Excellence, Confidence, and Turning a Corner

“Excellence is a better teacher than mediocrity. The lessons of the ordinary are everywhere. Truly profound and original insights are to be found only in studying the exemplary.”- Warren Bennis

In the last two events that I have played, I’ve had two playing partners that have played in a combined four PGA Tour events. At my home course, my preferred playing partners now are fellow professionals, current and former club champions, or some of the best young players around.

I’m not a snob. I love to have fun. I don’t want anyone left out. But to keep getting better, this is a must. I love bona fide excellence. Early on, as someone shooting 91, it was a little intimidating. But three years on, I’m just one of the boys, DYING TO GET EVEN BETTER.

I did a lot of things wonderfully well on Monday. I started well, which is something I have had to overcome. I made four birdies, which I had to learn how to do. I absolutely pounded the ball, which is credit to all of the stretching (and my height). I hit one drive 398 yards.

On the flip side, I hit two bad drives down the stretch, which cost me. I made three bad decisions: pin hunting when I shouldn’t have and playing a little too fast when the wind direction had me a little indecisive. I gave away four short putts. I still tied for 13th with a mid-seventies round, light years better than ten months ago.

My last four performances in my last four events have been more than acceptable. I’m still the new kid on the block, but I’m not a newbie anymore.

I try not to pester people, but I’m going to ask questions. If you do something in an amazing way and I want to learn how you do it and what you are thinking, I am going to authentically engage you.

If you shoot course records, win tournaments, play PGA tour events, and rattle off birdies like they are going out of style, I am going to pick your brain.

This game is infinitely difficult. To be great at it is a bona fide thing. It takes physical prowess, emotional intelligence, and an impressive mental capability. It also takes time, money, and a real effort.

I’m not great yet, but I’ve turned a huge corner over the past few months. Much if it is due to my individual grinding. Digging it out of the dirt, as they say.

But there have also been eight to ten people, a number that is growing every month, who have helped me immensely. Professionals and amateurs, to whom I will forever be grateful, who have given me free lessons, tips, and encouragement. Encouragement may be the most important because, in this game, confidence is everything.

Just know, any time you do anything, I’m in your corner. I’m pulling for you. These are some of the last words I heard from one of my mentors before I headed to Louisiana on Monday. When you have people in your corner truly believing in you, eventually, you WILL start believing in yourself.

Confidence, determination, belief, and a few good outings can change everything. Everything. I’m in the midst of turning another corner.

Have a great week.-Benj

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