Still three feet off the ground thanks to my weekend traversing pristine Augusta National during The Masters and observing the best players in the world attracting the very best audience in sport, is a perfect example of the next lesson I share with you entitled: The Best Attract the Best. No matter what your current ability level, I am confident this lesson from my book, Mentored by the King, Arnold Palmer’s Success Lessons for Golf, Business and Life will inspire you to pursue like minded people to achieve your goals on and off the course.
Michael Jordan has been retired from the NBA since 2003, but he’s still considered one of the most recognizable and admired professional athletes in world history. He continues to appear in commercials and films, and, while the famous Gatorade slogan of the 1990s, “I wanna be like Mike,” may no longer be in circulation, its premise still holds true. Kids still want to play basketball with the prowess and skill of Michael Jordan, captured in the lyrics of the Gatorade jingle, “Sometimes I dream he is me.” For decades, kids of all ages have been drawn to this living basketball legend.
In 1992, Michael Jordan came to Orlando for the NBA All-Star Games. And what does a globe-trotting sports icon do before a big game? If he’s in the Orlando area and loves the game of golf as much as MJ, he plays at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge. But Jordan didn’t just come to play golf?—?he came to play marathon golf. We’re talking fifty-four holes in one day!
On this particular day, I was honored to host him and join the foursome with a friend of Michael’s and a student of mine, Robert Damron. Robert had just begun his college golf career and was already named a freshman All-American at the University of Central Florida. At the time of this writing, he was in his fifteenth season on the PGA Tour and a multi-winner. Needless to say, it was a very good thing having him as my partner for the day. (Discretion prevents me from revealing the results of the day’s event!)
A Special Request from the King of Basketball
At the end of a fun fifty-four holes, we were cooling down from the heat of the day and visiting in the clubhouse. Michael leaned forward. “You know, Brad, I would do anything to have the opportunity to play golf with Arnold Palmer. He could tell me when and where .?.?. and I’m there! He’s one of my all-time heroes. Even though he was close to the end of his competitive career when I was old enough to remember, I have watched most of the Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf?? competitions on the Golf Channel. I just loved his fearless and aggressive style as a competitor.”
Frankly, I was taken aback. The greatest basketball player of all time was talking to me like a schoolboy about his desire to hang with the “King of golf,” Arnold Palmer. Still serving in the capacity of host, I told Jordan that I was sure Mr. Palmer would be pleased to hear of his request and I promised to talk with him about it the next morning. Believe it or not, Jordan departed for the game at the Orlando Arena (after fifty-four holes of golf!), where he scored 18 points in a 153?–?113 thumping from the Western All-Stars. I wonder if MJ overdid it with the golf.
I kept my promise. As I was passing through the grill room the next morning, I spotted Mr. Palmer sitting at his usual breakfast table, reading that morning’s Orlando Sentinel. The front-page headlines were about Magic Johnson being awarded MVP of the previous evening’s All-Star Game?—?Magic’s first game since announcing his retirement.
“Did you get a chance to watch that game last night?” I asked him. He said he had and he asked if I knew Michael Jordan had played golf at Bay Hill yesterday. I chuckled. “I know!” I told him. “I was in his foursome with young Robert Damron. In fact, Jordan had a request for you.” Mr. Palmer put down his paper, intrigued.
“He wanted me to relay his gratitude for hosting him and said, ‘Please tell Mr. Palmer that I would meet him anywhere, anytime?—?except during the final game of the playoffs?—?to play golf with him. He is one of my heroes and I would really like to have a chance to play a round with the King.’?” Arnold laughed heartily, a pleased grin sweeping across his face. “He said that?”
A Meeting Fit for Kings
Arnie and Michael finally met and played at a Pro-Am Seniors Tournament at the Stonebridge Country Club in Illinois. How did they square off? Jordan, playing to an “eight” handicap, shot an estimated 36-45-81. The King started slowly, but he shot a 37-36-73?—?just one over par. What was Arnie’s assessment of Jordan’s golf game? “Michael swings the club very well and has a lot of potential,” he said. “I was pleasantly surprised the way he goes after a golf ball. I enjoyed the game.”
I have in my library a little black book that I picked up at an airport and read in its entirety on a twenty-five-minute flight from Las Vegas to Rancho Cucamonga. The book is titled I Can’t Accept Not Trying, with my favorite chapter being “Fear Is an Illusion.” The author? Michael Jordan. I suggest that you add this book to your collection. Here is a brief excerpt:
Sometimes failure actually just gets you closer to where you want to be. If I’m trying to fix a car, every time I try something that doesn’t work, I’m getting closer to finding the answer. The greatest inventions in the world had hundreds of failures before the answers were found. I think fear sometimes comes from a lack of focus or concentration, especially in sports. If I had stood at the free throw line and thought about 10 million people watching me on the other side of the camera lens, I couldn’t have made anything. So I mentally tried to put myself in a familiar place.
I thought about all those times I shot free throws in practice and went through the same motion, the same technique that I had used thousands of times. You forget about the outcome. You know you are doing the right things. So you relax and perform. After that, you can’t control anything anyway. It’s out of your hands, so don’t worry about it.
It’s no different than making a presentation in the business world or doing a report for school. If you did all the things necessary, then it’s out of your hands. Either the clients liked the presentation or they didn’t. It’s up to the client, the buyer, or the teacher. I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying. That’s why I wasn’t afraid to try baseball. I can’t say, “Well, I can’t do it because I’m afraid I may not make the team.” That’s not good enough for me. It doesn’t matter if you win as long as you give everything in your heart and work at it 110 percent.
Success is something you attract by the person you become. - Jim Rohn, Motivational speaker and author
Arnold Palmer and Michael Jordan share a common perspective. From a competitive standpoint, these two spirits are one and the same. The fast friendship between the two is but one example that the best truly do attract the best. As the turn-of-the-century author Wallace Wattles wrote so eloquently, “To fix your attention on the best is to surround yourself with the best and to become the best.”
For over fifty years, Arnold Palmer has made a habit of doing just that.
The 2014 High Performance Junior Camp season is right around the corner and the tone of the training experience is in sync with what Wattle’s so eloquently said, “to fix each player’s focus on developing the habits of the very best while surrounded by like minded players”. Creating this “Hotbed” of talent inspires learning and growth at an accelerated rate of improvement within a short window of opportunity. It takes place in the shadow of the Convention Center at Rosen Shingle Creek, hosting high powered meetings and conferences every week. Why do these Fortune 500 Companies invest so much time and money traveling to be together when today we can share ideas and communicate instantly and less expensively with social media and online training tools? Because the vibration and energy produced during the gathering of like minded people is the breeding ground for a culture that elicits higher human performance.
Seeking juniors who desire to train with like minded athletes this summer! Call us direct, 407.996.3306, email, firstname.lastname@example.org or by cell, 407.595.3645, and visit www.bradbrewer.com/academy-programs/summer-junior-programs/ for details and enrollment forms.
Until next time, happy golfing,
A Top 100 Teacher by Golf Magazine and PGA class-A Professional, Brad successfully competed on the Austral-Asian PGA Tour and Hogan/Nike Tours, developed the training curriculum for high-performance juniors at Saddlebrooke Preparatory and applies these experiences to his teaching and coaching at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando. Brad was awarded the North Florida PGA Teacher of the Year and Junior Golf Leader of the Year, Edwin Watts Golf Top Instructor Award, along with the honor of Top 50 Instructor in Florida by Golf Digest.