abk Golf Chronicles: Penalties, Putting, and Poor Par 5s

The range wasn’t open due to flooding, so I didn’t get a good warmup. There’s an excuse.

It was cold. It was wet. It was windy. There’s an excuse.

I was playing with this very interesting guy. A traveler. A vagabond. Probably a 3 handicap. His conversation was interesting and thus a distraction. There’s an excuse.

Before my joints were loose, 4 holes in, I was +4. My foot hurt. My body was sore. My shoes were muddy. I almost packed it in.

The thought of being +4 after 4 holes made me sick, but the thought that I considered packing it in made me sicker. Benj, what is wrong with you? Take a deep breath, and let’s go.

I play in informal competitions 1-3 times per week now. Anywhere from 8 to upwards of 40 golfers usually. I’m typically paired with a real player now, so I’ve gotten used to being beaten. But more importantly, I’m learning. I’m like a sponge. Everyone is taking me under their wing. Everyone is interested in my story and goal. I’m getting loads of cell phone numbers. Let’s play. Let’s practice. Let’s talk. Some partners shoot routinely under par. Some shoot even par. Some, like me, shoot a few over.

I’ve gotten to an interesting plateau in my golf journey. In my last 20 rounds, which is my typical measuring point, my average score is 79.85, down 13.05 full strokes from 10 months ago. My handicap has risen to 6.8, but I haven’t been able to formally post a 73 and at least two 76s since I played them alone (official USGA rules). So in reality, I’m probably playing to between a 4 and 5. I’m okay with that.

However, 16 of the 20 rounds are nearly identical. Scores in the mid to high 70s creeping into the very low 80s with 3 penalty strokes, 4 missed putts inside 5 feet, and poor Par 5 management each round. It’s eerie how similar the rounds are. It sickens me. Same shit. Different day.

Honestly, it has become frustrating. I’m a guy where if there is a problem, let’s solve it. I know if I don’t change the behaviors, the results aren’t going to change. Right now, my game is the definition of insanity. I’m a little baffled. I’m a little stuck. I don’t know what to change.

As we drove to the 5th hole, I knew I already had incurred 3 penalty strokes and a missed 4 footer. Since I decided to shat the bed early today, I thought I might start cooking soon. And sure enough, it was go time. Par. Par. Par. Bogey. Par. Par. Bogey. Par. Par. Birdie. Bogey. Birdie.

But then on 17, the wind took my cleanly struck 9 iron and threw it right back at me a la Dikembe Mutombo. A la Zion Williamson. Double bogey. Expletive. Double expletive.

As I walked to 18 tee, I knew that as difficult as the weather conditions were that we were playing in, even with that double bogey, even with that pathetic start, I might be in contention. So I kept my focus going, narrowly missing birdie on the last hole and finishing with a tap in par.

In 25 mph winds from the tournament tees, I shot 79, not overly impressive by my new standards, but under duress, I guess I’ll take it. I said bye to everyone, exchanged another phone number, and hit the road.

About 30 minutes later, I got this note.

Good. I live to eat and play golf for another week. Maybe even buy a few balls.

If only money could buy the elimination of penalty strokes and missed 4 foot putts. But it can’t, and that’s why I love this game. Grinding, searching for progress, in pursuit of something I may never find.

Have a great week.-Benj

Join the abk community!

Follow along on Instagram @anythingbutkhakis and @abkgolf.

If you enjoy these and would like to get the weekly piece via email, please follow on the website http://www.anythingbutkhakis.com.

abk Lifestyle: What’s New, and What’s Next

After returning from abk Trip 54 to south Florida, it is time to park the abkMobile for a while. I’m on the cusp of another golf breakthrough, and it is going to require daily attention for the foreseeable future. No travel days. No jet lag days. No car lag days. Just focus.

So with no abk trip 55 in the works just yet, what’s on my mind? What’s next?

First and most importantly, my little, big man turns five on Monday, so it is going to be a week of celebration. I hear there are going to be some special guests in town, but shhh, it’s a surprise.

Kids soccer has started back up, and I’ve got three new players. It’s neat to see their growth, kids going from shy to less shy to having an ever present smile, sometimes in under an hour.

