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Gunby: Fall in love with golf every day
Tee It Up

Happy Valentine’s Day. A nice dinner, roses, candy, perfume, jewelry – all are to show your love for another. A day where many do their best to be the most romantic person to the person they love, a lofty goal given our exposure to soap operas, advertisements, tv and movies.

Can anyone live up to these seemingly unattainable standards that constantly bombard us? I am not a relationship expert, for sure, but I know that with imagination, you can.

You can fulfill your golf dreams, too. Maybe a hole-in-one. A holed approach shot. A chip in. A forty-foot putt holed to win a match. A booming drive. A low score. But first, it takes imagination.

Just like life, you can fall in love with golf every day. Just by using your imagination. Big Al, E-before-I-twice-in-his-name, Einstein, said this: “Imagination is more important than science because science tells us where we have been. Imagination tells us where we are going.”

Just about anyone who has played golf for any length of time can recall a putt that they knew they were going to sink, no matter what. You just knew it!

You could have had a heart attack, or an earthquake occurred, but that putt was going in! Was it your perfect mechanics that did it? No, your imagination did it.

To excel in golf, you must use your imagination. You must visualize shots and successes to pull off shots and succeed.

I can remember visualizing a hole-in-one before I hit the tee shot. Before I hit that shot, I expressed to my playing partner that this shot was going to go into the hole. And it did.

Do you remember when we used to play “Cops and Robbers” or “Cowboys and Indians”? We pretended to be one or the other. Look at the word “pretend”. “Pre” means before and “tend” means do. So, when you pretend, you “do before”. You were actually a Cowboy or an Indian, at least in your mind.

At one time, Johnny Miller had to pretend that his son was putting, not him, to make putts. Rich Beem, 2002 PGA Champion, pretended to play all 18 holes of the British Open on the practice tee, the day prior to the first round. Look at Bubba Watson.

He is all about imagination. Never had a lesson. He just played with his mind and imagined golf shots.

My advice is simple. If you want to have fun, use your imagination. Experiment.

If you experience anxiety in competitions, pretend you are playing in a huge tournament. Sit down in a quiet place, close your eyes and dream. Visualize that you play well and you win it.

See the trophy presentation and the congratulations. Use your imagination.

Let your juniors “play” and “pretend” and “daydream” and have “fun”. Then you do the same. Stop being stuck in the adult mode. Be a kid again.

Learn how to use positive affirmations. It does work, for both juniors and adults. Go ahead and tell corny jokes during the round. Laugh. Play some practical jokes. Have fun.

Here is the key. Use your imagination and fall in love with golf and that special person, on a daily basis. And if you don’t have a special person in your life, fall in love with the great game of golf. Golf, like a dog and God, loves us all unconditionally.

John Gunby Sr. is a columnist for The Daily Courier. Reach him by email at sportsdesk@prescottaz.com.

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