About the Book
What do Mark Twain, Yoda, Quantum Physics, Neuroplasticity, ghosts, taking selfies, $300 Italian leather shoes, and a good shot of Irish Whiskey all have to do with playing better golf? In truth, maybe nothing at all, but on just the off chance that they do you will find out how in LESSONS FROM THE GOLF GURU – Wit, Wisdom, Mind Tricks, & Mysticism for Golf and Life; a book that is part self-help, part memoir, and part narrative on what is wrong with today’s game and what we all can do to fix it. It is a treatise on faith, hope, love, and optimism as well as fear, doubt, anger, and suffering of Biblical proportions, like that of Job or Chicago Cubs Fans. Mostly, however, it is a book about perspective, and quite possibly the only golf book you need to read even if you’re not a golfer. Since its invention by the Scots over 500 years ago, golf has come to be known as the Game of a Lifetime, but to its 60 million ardent adherents around the globe it also often serves as a metaphor for life itself. This isn’t the first book to draw the parallels, nor does it stand alone in offering solutions for the battle that takes place in the six-inch space between your ears. It may be the first, however, that does both in a way that both educates and entertains; making you laugh, cry, reflect, and ultimately walk away with not only a better golf game, but a greater appreciation for the game, your relationship with it, and what it can teach us all about ourselves and life. Sounds like a tall order for a collection of musings about an ancient game in which you hit and chase a little white ball, but ultimately, this isn’t just a collection of lessons for the game of golf. It’s a collection of lessons for a game far older. They are lessons for the game of life.
“Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself founded empires; but upon what foundation did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded an empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for him.”
– Napoleon Bonaparte
Before we begin, I think it’s important to briefly explain the logic behind the foundation and layout of this book as well as exactly what it is and what it isn’t. First, what it’s not… This isn’t a book about Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Catholicism, or any other religious ism typically associated with Gurus. Sure, there are some for whom the sport of golf almost qualifies as a religion, and there are quotes, lessons, and wisdom herein that has been passed on by some of history’s more famous Gurus, but as The Golf Guru, my title is a bit more metaphorical in nature, and whatever wisdom I possess comes as much from experience as it does from the ancients.
Guru is a Sanskrit term for teacher or master. In the Hindu Guru Tradition, it describes the experiential wisdom that is transmitted from teacher to student, which, on the surface, sounds pretty darn close to how I find myself spending a great many hours at the golf course each day. For Buddhists, Buddha is the ultimate Guru, and he supposedly taught that the path to enlightenment was through “The Middle Way,” which does ironically sound a lot like the path (or region of the fairway) most of us golfers are seeking on our own journeys to enlightenment. At the same time, that just sounds a little too curiously similar to me as the “Everything in Moderation” mantra my Italian father-in-law is so fond of trotting out after his second or third glass of wine. Wise words for sure, but far from enlightening or anything that would remotely compel me to suggest to that God-fearing Catholic that he might actually be a closet Buddhist. And, as I said, since this isn’t really a book about Buddhism, I’ve made sure to leave out pretty much anything that would actually require you to be a practicing Shabhala Warrior in order to understand.
