I have been a golf professional for over 30 years. During this time I have experienced many great golfing moments, both personally and as a teacher. Many of the lessons I learned along the way have been shared with my students through emails and blogs. These lessons are the foundation of my book Lessons from My Winnings, which is available on Amazon.
I believe that sharing what I have learned will not only help aspiring players learn how to play golf better but will also help them get more enjoyment out of the game.
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I just won my third tournament this season and you know, I feel like I have so much to offer the world of golf. I don’t think it’s right that I should keep all these lessons to myself. Let me share them with the world.
First, it’s important to learn how to control your emotions on the course. You want to be calm, cool and collected at all times. You can’t let things get to you or you’re sunk. Like when I was on the 18th hole at Augusta this year and I was three shots back from the leader in the final round of The Masters, I said to myself ‘Robinson, you got this.’ And then when I sunk that putt for a hole-in-one and won the tournament, my first words were ‘I told you so!’ It was truly incredible.
Second, money is about confidence. If you have money, then people respect you more because they think you know what you’re doing, even if you really don’t. That’s why I always tip very well – which is another way of saying that I always tip very large sums of money – even though none of those kids have any idea what they’re doing out there and would probably lose me my ball if given half
Playing in one of my first golf tournaments, I was paired with a friend in the final round. He was near the lead, while I was trailing by 10 strokes. On the first hole, I hit my drive into the trees, but miraculously made par. My luck continued as I hit great shots and made an eagle on a par 4 later that day. Suddenly, I was closing in on my friend.
A couple holes later, we stood in the middle of a fairway, trying to decide which way to hit our tee shots. We both agreed it would be best to aim at a tree on the other side of the fairway because it would likely kick our balls out into the open and give us a clear shot at the green. As we were about to tee off, another golfer came running over yelling at us not to do it because his ball ricocheted off that tree and went out of bounds.
I listened to him and aimed away from the tree. My shot landed short and kicked back into the fairway giving me a better angle for my approach shot than if I had hit it toward the tree as planned. But when my partner teed off, he ignored what he had been told and went with his original plan anyway. Sure enough
I met James Robinson, of the Los Altos Golf and Country Club, at the annual golf tournament he hosts at his club. He has been a member of his club since 1974, and has played more than 40,000 rounds of golf there. His average score is 88.
In our interview, Robinson shared some of the lessons he learned from playing golf over the last 50 years. He also talked about how his approach to life was influenced by his golfing experiences.
Robinson said that one of the main things that golf taught him was patience. He said that it took him many years to learn how to play well, and he had to be patient with himself as he learned. He also said that it took time for him to learn how to enjoy playing golf and not just focus on his score or winning tournaments.
Robinson said that playing golf has helped him deal with setbacks in life and taught him not to get too upset when things don’t go his way. He said that when you play golf, you will always have bad shots and bad days, but it’s important not to let those things affect you too much.
In early 1976, Jim Robinson was playing in a golf tournament in Aspen, Colorado. He had played the first 18 holes and was tied for first place. The second round would be on the same course, and he was looking forward to it.
At that time, he was living in San Francisco and owned a company that made consumer products such as outdoor grills and camp stoves. He liked the business but felt it wasn’t what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He began thinking about his options and came up with two: go back to school or play golf. He decided to go back to school and earn an MBA so he could get into a more challenging type of business. So that day in Aspen, as he approached the 19th hole, he made a decision: After this tournament, I’ll quit playing competitive golf and go back to school.
He won the tournament with a score of 280, which set a new course record of -8 par 72. The next week he won another tournament at Lake Tahoe with an even better score of 278, which tied another course record at -10 par 72. And then he went back to San Francisco and enrolled at Stanford Business School.
After earning his MBA from Stanford, Jim
The 2012 Ryder Cup was held in September at Medinah Country Club, outside Chicago. In preparation for the competition, I spent countless hours analyzing a database of more than five million golf shots from the PGA tour.
The three-day tournament consists of 28 matches: foursomes, fourballs and singles. In each match, two players on one team compete against two others on the other team; the best score wins the hole.
A crucial statistic is margin of victory: how much better one team’s player performs relative to his opponent’s. We found that this margin was bigger than expected in fourballs: The winning team’s players scored an average of 0.7 strokes better than their opponents.
In singles, however, in which you play your opponent only, we found that the skill advantage evaporated: The U.S. players were actually scoring just 1/10 of a stroke worse than their European counterparts.
One explanation for this anomaly involves psychology: The pressure of playing for yourself is more intense than playing as part of a pair; it can lead to choking under pressure and worse performance.
In my opinion that pressure contributed to Europe’s triumph at Medinah last fall; their players managed the intense pressure better, while ours did not.
I have been a golfer since the age of six and have worn many hats in the golf industry. I played golf while attending the University of Virginia and upon graduation, I was fortunate to join the PGA Tour as a tour representative for Titleist. I learned many valuable lessons about how to handle success and failure during my years on tour and later as a product manager for Titleist/Acushnet Company.
After 11 years with Acushnet Company, I joined adidas-Salomon’s TaylorMade Golf division as Vice President of New Product Marketing. During my tenure at TaylorMade, I had a front row seat to one of the greatest marketing stories in sports business history. After leaving TaylorMade, I formed my own brand marketing and consulting firm, which helped me transition into an executive role with Reebok. Reebok is best known for its athletic footwear but it also has an impressive portfolio of other products including apparel, watches and eyewear.
I’m proud to say that my current company — Golfsmith International — is one of the most respected names in golf equipment retailing. You can find out more about Golfsmith at www.golfsmith.com or by visiting any of our 89 retail stores located throughout North America.