A friend of mine, Jeff Gwynne, picked up the hobby of golf about the same time I did. We have both discovered that golf is not a hobby. If you have never played golf then you will not understand that about the game. If you have, then you know exactly what I am talking about. We have golfed together a couple of times at his 'office' course in southern New Hampshire. We actually met for the first time there after striking up a friendship through participating in numerous ESPN fantasy games over the years. He went to Bowdoin. I went to UMaine. We play in the Maineiacs leagues of most all of the fantasy games possible. Even fishing and car racing which don't really take up much of our time in real life.
After one recent exchange of emails on our golf experiences, Jeff sent me this book. Extraordinary Golf is the name of the book. I wasn't sure what it contained. What it contains is a different way of looking at things. And golf is one of them. The author, Fred Shoemaker, teaches golf and he had some pretty amazing stories about how people look at golf in a usual way. We make up excuses for poor performance before we start, setting ourselves up for poor expectations from others and from ourselves. Can you imagine speaking to a client saying, "I really have had trouble lately in trying to put together a good mortgage application, but I've been trying a couple of new things and I think this one may be better than recent ones."? Do you see how ridiculous that sounds?
Shoemaker writes, "a golfer's experience consists of a triangle of performance, learning and enjoyment. If these elements are in balance, they all work well. But if they are out of balance, each one suffers." What a great description of our profession! If we are stagnant by not learning, our performance suffers and our enjoyment suffers. If we do not enjoy or profession, we will not learn new things and our performance will suffer. If our performance is sub-standard, customers will go elsewhere and we will not enjoy our profession and will not want to learn.
He later writes, "You start out playing your usual round, but there comes a point--maybe as you're walking downe the fairway, maybe in the pre-shot routine--where if you are lucky, you can 'enter' the game of golf. That is the time, I believe, when golf truly exists for people. You become totally immersed in the game, time seems to disappear as creativity begins, and what emerges is extraordinary golf." Again, a great illustration of what can happen in our profession, not just on the golf course. We never know in golf how the game will turn out. I had a tough time on the first hole yesterday. I then remembered a passage in the book about the possibility of golfing your best after a poor hole if you didn't dwell on it. I parred the next hole with a putt from the fringe. And I went on the have the 2nd best score all year, but I played the best round ever as far as the triangle is concerned. It was extraordinary golf.