We are at the cusp of beginning a new house build, so overseeing that is on the docket. The setting is a little risky, yet exquisite. Very coastal, and a little mysterious. Very, very abk…stay tuned.

Mardi Gras is in two weeks, so I am sure a day trip is in order. JazzFest was fun last year, which the locals said was a must, so this is next up. New Orleans really is a vibe.

The Champions Tour comes to Fallen Oak in March, and the PGA Tour comes to TPC Louisiana in April. The Champions Tour event is free, so I’m sure I’ll head out there as a spectator. More importantly, Spanish swashbuckler Miguel Ángel Jímenez (#abk) has committed, so I can’t wait to see him up close and personal. For the PGA Tour event, I’ve put in my application to volunteer. I want to be inside the ropes with the players, but I’m a first-timer, so who knows. (I will be required to wear khakis as a part of this event.)

And thennn…I’m thinking abk Trip 55 is going to be camping at Big Bend National Park on the Texas/México border some time in late spring. Details TBD, but it’s definitely on the tip of my (and others’) tongue.

Otherwise, it’s just grinding. I’ve got a little over two months until the one year golf journey anniversary, when I promised myself and others I would take stock of my progress and future desires.

So if you need me, I’ll be at the course. I’m so close to that next small breakthrough (decimals from a scoring average in the 70s), and it needs my full attention.

Have a great week.-Benj

Join the abk community!

Follow along on Instagram @anythingbutkhakis and @abkgolf.

If you enjoy these and would like to get the weekly piece via email, please follow on the website http://www.anythingbutkhakis.com.

Kobe, The Inspiration

“There’s a lot of trash talking on the court, but nobody ever said shit to Kobe.”-Kenyon Martin, retired NBA player

I can’t even look at the picture without crying. Surely you know which picture I am talking about, the one with Kobe and his daughter, Gianna, sitting courtside recently at an NBA game, hugging and both grinning from ear to ear. Every time it pops up, I cry. Every single time.

Last Sunday afternoon, I was watching Tiger Woods play on television in the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open. In Mississippi, the rain was falling outside my window, and I was so excited to be taking my son to New Orleans in just a couple of hours to watch Zion Williamson’s Pelicans play Kemba Walker’s Boston Celtics. Then my phone vibrated, which was not unusual, but then it vibrated again. And again. And again. I picked it up, and the texts might as well have been in Japanese. What are these people talking about? Kobe Bryant dead? What a terrible, horrible joke. Impossible. How can Kobe be gone?

I’m not usually one to chime in or get emotional about celebrity chatter, but this one got me. Kobe was my must see. Kobe was greatness. Kobe was…an inspiration.

For the first few hours after the news, I could not articulate the reason, other than the obvious, that I was so sad. Then, late on Sunday night after returning home from New Orleans, I heard Stephen A. Smith say something that Kobe believed and that he was teaching his daughters. Place no limitations on yourself. That hit the nail on the head for me.

If you want to move to Mississippi, quit your job, live in temporary housing, sell your stuff, completely change your life, write, travel, get really good at golf at the age of 37, run two marathons, beat arthritis, be better, and help others be better too, find a way to do it.

If there is something you really want to do with your life, work on it.

Find a way. Work harder. Work smarter. Reprioritize. Refocus. No excuses. No limitations.

My favorite words to describe why I loved Kobe are relentless and tenacious. Just as Kenyon Martin said above, talk smack to Kobe, and he would torch you. I LOVED that. I love hearing all of these Kobe stories because I have a few great memories of him myself. I watched him drop 58 in person. I watched him get red ass hot. I watched him foul out, get jeered/serenaded with “Hit the Road Jack”, and saw his body language say, “I’ll remember this.” I LOVED it. I would get giddy on Lakers in Charlotte Day. I caught a glimpse of him one year at the Ritz-Carlton before midday shoot around, and by the way I reacted, you would have thought I’d seen Jesus, The Beatles, and Prince. (You also would have thought I was 14 years old instead of 30.).

I loved how Kobe rolled solo with no entourage or clique. I loved how he willed things into existence. I loved how he always wanted the ball in his hands at crunch time. I loved watching the scowl on his face become a giant grin over time, realizing later in life that life is nothing if you can’t share it with others. Needless to say, I liked older Kobe better than younger Kobe. He was always getting better. Always.

