Category Archives: Peak Performance

Jordan, Jack, and Unstoppable Success

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My first memory of life occurred when I was three years old on a Saturday afternoon with my dad.  We were staked out on my brother’s bed, tuned into our little black and white television.  Perhaps a better word would be “glued” to the t.v. as the indomitable Arnold Palmer charged up the 18th fairway winning yet another victory to expand his kingdom.  When it wasn’t Arnold, it was Jack staking his claim to  championship territory.  While most little girls were playing with dolls, I was at Daddy’s side absorbing his love for the game and enjoying watching the world’s greatest players seize the prize.

With decades of observing the greats of old as a weekly tradition, and rubbing shoulders with them from time to time, it is no wonder I found myself comparing the new young Master’s champion, Jordan Spieth, to those who have gone on before. As my eyes once again were glued to the television for an entire weekend, I couldn’t help but compare Spieth to Nicklaus.  The two could pass for twins when it comes to similarity of style and the unique factors behind their success.

In terms of the way they play the game, both are strategic thinkers, methodical and along the serious side in their natures. Jack was all about course management and his thinking about how he played his shots.  Ditto Jordan.  While you might argue that Tiger Woods is also a strategic thinker, he is, but in a very different way.  His thinking is much more aggressive and a lot of the time, outside of himself in his fighting style.  Woods’ energy is very forceful and physical.  Both Nicklaus and Speith vent their energy verbally.  They also are very ritualistic in the set-up of each of their shots, meticulous to the bone.

At last year’s U.S. Open I had the opportunity to get inside the ropes to watch the players.  As a performance coach, I am a trained observer and watched each one like a hawk.  When I saw Jordan, he stood out like a like a lone cat in a line of German Shepherds.  There was something about his quiet demeanor, the way he carried himself as champion, and his utmost confidence in himself.  His level of focus was off the charts, and I thought to myself, “Who is this good-looking young guy who conveys the air of an Open champion even in his walk?”  (I have to admit, I also said to myself, “Wow!  Too bad I am not a thousand years younger!  He’s so cute!)  Both Nicklaus and Spieth exude a similar air of a champion who refuses to think about himself as anything less than one–ever—even in a casual walk around the clubhouse.  Their mindset is sealed to dwell forever in the champion zone.

Perhaps the greatest similarity between the two champions is their upbringing. While most people don’t link home life and friendships as causal factors to championship performance, deep trusted relationships are primal to long-term success.  Nicklaus had a very holistic upbringing, playing numerous sports, and was grounded in a solid, intact, family life.  Jack Grout was his teacher since he was a young boy.  The consistent encouragement and friendship that Grout offered Nicklaus through the years had both a pillow and launching pad effect on the champion.  I know this first hand.

One day I was on the driving range watching Nicklaus hit balls with Grout’s eye upon his every shot.  The intensity of Nicklaus’ focus on the range was no less than it was under pressure.  Hitting one irons, each ball shot forth like a torpedo to a tree way down the range. Nicklaus never looked at his target. His eyes were riveted on a spot a foot in-front of the ball.  “Great shot, Jack!”  Grout said to Nicklaus. Jack hit another shot followed by another shot of empowerment from Grout, “Jack, you’re the greatest!”  Grout built Jack up after each shot.  I felt like I was watching a song and a dance routine between the two of them.

While Spieth obviously looked at his targets, they were small ones.  His head was down a lot, focusing deeply on what was right before him.  He chose his caddy because of his powers of encouragement and friendship.  Like Nicklaus, Jordan too, has a grounded home life, a special needs sister whom he is deeply inspired by, and a long term teacher he had since he was an emerging teenager. There is something to be said about the relational dynamics of having the kind of support around you that breeds stability, nurture, and emotional security so that you are free to look outward and soar.  Because I never had that, it is so glaringly obvious to me the power of nurture to one’s success when I see it. Spieth himself credits his family and team as the most important factors in his rise to the top.

Whether Spieth will ever equal or surpass Nicklaus’ record has yet to be seen.  From the eye of this beholder, however, there’s no telling how many more decades this golf chic will be glued to the television screen, engaged in her father’s favorite past-time, cheering on a new generation champion who has already demonstrated the traits of unstoppable success.

