(Illustration by Clare Briggs; 1875 to 1930)


“I believe most sincerely that the impulse to steer, born of anxiety, is accountable for almost every really bad shot.” – Bobby Jones (1902 – 1971), who won 13 Majors – British Amateur, 1930; British Open, 1926, 1927 & 1930; U.S. Open, 1923, 1926, 1929 & 1930; U.S. Amateur 1924, 1925, 1927, 1928 & 1930.


I have two new custom-fitted TaylorMade wedges, which I love, and a new custom-fitted Titleist-something driver that has actually delivered the extra distance that I was promised. All of that good news and still my handicap has gone up from 13 to 14! Last weekend, for example, I shot a 90 on Friday and an 89 on Sunday. I want to blame the wind, the high rough, the fast greens and my new closer-to-the-ball stance for these dispiriting scores. Certainly, there is some legitimacy to that combination of factors for my higher scores, but, in truth, as the bogeys and double bogeys accumulated, I began racing through my lengthy collection of swing thoughts. My mind was a whirlwind of fixes, fixes that never came.


After the round, it occurred to me that I became TOO focused on golf fixes – tips, reminders, adjustments, swing keys, hints, clichés, maxims. So, the next time when my golf mind goes haywire, I am going to step back and go to my new list of positive, focused and calming quotations that have great acceptance in the real world. My hope is that they will work on the golf course as well.


I will certainly keep my “arsenal” of swing thoughts, but I do think my collection of BIG LITTLE THOUGHTS FOR GOLFERS could come to my emotional rescue during a particularly nerve-racking round. Here are 10 that I think have real potential:


  • “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu (Born 6th to 4th BC)
  • “He conquers who endures.” – Roman poet and satirist Persius (Died 62 AD)
  • “I am still learning.” – Italian sculptor, painter, architect and poet Michelangelo (1475 – 1564)
  • “Have patience with all things, but first of all with yourself.” – St. Francis de Sales (1567 – 1622)
  • “Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.” -- American essayist, poet and lecturer Ralph Waldo Emerson Ralph (1803 - 1882)
  • “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” -- American philosopher, historian, and psychologist William James (1842 – 1910)
  • “Courage is grace under pressure.” -- Ernest Hemingway (1899 to 1961)
  • “Smile. Breathe. And go slowly.” -- Vietnamese Thiền Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh (1926 – 2022)
  • “The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” -- Martial arts instructor, actor, filmmaker and philosopher Bruce Lee (1940 – 1973)
  • “Life is a mountain of solvable problems, and I enjoy that.” -- English inventor, industrial designer and farmer James Dyson (Born 1947)


Far & Sure,

Allan Stark

Leave a comment