I cried more on Sunday and Monday than I have cried in a long time, over a man that I didn’t know and had never met, save for that brief glimpse at the Charlotte Ritz-Carlton. The whole situation had me in a fog, and I just needed to go play outside. So about 2:30pm on a chilly, wet Mississippi Monday, I went out to the golf course to clear my mind, and I fired a 73, the best round of my life.

Everyone around me wanted to celebrate, but I just wanted to go work even harder.

I’m not overlooking Kobe’s imperfections and alleged sins. I am also certainly not overlooking the other fine folks who were on that helicopter…I seriously can’t even imagine. But I just know how alive watching Kobe in person made me feel, and how I felt on Sunday knowing that the man who inspired me from afar to be better today than yesterday and better tomorrow than today no longer had a tomorrow himself.

And that made me very sad.

Place no limitations on yourself.

Have a great week.-Benj

Join the abk community!

Follow along on Instagram @anythingbutkhakis and @abkgolf.

If you enjoy these and would like to get the weekly piece via email, please follow on the website http://www.anythingbutkhakis.com.

abk Golf: New Territory

I’ve now posted a 74, two 75s, and a gaggle of 76s and 77s. A 78 or 79 doesn’t even make me smile any more, unless it’s on a day windier than Oklahoma in May. In my most recent Friday Shootout, I lipped out a four foot putt on 18 after a lousy, lousy round to post an 81, and I wanted to vomit. In a past life, had I shot an 81, everyone in my contact list would have known about it before I turned the cart back in.

My, how a world can transform.

Outside of vacation golf and father/son golf, I have left social golf in the rearview mirror for the foreseeable future. When I arrive at the course, it is all business, even more all business than the last time I wrote that. When I was shooting 95 or even 85, some things didn’t matter. Now, officially, every single detail matters.

After shooting 76s on both Wednesday and Thursday last week, I reviewed all of my copious notes from the Thursday 76 round. Score (76, +4) was acceptable, fairways hit (9/14) were acceptable, greens in regulation (11/18) were acceptable, and putts (29) were acceptable. What was not acceptable were the 4 penalty strokes incurred from 2 bonehead swings and the 2 further strokes lost from lazy putting. 4+2=6, deducted from 76 is 70. 70, I say! 70! 70?

Could it be possible that I am on the verge of turning another corner? That I need to raise my level of focus even higher? That only 2 bonehead swings and 2 other lapses in focus kept me from a -2 round? Whoa, shorty…let’s back it up a bit.

Over the past 9 months, I have put immense amounts of golf information into my brain, tried to get said information to flow into my body, and then attempted to execute an acceptable golf shot every time I stood over the ball. It’s enough to make a weaker man (or woman) crumble. But I’ve stood strong, stood tall, and taken the inevitable lumps on numerous occasions hoping to someday soon arrive at my next goal, even par.

But it’s not that easy. This game has a way of giving you a big middle finger soon after you’ve done something grand. It’s enough to make a weaker man (or woman) crumble. I’ve seen it with my own two eyes. Now that I’m playing regularly in competitive scrambles and shootouts, I watch talented golfers implode, running themselves ragged between their two ears, the place where this game truly dominates.

Soon after I snapped my 7 iron months ago, I read four things that wound up being game changers for me.

First, my only job is to focus on the shot at hand and perform to the best of my ability that one shot. No looking backwards. No looking forwards. No wandering mind. Just still. Just present.

Second, I have to pretend there is no one else on the course with me. No playing partner. No competition. No nothing. Be friends at the 19th hole, but tend to my business on the course. It’s just me versus the course. Me versus myself.

Third, play with people who are better than me. In the three weeks I have been doing this, I have learned so much. While I am predominantly focused on myself (see point 2), I notice things that I may inquire about after the round to help me get better. Why did you do this? Why did you do that?

Last, play for something. Pride. Bragging rights. Money. Points. Trophies. Something. I’ve done this six times in 2020, and 50% of the time, my play has paid for my dinner 😉.

