Thursday, August 13, 2009

Success Principles Learned on the Golf Course...

The state of Minnesota is known for its many lakes. But this week all eyes are on Hazeltine National Golf Course in Chaska, Minnesota. Competitive golfers and fans of the sport are gathering for the 91st Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Championship. With the highest amount of golfers per capita of any state in the U.S., this prestigious and rather lengthy golf course has been swarming with spectators for the last three days of practice rounds with some of the biggest names in professional sports.

Since our home is less than eight miles from this event and thanks to a very generous brother-in-law, my husband and I were able to experience this rare occurrence first-hand today. After clearing security, we entered the venue with a drove of spectators, each with their own agenda. The hustle and bustle of excited viewers was more stimulating to experience than your average morning cup of coffee. We quickly decided to head to the back nine (that’s hole numbers 10-18 for you none golfers). Hole number 16 is a signature hole for this golf course. Everyone who follows golf in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area has heard of the ‘amazing 16th hole’ at Hazeltine.

After a gorgeous nature hike through tree-lined wooded paths and scurrying over manicured, lush greens we found our destination and took a seat. The grandstands were sparse; the nearest person was more than 10 feet away. I sat speechless in awe of the magnificent view before me. The temperature was still at a comfortable 75 degrees F and rising, the sun rays beat down on my fair Minnesota skin and a warm breeze blew softly across the lake. The majestic oak trees gently swayed and a vast array of wildlife took flight from the prairie grass. This was a perfect time to appreciate all of God’s creation.

By now, you might be asking what in the world does this have to do with success in life. Well, recently I heard this stunning piece of real estate being described by some golf professionals. They used words like intimidating and difficult with a potential for dramatic change. Yes, this 16th hole did look different than the other seventeen holes, but in a good way…to the spectator, not the player.

Seemingly, this peninsula taunts players and appears to play with their minds. Both the professional and the amateur become nervous when facing this test. Yet a headline in today’s newspaper read: PGA championships: ‘Sixteen is one the best holes in America’.

Okay, let’s get this straight…in golf, intimidating and difficult with a potential for dramatic change is desirable? In fact, it is. The golfers agree that these obstacles and stumbling blocks help the best become better. It challenges men of every skill level to dig deep and find the champion within.

For those of us who earn our living outside of professional sports, these same situations arise. Many times we can become intimidated with a challenge before us. We view the task ahead as difficult with a high potential for dramatic change. We become nervous when the obstruction appears. We hear the taunting in our head.

But the good news is that those hurdles and impediments are there to show us how strong we are. When was the last time you broke through a wall in your path? Did you remove the bricks one by one with a logical, systematic approach or did you hit it head on and break through with fire and gusto? Remember how great life was on the other side? You are a stronger, better, faster person today because of a once seemingly impossible barrier in front of you.

The next four days of the PGA Championship tournament are sure to be filled with thrills and upsets and in the end, a new 2009 champion will be crowned. Let’s watch and learn and grow with these golfers, knowing success comes to those who persevere.

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