5 stars! Lessons From the Golf Guru should be in every teacher’s library. Who was to guess that a mystical golf guru resides in Oakdale, the Cowboy capitol of California, but Mike Dowd does, and he’s written a masterful book, full of enlightened counsel for playing and teaching the game with consummate joy. Mike’s wisdom, told in an easy-to-read writing style, challenges golf teachers/coaches to grow the game by embracing a self-discovery teaching style where enjoyment comes first. Lessons From the Golf Guru should be in every teacher’s library. And, based upon an extensive first class review of literature, science and anecdotes from players, each chapter offers guidance for an approach to practicing, playing, and teaching the game that will surprise you with its effectiveness.Dr. Glen Albaugh
LESSONS FROM THE GOLF GURU – Wit, Wisdom, Mind Tricks, & Mysticism for Golf and Life
About the Book
How can knowing the Secrets of Chinese Water Torture, looking for the Holy Grail, learning the mystery behind The Mulligan, and carrying a Hollywood Handicap help you play better golf? Why should you beware the Member’s Bounce, play the hand your dealt, kill the big fish, and be a control freak if you want to learn to walk like a winner? And how do the trials of a small-town golf prodigy, a reluctant New York investment banker, a transient wanna-be mini tour player, a college baseball pitcher from Louisiana, and a retired architect from Charleston whose recently lost his wife help us make sense of it all? These are questions you’ll find the answers to in LESSONS FROM THE GOLF GURU – Secrets, Strategies, and Stories for Golf and Life; a book that boldly goes in search of those answers in places the first one never did. These are more than just lessons to help with the number you put on your scorecard, they’re also stories that help us relate to those lessons in ways that go way beyond golf. Because golf really is more than just a game, it’s also way of life, and this book will help you get more out of both. Sound like a tall order for a collection of lessons and stories about a Royal and Ancient game? Maybe so, but ultimately, these aren’t just secrets, strategies, and stories for the game of golf. They are lessons for the game of life.
“It’s a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same,
feels the same, even smells the same. Then you realize what’s changed is you.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald
Ten days after suffering the biggest setback of his life in his first attempt at Q-School, Tyler decided to crawl back home in search of his coach. In truth, he had nowhere else to go. In his most despairing moments, he had half entertained the idea of quitting the stupid game altogether and going to work in his old man’s garage, but when he stopped by to give him the obligatory explanation for what had gone wrong that first smell of grease had unleashed a flood of memories that reinforced why he had gone to college in the first place and what golf was for him; his ticket out of Poplar Bluff. It’s not that Poplar Bluff was a bad place, but in Tyler’s mind, it was more one stoplight than bright lights; a small mid-west town that seemed just a bit too bereft of any real opportunities besides marrying his high school sweetheart and settling down to a life of comfortable mediocrity whose highlights would have likely included coaching little league, starring in the Thursday night softball league, and turning enough wrenches during the week that he’d have a little extra spending money to play poker with his high school buddies on the weekend. Besides, that ship had sailed when Katherine, the girl who would have happily played Bonnie to his Clyde in just about anything if he had only asked, and the only part of that vision he regretted leaving behind, was gone. He couldn’t blame her, she had run off to chase her own dreams after he had broken her heart by telling her he needed to chase his, none of which, she had pointedly told him, apparently included her.
Brilliant, stylish storytelling aimed at self help for your golf game, and life in general. Thoroughly enjoyed it, 5+ stars!!! Congratulations & thank you, Mike Dowd.
A thoroughly enjoyable read. A page turner with depth. Instructional storytelling with a purpose. I found that I was somehow interjecting myself into the characters, realizing that some of their issues were perhaps similar to my own. I half expected the book to be a collection of golf yarns, tips, quips and anecdotes. Wow was I ever wrong. The author leads you unknowingly into the realm of deep introspection about how and why we play a game, and more importantly, how we lead and enjoy our lives.
Mike Dowd has a wonderful ability to weave heady scientific studies and supporting data with first-rate storytelling and humor. Be prepared to understand and muse while digesting things like the concept of neuroplasticity (the ability to continue learning into older age) “enabling us older guys to stick our tongue out at father time.”
Enjoy the engaging stories and characters, while learning to “walk like a winner,” stretch out your comfort zone, know your limitations, continue to learn with a “beginners’ mind,” develop confidence, mentally prepare for play and practice, deal with pressure by taking on more risk, and confront that little internal voice of fear in an easy and comical way.
According to the author, Golf is more like a Roller Coaster than a Ferris Wheel. If we can properly adjust our expectations, have more fun, smile, laugh and don’t take the game too seriously we can better enjoy the ride. In golf and life.