These ideas are new to me so I repeat them over and over, and they have been incredibly helpful. Notwithstanding a few weeks of insanely windy conditions (my personal big middle finger), I have continued to get so much better. The only problem, as my dad would agree, is that I’ve been stuck in some statistical categories for six weeks now. What gives?

The only answer I have is that this game is incredibly difficult, and so I have to be patient and take minute progress as big wins. 94 to 90 was easy-ish. 90 to 85 a little less easy. 85 to 80 even less. Sub 76? Each next decimal is harder than advanced calculus.

(I sometimes imagine a good golfer who has played the game all of his life trying to switch sports and become an All-American soccer player at the age of 37. It’s different, but it’s the same, and it gives me great perspective.)

So I take the small wins and repeat over and over to myself. Persistence. Repetition. Focus. It’s coming. Good gosh, it’s coming. I can feel it.

The ironic thing about all of this is that in all of the other aspects of my life, I have worked very hard to be more relaxed, more carefree, and more immersed in this big, bad wonderful world. But those 4 to 5 hours that I spend at the golf facility each day, it’s the exact opposite. As selfish as it sounds, during that time, I have to be the only person on the planet, and striking that little white ball that’s in front of me is all that matters. I’ve gotten so much better, but I have so much more work to do.

Currently, even par for me is somewhere between 76 and 78. I have my good days, and I have my less than good days. But one thing is for sure, if I want to achieve what I want to achieve, I have to be locked in every time I stand over that ball.

I’m not quite there yet, but I’m closer than I’ve ever been.

Have a great week.-Benj

Join the abk community!

Follow along on Instagram @anythingbutkhakis and @abkgolf.

If you enjoy these and would like to get the weekly piece via email, please follow on the website http://www.anythingbutkhakis.com.

Behave, or Else: abk Trip 53-Cancún, México

When Christy invited me to Cancún in December, I had to think before I could answer. I am never one to turn down a trip, much less a partially paid for trip, but a few thoughts did run through my head. First, I had to wait and see if I was going to have a job interview that would potentially be in the Cancún trip timeframe (I didn’t). Second, would I ever actually see Christy, or since she had a conference, would I be alone most of the time? Last, would this be just like Las Vegas or Disney World, fabricated playgrounds built so Americans could escape and spend loads of cash? And what exactly did all-inclusive mean anyway? Was it a sham, or would it be brilliant? As with everything, I needed to find out for myself.

I arrived in México about four hours after Christy, and my premonition that I would be vacationing with a bunch of sun-seeking Americans immediately proved true. Not that I mind that, but when I go to Mexico, Italy, Iceland, England, Canada, etc., my personal interest is in interacting with the locals. So no sooner had the Mexico stamp ink dried on my Passport, I told myself I was going to need to venture out from Zona Hotelera (tourist area) sooner rather than later.

I am fairly certain that going to fancy country clubs does not qualify as interacting with locals, but a day without golf is like a day without air, so first things first. Right now, one of my favorite things to do is head to a new golf course and take it all in, sharing my golf story and listening to others’ throughout the day. One of the side effects of being houseless, jobless, and playing golf 200 days last year is that most people, from the clubhouse waiter to the cart guy to the millionaire CEO, become interested. How? What? Why? To be honest, I’ve grown a little weary talking about myself, so I try to shift the focus. Where are you from? Do you have children? What do you and/or they like to do?

On Thursday, I played 36 holes at El Tinto Golf Course at Cancún Country Club, and on Friday, I played 18 more at Riviera Cancún. I do not know if it was the time of year, windy conditions, or something else, but I pretty much had both beautiful courses to myself. This would make some people lonely, but not me. This gave me free reign to play quickly and also to talk to every single local Mexican citizen that I could. Tell me about your family. Tell me about your favorite things to do. Tell me what makes you happy. Tell me why it is so 🤬windy.

The wind really was a dilemma both days. A random coin toss had a 50/50 chance to tell me which way the 40mph breeze was blowing, if said wind didn’t blow the coin away first. Needless to say, I left more than a few balls in the Mexican jungle, although I was quite pleased with my play for the majority of the 54 holes.

Speaking of the jungle, I really didn’t have the course to myself. Iguanas, colorful birds, and a special treat, protected coatis that tried to hijack my cart, were gallivanting all over the place, reminding me of my tiny place in the universe. The only thing missing were crocodiles and monkeys, or else I would have been completely smitten.

