Head Games

Golf is my favorite sport to play – ever since I was nine years old hitting rock-hard Top Flites with my dad’s old red-grip clubs around a four-hole course that had plastic greens. As a teenager my friends and I toured the munis in the DFW area. Green fees: $10. I even have the scorecard from the first time I broke 100.

Sometime around age 20, my friends named a shot after me. The ‘Handler Shot’ – which they still use all these 36 years later – comes out whenever someone hits a fat flub into the water. That was a regular occurrence of my youth… and a sarcastic tribute that lives on.

I became a pretty good player in my late 20’s, then gave up the game – save for the occasional scramble – when our kids were young. I started playing again a few years ago, and have my handicap back in single digits.

That said, I still struggle with the game playing inside my head. While I’m typically a ‘glass half full’ guy, on the golf course negative thoughts dance around my mind… especially whenever a foursome behind us catches up on a crowded tee box, or we play through another group. Something about eyes watching causes my muscles to tense up.

So, at age 56, I’m reading ‘Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect,’ by noted sports psychologist Bob Rotella. He makes a lot of interesting points that resonate with me:

‘A little doubt or a little indecision is sufficient to impair performance.’

‘People by and large become what they think about themselves.’

‘We are endowed with the most marvelous computer system imaginable, and it is wired to maximize physical performance and grace if a person simply looks at a target and reacts to it.’

Come to think of it, those are good reminders for business, too. Glad I discovered this book. Of course, it was written in 1995.


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