As I sit here in my hotel room, again, I ponder where I’m going with this crazy game, and this even crazier life. I am one of the truly lucky people in the world. I have a wife and family that I absolutely adore, and a career that has been somewhat fruit-ful. I can look back on my career and wish I would have done a few things differently, but not many. I’ve met some incredible people along the way. From Presidents to part-time gardeners. All wonderful and fascinating people. I’ve got trophies and a bad back to show for this career.
There are certain things that I wish I would have found when I was younger. One of them is this book. This book has shown me that we make this game, which I think is a micro-cosm of life, way more difficult than it needs to be. The first time I read this book, I realized that this is not a book for pro-fessional golfers, but for every golfer. Better yet, every person.
Michael Zildjian (or as I call him “Z”) has been a close friend since 1994. We met at Pepperdine University in this little town called Malibu, California. I say that with sarcasm, because it’s possibly one of the prettiest places in the world. But, I digress. Z was one of the first people I met at Pepperdine. He was a good friend of my roommate and we immediately hit it off. We see eye-to-eye. We’ve been close friends ever since, but I never knew he had this in him. He wrote something that I’ve been waiting for my entire career, let alone life.
When I read this book for the first time, I was a little reluctant. I knew Z had some deep thoughts, but I was never expect-ing him to put them into words, or on paper. This book fits perfectly with the game. I love the fact that I can go through it over and over and read the chapters that I feel I’m lacking in. I get something new and different every time. I learn something new about myself every time I look back and refresh.
This is not a book that talks down to you. This is a book that walks with you. Through every agony. Through every glory. It’s all in there. I never feel alone when I read through it. I feel like we are walking through this together. Z shares triumphs and defeats. Just like you and I go through. This book is about being imperfect at a perfect game. It prepares you to play your best golf by realizing that we aren’t perfect and that sweet spot of the clubface is elusive. But, it’s okay. The book is about mentally preparing to hit the perfect shot. It’s about being in the right frame of mind and focused to be the best you can be. Not for the day. For that particular shot. That moment. It’s about being in the moment of the most important shot of your life. The one you are about to hit. You can’t change the past and you certainly can’t control the future. You can only control your thoughts about the shot you are hitting right now. Eliminating the distractions. Clearing the mind. Not worrying about that tee shot with the water on the 13th hole when you are standing over a 4-footer for par on hole six. We all do it. Even the best have done it. We are human. It happens. But, with the help of this book, we can change that way of thinking. We can learn to be and live in the moment. Not worry about that random gust of wind that might take that purely struck shot offline and plug it into the bunker. on. You’ve done all you can. And with this book, you can see and accept this in ways that you’ve never even thought about before.
Z has a lot of life experience that he uses to relate all that he has done, and then takes it to the first tee. It’s life’s little lessons that are so meaningful to golf.
One afternoon, after playing a round of golf at Lakeside Golf Club in Toluca Lake, CA, a friend of mine came up to me at the table, looked right at me and said, “How’s your confi-dence?” He said it in a way that only this guy could say it. In his thick New Jersey accent, he explained to me what Tiger Woods and John Daly said to him about what they think after they hit a bad shot. In so many words, he told me that both of them say it bothers them, but they don’t dwell on it because “they are pros, they can handle anything.” He then proceeded to hand me this little yellow Post-It note that said, “Enjoy what fate sends your way. Don’t dread it.” Basically, there is nothing on the golf course that I can’t handle. It doesn’t matter what you did, it matters what you do from here. The exact same principle as this book. That guy on the golf course was actor, Joe Pesci. I asked him if he was sure that he wanted to give it to me. He said, “Yeah I’ll just make another one.” Haha! Perfect Pesci moment. It was almost like he was playing a character out of a movie. Being the head boss in one of his gangster movies. But, it hit home. And, just like this book, he was right!
By following this book, going back to reference chapters, you will play better golf. I have found the fun again in playing the game that I have always loved. For a while, it became a business. Zilosophy helped me realize why I love the game. It simplified the process and helped me understand that I’m not alone. We all go through this! Whether you are playing for 50 cents against your buddies, or trying to win the U.S. Open, it’s all perspective. Enjoy this book and love the game!