God’s Way to an A upcoming seminar


I am pleased to announce that I will be equipping students for intellectual and emotional victory in their studies through my upcoming God’s Way to an A seminar here in Va. Beach.  If you have been seeking God for a breakthrough in your studies, this training is for you.  I have seen amazing skyrockets in students’ personal and academic life through this eye opening, paradigm changing approach to learning.  Trust me, you will never approach learning the same way again.  If it’s time for you to stop striving, start abiding, and enjoy soaring–PLEASE don’t waste another moment in academic torture!  Sign up today. Make the investment in yourself.  God has a more excellent way for you.  The workshop is geared for college and grad students.  Interested high school seniors accepted upon request.  Email me at:     To register: Go to:  Click on “events.”


GWA_brochure_new life

Hope to see you there!  Veronica

Invoke the Slight Edge for Success

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Sometimes it’s not the big things in golf that cause you to advance your game, but the little things done consistently over time.

The other day I was giving a golf clinic to a group of women who wanted to learn how to read greens and develop feel in their game. Considering that feel for the greens is the number one factor in scoring well, it is a much over-looked component to lowering your scores without making a major investment in lessons or equipment. It only takes a little more time to practice strategically before you go out to play.

“The only way to learn feel is to spend time on the greens, especially before you go out to play to give your body a chance to align properly to a target based on the speed of the greens.” I noticed that most high handicappers will hit a putt from one place and then immediately go to another spot to putt without actually taking the time to learn how a specific putt breaks to the hole. Continue reading

Join us for the Big Bloomers Golf Clinic this Sunday

Please join me Sunday, September 21 from 3 to 5 pm
at Longleaf Country Club in Pinehurst
The 4 Movements to the Golf Swing
 The 4 Movements to Becoming a Big Bloomer!
Hello Friends!
How often have you and I heard the phrase, “Golf is a man’s game?”  As many times as I have looked down the driving range and realized I was the only woman working on my swing in the company of 25 or so men, I just happened to know better:  Golf is a woman’s game—and a passion of mine is to do golf a girl’s way!
That’s why I have decided to use the game to empower women to create a more beautiful life.  While I have used the language with many of you of becoming a champion, in my life-coaching to women, I like to use the term “blossoming.”  Both terms are about releasing your potential to become the best version of yourself.
Mom became the best version of herself when she took up the game at 85 and broke free from a 6 month death sentence due to a terminal heart condition and a death wish to literally blossom while she was dying.  She lived almost 7 more years
and finished strong–Together we re-created her legacy.

Continue reading

Birdies for Grandma!

alysaWith the thrill of the Opens now almost at a bygone simmer, I wonder what will forever remain etched in my memory upon reflection of the event as time moves on.  You see, winners come and go.  I found it amazing that Kaymer who won by an amazing ten shots failed to make the cut in his next tournament.  Wie bowed to Lewis who seized backed her champion position in her next event.  Isn’t it the nature of the game that what brings a thrill in one moment vanishes into the parched brown fairway to wither away in sports history oblivion in the next.

Every now and then, however, I meet a true champion, someone whose impact upon my life never fades away, even years after meeting that person. A true champion is someone who impresses you more about who they are than about what they score.  I met such a person in ten year old Alyssa Getty. Continue reading

Too Many Golf Clothes to Quit!

golf shoesI have taught golf for a long time and have heard just about every reason why someone wants to play golf and doesn’t want to play golf.  Recently, however, a lady golfer came to me sharing a deep lament regarding her inner golf conflict that took the cake. Frustrated at her debilitating scores and heightening frustration, she had plaguing thoughts of quitting the game. She confessed to me, “I can’t quit golf.  I have too many golf outfits!”  Continue reading

A Lesson from Lucy Li: Be a bloomer!


The U.S. Kids World Championship has always been one of my favorite events of the year here in Pinehurst.  There’s nothing like watching a seven year old swing with the ease and power of an up and coming Tiger Woods and wishing I could replicate that child’s near perfect swing!  My involvement this year, however, was different.  Continue reading

To Quit or Not to Quit


Golf is a funny game.  Unlike other sports, we golfers are haunted on a regular basis with the “quitting demons.”  Why is it that in just about every round of golf or in just about every championship quest a golfer pursues, there is the temptation to quit the game?  The thought has never occurred to me in playing volleyball or tennis or in any other sport.

I think it is in the nature of the beast.  Without question, golf is the hardest sport I have ever played.  When I took up tennis, I could take long layoffs and pick the game back up right where I left off.  The same is true for racquetball.  But golf?  Take some time off and off kiss your game good-bye if you want to play with any consistency.