My favorite moment with Christy, no matter how brief, was lunch on Friday at La Cevichería, an open air bar and fish taco joint overlooking the massive waves crashing on the beach. She had a brief break, so we enjoyed fish and shrimp tacos, shrimp cocktail, and piña coladas midday. (As with everything I do these days, this further reinforced my desire to live, work, and play outside.)

I did experience one disappointment just prior to the trip. Atlante FC, the second division Mexican soccer team based in downtown Cancún, was scheduled to open their 2020 season Friday night at home. Leading up to the trip, I was buzzing. There is nothing I love more than taking in a game on foreign soil and immersing myself in the usually colorful local game day traditions. However, a couple of days before, I noticed that the game had been postponed and the season would not start until the following week. Damn. Oh well, nothing I could do about that, though I wanted to call the league and plead with them to change it back.

Instead, on Friday morning, I hopped a cab to downtown to go explore Estadio Olímpico Andrés Quintana Roo for myself. We arrived at the stadium and pulled into the parking lot, only to be greeted with locked gates and an unimpressed security guard. I told my cabbie that I would not be able to effectively negotiate a trip inside with my mediocre Spanish, so I kindly asked that he do so on my behalf. He agreed, and asked me to wait in the car. A moment later, he gave me the universal head nod and smile, and I leapt out of the car like an overexcited teenager on a first date. I asked my driver to hold tight, and then I thanked and greeted the security guard with a warm American howdy. “Gracias. Hola. Buenos dias.”

He walked me down to row 1, asked for my Passport, and then in a myriad of quick, short, and very direct Spanish phrases basically said, “Behave, or else.”

Misbehaving in a downtown Mexican city is not recommended, so I indeed behaved. He allowed me to feed my love for stadium architecture, taking in the wild, bright colors of this particular venue. I breathed it in, took some pictures and videos, and then was on my way.

But before I left, I had one more thing to do. In as quality of Spanish as I could remember from high school and college, Mexico City and Tijuana, I turned to the gentleman and thanked him. I told him he didn’t have to do this, and that it made my day. He visibly perked up, smiled, and we talked for a minute. I told him I behaved, he laughed and handed me my Passport back, and I walked out of the front gate giving him a very personal head nod and smile.

I never stepped foot on the beach. I snuck in a quick read by the pool Saturday morning before the flight. I shared a handful of meals with Christy. But my trip, my memory of Cancún, will be the golf course attendants, cab drivers, and security guards that went above and beyond to help me have a really personalized, unique experience.

A good smile can say please (shout out Banks Bostic), but it can also say thank you. And I dropped a lot of the latters this week. These kind folks were my companions this trip, and they made it pretty darn good.

Have a great week.-Benj

Join the abk community!

Follow along on Instagram @anythingbutkhakis and @abkgolf.

If you enjoy these and would like to get the weekly piece via email, please follow on the website http://www.anythingbutkhakis.com .

2017-2020: From Destin to Natchez and Everywhere in Between

“I’ve never seen any transformation that didn’t begin with the person in question finally getting sick of their own bullshit.”-The Good Agency

This quote may seem harsh to start off the new year, but as someone who has undergone an almost three year self-imposed transformation, it speaks to me.

In your face? Sure. My kind of style? Absolutely. 100% true? Dead on.

Though I have an immense focus on continued growth and evolution in 2020, I feel the transformation phase is coming to a close. It was a battle. Lots of deep thoughts. Lots of tough questions. Lots of Come to Jesus meetings with myself. (Also, lots of travel. 52 wonderful, eye opening trips and a major relocation to date.)

I accomplished so much in the transformation phase. There were no traditional accolades or awards. Quite the opposite actually. I simply completely, and somewhat quietly, changed my life. (Better than a trophy, really.)

So now it is time to keep moving forward, and since this is the time of year most people throw out resolutions that some have already broken twelve days into the new year, I thought I would give you an insight into my goals and how I think.

(I woke up Saturday morning dreaming vividly about a book title and what the opening sentence of said book should be. That’s when I knew it was time.)

