future of
confidently achieving our goals.
As the golfer continues to play, he experiences this process over and over. However, this is not all the game
has to offer. During the course of play the golfer comes to know the individuals he plays with. There exists a sort
of bonding that can only be understood by the golfer. We find new friendships in old relationships, and we find
fellowship among strangers. Nowhere else in life have I seen such tremendous acceptability of strangers. Just as
our own personalities come to the forefront, so do our playing partners. There's a type of joining in spirit there. A
bonding that is understood, yet rarely spoken of. This sense of companionship continues until shortly after the
turn. For some reason, we seem to fade into our inner relations on the back nine. This transition seems to take
place around the middle of the back nine. I believe it has to do with the fact that all golfers inherently understand
they must find a way of bringing the whole round to an auspicious conclusion. As we prepare ourselves for the
task, we come to respect each other’s necessity.
The group as a whole becomes more quiet. This is partly because we all know we are running out of time. We
know in our hearts that we must make the most of the day. If our play has been something less then magnificent,
then we must find some way of finishing in as noble a fashion as possible. If our play has been truly majestic,
then we must find some way of completing our play without the conclusion being anticlimactic. Finally, once we all
finish out on the 18th, we proceed to congratulate and console each other, whatever the appropriate salutation
might be. Then, if time permits, we take the journey one step further. We gather in the 19th hole, where we can
discuss the mysteries of the day, along with the moments of splendor and humility.
This gathering at the end of the round has as much to do with the golfing experience as does the play itself.
For it is within this gathering that we get to express the meaning of the game, and those experiences we just
endured. As we rejuvenate ourselves with food and drink, we find a clarity that brings the events of the day truly
into focus. There is something about this gathering that makes everything all right, no matter what the outcome of
the round might have been. Even the sulker finds peace of mind, whether induced by drink or the reality that golf
is just a game - a marvelous game, providing us with extraordinary opportunities, yet simply a game.
As the events of the day come full circle, we individually go our own ways. During the drive home, we once
again sink into the solitude of an introspective view of the game. We search for the pieces of the puzzle that
seem to be missing. We wonder whether the answers lie within the intricacies of the swing, or within the
complexity of the psyche. No matter how much time passes before arriving home, we are inevitably unable to
untangle the enigma. We may formulate some theories on the game. However, the future generally proves these
conclusions to be little more then theoretical. At the end of it all, we are left with not much more than the solace
that our hopes are still alive. This is because we understand that the game's possibilities will always exist, despite
how we might play.
What this all means, is that our journey has brought us right back to where we began. Intrigued by the
mysteries of the game, fascinated by the endless opportunities the game has to offer, and compelled to join the
quest for such possibilities another day. This is true no matter what level of accomplishment you might possess.
Whether winner or loser, competitor or novice, we all are left with questions that have not been answered.
This being the case, how then do we get a handle on the game, and how do we become content with our
progress? These answers lie within your approach to the game. As you approach your play, you must find a way
of playing as naturally as possible.
|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
Table of Contents
Chapter Two- The Golfer's Journey 7
Chapter Three- The Natural Way 12
Chapter Five- The Essence Of Playing 20
Chapter Six- Projecting Your Energy Outward 23
Chapter Seven- Following Through With Your Energy 26
Chapter Eight- Finishing Off Your Intentions 30
Chapter Ten- The Outer Game Drills 36
Chapter Eleven- Putting It All Into A Routine 57
Chapter Thirteen- The Quality Of Your Experience 74
Chapter Fourteen- True Intentions 79
Chapter Fifteen- Prejudice, Preconceptions, And Presence 81
Chapter Sixteen- Playing Into Your Future 83
Chapter Seventeen- Journeying Into The One 86
Chapter Nineteen- Beginning Your Program 99
Chapter Twenty- Assembling Your Program 103
Chapter Twenty-One- Workbook Section 112