Today was a real game changer for me because just when I decided to set the game aside for a season, some unsuspecting force came along to open up my mind, release my inner athlete, and get me excited about a whole new pursuit.  Oh, gimme a break!  Just when I was relishing in the thought of giving myself permission to walk away from the torture and frustration of pressing through to the next level, Frank Lewis had to enter into my life—and give me fresh hope—just went I didn’t want any!  Continue reading

We’re All Just Kids Around the Cup

It’s Father’s Day!  Impressed upon all our minds and hearts is the now iconic image of Payne Stewart hugging the neck of Phil Michelson upon his 1999 Open win and exclaiming “You’re going to be a father!” Golf and fatherhood.  Those two words best describe some of the fondest memories many of us claim to have with our dad.  I know they do mine.

My first memory of life was watching  our little black and white television with my dad on a Saturday afternoon when I was three years old.  I will never forget the image of Arnold Palmer walking up the 18th green, sinking one of his famous putts, and thrusting his arm up in the air in a show of ultimate victory.  Dad and I were there in 1973 at Oakmont walking the fairways watching Johnny Miller shoot 63 to make his historic win. I remember my first golf lesson with Alfie Jackson, at Churchill Country Club.  Dad was so proud to be there, watching me learn the game for the first time at 14, after 9 years of putting.

The most vivid memory I have of Dad is the first time we played golf together.  It was a cold December Saturday in 1973.  The snow just began to melt in Pittsburgh and unlike most girls my age who would be running to get their sled, I ran to my dad shouting, “Daddy, Daddy, the snow’s melting. Let’s go play golf!”  My dad looked at me like I was nuts, but saw the passion in my eyes and my deep desire to be with him on the course. Continue reading

Champion Mindset of the Week: Affirm the champion identity in yourself and others!

Champion Mindset of the Week:  Repeat after me:  “I AM a champion!  YOU are a champion!”

I often refer to my clients/students when I speak to them as “Champion Marilyn” or “Champion Sue.” I call them by the name that reflects how I see them, their true identity. I believe there is a champion in everyone.  It’s a powerful word, isn’t it?

Most people I come across do not see themselves as a champion.  When I was working at the Greg Norman CHAMPIONS Golf Academy, I would go out on the golf course and observe twelve 17 year old boys from Mexico play their game.  I would observe who would play like a champion and who would not.  I would not judge their champion identity from their score, but by how they carried themselves on the course–by how they conducted themselves and by what they demonstrated to me.

One day I was observing Fernando.  Watching him play, he looked like he was on the PGA tour.  If he hit a good shot, if he hit a bad shot, you could not tell how well or how poorly he was playing, because his emotions were so consistently calm.  I was so impressed with him, even though he was not having the best day score-wise.  When we got back to the classroom, I said in front of all the other boys, “Fernando, you are such a champion.  Today, I saw you behaving like a PGA player out there, I was so impressed.”  As I spoke into his champion identity, you could see that he never had anyone tell him what I was telling him about himself.  I could see that he was not seeing himself as I saw him, but as I spoke LIFE to him, I could see that he was drinking in affirmation about connecting to his true identity as a champion.

Within a matter of just a few weeks, he went out and won his first tournament.  I have to believe by making a deposit of identity affirmation to this young man, he was able to connect to his higher self and began to “play from his spirit.”

This past week I did not qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open.  I shot two rounds in the eighties.  This was a three year goal I had for myself.  The good news is, I did not sink in my emotions.  There was no despair or negativity whatsoever.  Why?  Because I had the power of others speaking to my champion identity. I felt so much love and affirmation through my Caddy Club support system which I intentionally created to give myself the encouragement I needed, that when I did not qualify, a wave of love washed any spirit of defeat off of my true champion identity which I define as an overcomer.

There is SO MUCH more to say about my journey that I want to share with you, but for this week, for just today, I want to encourage you to  live, work, and breathe from your champion identity—say to yourself outloud, “I am a champion!”  and then instead of judging o speaking about that person who you see is not living up to their true champion identity, go speak to the champion in someone else who can’t see what you see in them. Who knows?  There may be a first place finisher just waiting to emerge in them as there was in Fernando.  And even if there isn’t in the moment, you will call someone else up higher to be their best selves.  Isn’t that what we all need a little more of in our world, and what we all crave for, someone else to come along and help wash off the crud of negativity so that our excellent spirit can shine more powerfully?

Inspiring you to hit your best shot, Veronica

I have One More Spot Open-  Breakthrough to Your A Game workshop Pinewild Country Club, tomorrow, June 5, 9 to 4 in Pinehurst