1. I will begin writing my book about the abk golf journey this month.

2. After months of toiling primarily solo on the golf course, I will compete as much as possible. I played my first two competitions last week, kicking off a new era of pressure with a decent 78.

3. I must INVEST in the tools needed to achieve my golf goal. I have always been a bargain shopper when it comes to golf as the equipment is so damn expensive, but multiple true golf folks have now told me it is time.

4. It is time to find a place to live. That process has started, and I am confident it will be a real coastal gem to enjoy later on this year.

5. I must get even more serious about my health. It will always be a battle with my ankylosing spondylitis, but with the amount of time I spend on my feet and the force I impose on my body daily, extra care is an absolute necessity.

6. Teach for America- I mentioned this a month or so ago, but unfortunately, I was informed last week that I did not fit the mold for the ideal candidate. While disappointed at first, I know this means something even better will open up.

7. Having said that, I am almost ready to put my business brain back on. Travel is expensive. Golf is expensive. Health insurance is expensive. What’s the next opportunity? Remember, I didn’t retire. I was just busy changing my life.

8. Last, but certainly not least, travel. I think everyone should do it as much as humanly possible. To different places. With different people. My life was changed by a myriad of different experiences and people, but nothing shaped my new and improved outlook on the world as much as traveling to new places and talking to complete strangers, many of whom are now good friends.

The number one thing I learned in 2019 was patience. Turns out, many of my personal goals are long term. They take time. I can’t skip steps. I can’t fit a square peg in a round hole. I have to focus on them daily. Act on them daily. Turn them into a habit or r-r-r-routine, no matter how much I hate that word. The goals are the bright lights, but the real “oomph” is the daily behavior.

The only reason I can now compete semi-confidently in an arena where I was formerly a complete outsider (and probably always will be) is because I grinded every day in that hot ass sun. The only reason I have so many wonderful stories and learnings to share is because I went and traveled. The only reason I have anything to write about is because I went and DID.

Alright. It’s 2020, but just more of the same from me. Doing. Action. Etc. 😴 No one else is going to do it for you, nor should they.

I’m off to Mexico this week for abk Trip # 53. Stay tuned on Instagram throughout the week, and read all about it next Sunday.

Have a great week, and get after it.-Benj

Join the abk community, and bring a friend with you!

Follow along on Instagram @anythingbutkhakis and @abkgolf.

If you enjoy these and would like to get the weekly piece via email, please follow on the website http://www.anythingbutkhakis.com .

2019: Rocking the Boat, Rewriting the Rules, and The Ultimate Tradeoff

“When you have a goal like this, it has to be an obsession. For better or worse, everything else takes a back seat. You are basically trying to win the lottery.” – Comedian Nate Bargatze

What changed in 2019? Everything.

In 2019, I slept in my own bed for only 36 nights. I had 4 major injuries (foot, hip, lower back, upper back). I explored 22 states and Mexico. I golfed in 12 states and Mexico. I travelled roughly 30,000 miles. I played or practiced golf 194 days. In 8.5 months, I shaved 12.7 strokes off of my average score (94 to 81.3) and 8.7 strokes off of my handicap (14 to 5.3). My best score was 74 (last Thursday), and I shoot in the 70s regularly now. I had only 2 haircuts. After March 22, I got dressed up twice.

I currently own neither khakis nor jeans nor lots of other things that are simply not necessary at this time in my journey.

My love for style has not dwindled one bit. I’ve just replaced pinstripe suits with floral hoodies and golf clothes.

Plantar fasciitis is a big, bad bitch.

Watching the savings account go backwards instead of forwards is not for the faint of heart.

There’s good debt. There’s bad debt. And there’s no debt. The latter is freedom.

“You definitely want a little spice in your life. But too much can be unpalatable.”- Golfer Phil Mickelson

Travel thoughts right now? Definitely=Dallas and Natchez. Maybe=Mexico. Wish list=Detroit.

Cost of living difference from uptown Charlotte to Mississippi? Extreme.

I carry cash now. Casino town.

“Rare to find an educated, qualified professional who works only when he needs money, then quits his job when it’s time to be moving along, chasing tournaments like they’re roaming buffalo.”-Author Tom Coyne

Someone may look happy but actually be miserable. Someone may have a lot of friends but actually be lonely. Someone may appear to have it together but actually be broken. Been there. Done that.

