One of Dirty’s favorite ways of describing our upcoming training aid is, “As soon as someone uses the Navigator for the first time, they smile.” It’s an instrument that is simple and effective. And this ease of use leads to instant results. It’s undoubtedly great to know that you’ve created a tool that really works and genuinely improves the skill set of its users. However, it’s even more incredible to see how something you’ve made changes a player’s attitude for the better and turns their game around.
We recently had the opportunity to put the Navigator to use in a very special and significant moment for a friend. After years of tests, papers and internships, Jim’s fate as a college student rested on his ability to pass thePAT (Playing Ability Test), as required for PGA Golf Management students. He had tried multiple times before, but hadn’t quite made the cut. And his deadline for any further attempts was quickly approaching. This would determine whether he earned a college degree or not.
Jim had moved back home after completing his coursework (and presumably practiced some golf during this time), so we weren’t sure what his skill level would be upon his return to Raleigh. We didn’t see him again until the afternoon before his test, and he couldn’t hide his nerves. Jim talked little, laughed less and barely touched his lunch. Hoping to help relax him a bit, we offered to join him out on the course for his last practice round.
As we cruised down the cart path after the first few holes, I looked to Dave for answers. “Is he gonna be able to do this?” Dave bit his lip, “It’s not looking good.” We both sat in silence, trying to think what, if anything, we could do to help.
After Jim teed off on the next hole, Dave began digging around in his golf bag. He pulled out the Navigator and called out, “You want to give this thing a shot?” I stayed back at the cart and watched from afar as the two of them got everything set up. Jim took it into his hands, let it rip, and his face instantly lit up.
I don’t know if he was aware, but from there on out our buddy’s attitude changed. He was no longer apprehensive. He started to really converse and LAUGH. He was back to enjoying his time on the golf course (which I suspect was his reason for choosing a PGA Golf Management degree in the first place).
In Golf’s Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia, Tom Lehman reflects on what he has learned from Dr. David Cook about the game of golf, “A good golf swing is summed up in one word: repeatability. If you can repeat it, you can play. If what you are repeating is good enough, you can be great. It’s that simple.” He makes the (very valid) point that if a player is capable of doing something once, they are capable of doing it again. Jim saw what he could do, and it gave him the confidence he needed to loosen up, play well and enjoy the game again.
The following day, Jim played some of the best golf of his life. And by the end of testing, he had passed the PAT to earn his diploma.
Our friend, of course, was capable of playing as well as he did because of his practice and hard work. However, anyone who has even attempted to learn the game knows what an intense role mentality plays when you’re under the gun. (I am personally the queen of either throwing my clubs and cursing like a sailor in times of intense frustration OR performing like a prodigy… Thanks for the dichotomy, brain.) The Navigator hones in on this aspect of play and instills the confidence that is necessary for peak performance in a player. We can’t take credit for Jim’s success by any means, but I can say that we made him smile and lift his chin up. And that alone makes a big difference.
In the spirit of thanks, I think everyone at DLG can agree that we are very blessed to be working on something this rewarding, to have such an incredible and dynamic staff on board, to have a great group of people supporting us along the way, and to have the opportunity to participate in a captivating sport that we’re truly passionate about.
We send all of our love and gratitude your way this Thanksgiving. Wishing you & yours the very best!