I've Gotta Be Me

I was getting ready to send out a very predictable New Year’s e-mail with a title something like: My Resolutions, Musings, Reflections & Reminders. I was thinking “warm, positive, optimistic, cheery and fun.” I wanted to channel the bestselling self-help books of all-time, such as How to Win Friends and Influence People; Awaken the Giant Within; Best Self: Be You, Only Better; Think A Better Thought: Training Your Mind For Success 101, and The Power of Positive Thinking.

My goal was to look on the bright side because so many of my friends say, “You have a tendency to get down on yourself.” I have tried to take those words to heart over the years because I believe my golf buddies are trying to be helpful. That, and I am always reading how important it is for a golfer to be upbeat. Chi Chi Rodriquez’s quote is typical: “You must always be positive, because your body can only do what your brain sees.”

Okay, so as I sat down at the computer to start off 2020 with a peppy and sunny dispatch, I naturally gravitated to My Resolutions. So take a guess what immediately popped into my mind? Well, it wasn’t a Chi Chi thought. It was: DON’T TRY STUPID SHOTS!

That shouldn’t have surprised me given the fact that my handicap went from 11 to 14 in 2019 and I suffered through a horrific two months of Toe-Job Shots. Why for one minute I thought I could – or should – change my way of thinking shows you exactly how gullible I am when it comes to golf. Rather than accept who I am, I tried to become

Mr. Smiley. That naïve thinking is over! As Greek philosopher Thales said, “The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself,” which is why  I have now become a devoted follower of Sandy Green, who wrote the classic book, DON’TS For GOLFERS (A. & C. Black, LTD, London, 1925). I find his NO-CODDLING wisdom to be perfectly suited for someone like me:

Don’t move your head while making a shot.

Don’t grip your club tightly with all your fingers. The thumbs and forefingers are the important “grippers.”

Don’t indulge in undue bending. Draw a little closer to the ball.

Don’t try to scoop your mashie* shots. Hit quite freely; the club will provide the loft. (*By the 1920s, the mashie was akin to a modern mid-iron (5- through 7-irons).

Don’t attempt too much (when bunkered). Be content with taking the easiest way out.. There are occasions, of course, when desperate cases require  desperate remedies; but, as a general rule, “safety first” is the game to play for the bunkered. 

Don’t forget that when there are two slopes to be reckoned with on the green., it is the slope nearer the hole that affect the ball the most. The reason for this is that the ball will be traveling more slowly when it reaches the further slope.

Don’t lose an opportunity of playing a round with a good player. You’ll learn much more from losing holes to a superior player than from winning them from someone inferior to yourself.

And Don’t be afraid of offering a game to another member who is without a companion. Many lasting friendships have begun with a round of Golf.





  • Barbara Chapman

    Dear Cousin Allan,
    I loved this column and am sending it to my kids and husband. Universal advice.
    Barbara Chapman

  • James Head

    What? The thumbs and forefingers are the important grippers??

Leave a comment