Look to your left. Look to your right. You have no idea.

Something that is super simple or easy for you may be very difficult for me, and vice versa.

I absolutely love being a father, but I’ve really had to work at it.

“…what she considered success I considered failure.”-DJ Harvey

What are you interested in? Are you pursuing it? If not, why?

From a traditional financial standpoint, I took 9 months off. From every other standpoint, I was ON IT every single day. I made a massive investment in myself and the trajectory of my (and others’) future.

Early on, almost every day, I doubted or questioned myself. What am I doing? Being intentional felt selfish. Being so different felt weird.

“Pressure is a privilege.” -Billie Jean King

I voluntarily moved to a place where so many people believe the complete opposite of what I do.

I hope Christy and Banks are happy. That is a massive part of this.

You don’t have to pretend in New Orleans.

I love stuff that tastes good and looks good. Those are my vices.

Mountain Dew is my Jack Daniels. BBQ is my drug of choice.

I eat 20% of my meals at gas stations now.

“The journey doesn’t really start until things go sideways.”-Patrick Koenig, Joe Garvey

Coaching four year old soccer will teach you to let go. Otherwise, you might have a heart attack.

abk has no financial goal. Only impact.

Over 11,000 different people have read along at anythingbutkhakis.com at some point. Some read once and never return. Some read periodically. Some read every week.

I’m finally finding my community. It spans all over the country. Fits me perfectly.

I’m not the same person on days I don’t get to play golf.

I shot 75 last Friday and was not happy at all. I think this says something about me.

Actions dictate results. Attitude dictates luck.

Stuff is overrated and mostly unnecessary.

I feel like I’ve lived three full lifetimes over the past few years. I know how lucky I am.

I walked into Tijuana and played golf. That was crazy.

Every day is an opportunity to shoot the best score of my life. I’ve done it twice in December.

Sunshine is the best medicine.

Southern Mississippi at sunset is absolutely stunning.

You and I have a lot to be thankful for. Just trust me. I’ve seen some things.

My biggest struggle? I am wildly independent, but I’m working on it.

There are a zillion different worlds out there. Go find the one you want to live in.

The biggest travel surprise of the year was either southwestern Oklahoma; Eureka Springs, Arkansas; or Bryant, Alabama.

I have a hard time listening to people who have no frame of reference for what I am trying to do. It’s so much bigger than golf, likes, and follows. It’s impact. It’s lives. It’s happiness.

At the end of the day, I’m going to do it the abk way.

Vision can get ruined by focusing too much on taking out the trash.

Having said that, the trash still has to be taken out.

“Everything you can imagine is real.” -Pablo Picasso

I’ve become a Pelicans fan, but I’m definitely not a Saints fan. Drew Brees is class, though.

What scares me? Wanting independence and getting loneliness. Also, completely losing my health.

Health insurance costs are insane.

I would rather make the wrong decision than no decision at all. A million times over.

No excuses. Just own it.

“It’s my secret love to read the blog every week…I just won’t admit it in public of course.” -Anonymous friend via text

What’s most important to me? Action. Patience. Mindset. Attitude. Self-awareness. Freedom. Acceptance.

I like seeing alligators every day, but I also love wearing alligator belts. I struggle with that.

It is incredibly hard to build something from scratch.

We are all on a journey. I wasn’t put on earth to be a banker, though maybe I was for that period of time.

I’m 951 days into my conscious journey of living. I’m just a baby.

Biggest win of my journey so far? Becoming human.

The answer is still always yourself. But a helping hand never hurts.

These pictures from Torrey Pines in California, Tijuana Country Club, and Sand Hollow in Utah are my favorite golf images of the year.

A massive thank you to my family, friends, various landlords (lol), biggest supporters, golf buddies, travel mates, doctors, rehab team, and golf crew at Shell Landing.

2020 resolutions? Keep living. Inspire others to do the same.

I’ll be back in a few weeks. Enjoy your holidays.-Benj

Join the abk community!

Follow along on Instagram @anythingbutkhakis and @abkgolf.

If you enjoy these and would like to get the weekly piece via email, please follow on the website http://www.anythingbutkhakis.com .