Years ago we discovered the exact point of the dead center of middle age. It occurs when you are too young to take up golf and too old to rush up to the net. – Author Unknown
Arnold Palmer turned eighty this year and Jack Nicklaus turned seventy. They rarely compete today but they competed well into their fifties and sixties. Ben Hogan remained competitive well into his fifties as well, and there are many other champion golfers who refuse to let their age slow them down.
I watched the battle between Tom Watson and Fred Couples at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai, and I couldn’t help but admire Tom Watson and his steely determination and resolve to continue to win golf championships. As many of you would know Tom Watson very nearly won the 2009 Open Championship, ultimately losing in a play-off to Stewart Cink at the seasoned age of sixty years.
When I was a young assistant golf professional Tom Watson was my hero and a model golfer to many other young aspring professional golfers. I watched his battles on the golf course at major championships some thirty years ago and under the pressure of major championship play watched him find that something extra needed to win the championship.
Today as if time stood Tom Watson won the Champions tour event by producing two magnificent birdies on the last two holes to close out Fred Couples by one shot. Watson shot seven under for the day and Couples shot eight for three round totals of twenty two and twenty one under par respectively.
Again it was as if I was watching the television in the eighties, because there was Watson finding a way to win when it mattered.
Hale Irwin who is nearly sixty five finished the same tournament in fifth place at fourteen under par. And the indomitable Gary Player at seventy four years of age shot rounds of 76, 74 and 76. Clearly staying metally and physically competitive has its benefits. When many people are thinking about retiring after working for forty years, champion golfers are still remaining highly competitive.
The following poem is one of my favourites and I hope that it inspires you to continue to find ways to “win” at whatever it is that you want to achieve in your life. Age is no barrier when it comes to achieving your goals in life. Attitude is the secret of golf champions and champions in other areas of life.
“I can do it” is the mind-set of the champion, and ”We can do it” is the mind-set of champion teams.
YOUTH by Samuel Ullman – American Business Man, Poet and Humanitarian
Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.
Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity of the appetite, for adventure over the love of ease. This often exists in a man of sixty more than a body of twenty. Nobody grows old merely by a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals.
Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, fear, self-distrust bows the heart and turns the spirit back to dust.
Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being’s heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing child-like appetite of what’s next, and the joy of the game of living. In the center of your heart and my heart there is a wireless station; so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, courage and power from men and from the Infinite, so long are you young.
When the aerials are down, and your spirit is covered with snows of cynicism and the ice of pessimism, then you are grown old, even at twenty, but as long as your aerials are up, to catch the waves of optimism, there is hope you may die young at eighty.
You can keep you game sharp like Tom Watson and his fellow golfers by practicing on a regular basis and spending most of your time on putting and wedge skills. Modern golf club technology will give your game a boost, but it isn’t going to develop your competitive desires and instincts. It doesn’t matter what standard of golfer you are right now, if you want to play golf competitively into your mature years, keep striving to find ways of improving.
Stretch your mind and body to places it’s never been before, and you will play golf like you’ve never played before.