You never know how stepping out in faith to pursue a championship will end. My quest to qualify for the Women’s U.S. Open this past week ended with a failure to qualify. Or did it? Even though it didn’t look like a score on the card, I did score.
For starters, my brain chemistry actually changed as I was able to walk the daunting eight miles of Carolina Trace without skipping a beat. As a result, I could no longer tell myself that I could not do something that required endurance and stamina because of a former struggle with chronic fatigue. I set a goal and went after it, and re-discovered the power of a worthy goal to accomplish something and move forward. I learned how to overcome obstacles and keep going in a new way. What was most outstanding about the experience, however, was the power of a caddie club to lift my spirits and to immediately wash away all defeating emotions. It was also great to see how many people became excited about golf, whether they played or not.
A caddie club is a group of cheerleaders comprised of friends and family whom you invite into your championship. It is the sixth step in my holistic approach to peak performance system. I believe that competition and achievement are meant to be accomplished from a place of relationship. We all need encouragement, so why not intentionally build into your quest the power of emotional support to keep your spirits positive and to ward off the unrelenting ups and downs of the game.
I call it a Caddie Club because the purpose of a caddy is to carry your bag. Tiger Woods is a great golfer, but you will never see him carrying his own bag. That is the job of the caddie. For you to perform your best, you cannot carry your own burden. You have to be emotionally “cleared” to pursue your goal.
For my Caddie Club, I invited eighteen of my friends to each choose a hole to cover through encouragement and prayer. I would email them an update every week. “I’ll take hole #1!” Judy, my friend from Canada exclaimed, “because I want to see you get off to a great start!” “I’ll take hole #13, because that is the day of the month I got married,” one friend said. “I’ll take hole #5, because I have 5 kids!”
My friend Betse said, “I will cover you on hole #10. I picked that hole because it about making the turn. If you’ve played well on the front nine, you will need to remain focused and continue that good play on the back nine. If you haven’t played well on the front nine, it’s your opportunity to turn things around on the back nine. How you play the 10th hole is crucial in determining your outcome. I also will pray for overall stamina for you as you play 36 holes in one day. I wish you all the best.”
With the power of Facebook, I had people from all over the world sending me their well-wishes, some whom I did not even know! So when it didn’t happen, I was caught by the power of love. All negative emotions were immediately washed away as I felt a tidal wave of embrace from others.
Locally, Caddie Club member #13, Ova Jean Siemens came out, walked the course with her friend Dawn, and treated us all to dinner. Caddie Club member, Penny, came out at 6:30 am to help see me off! Thanks to Kaye Pierson, my wonderful caddy on the course, I not only left experiencing the power of friendship on the course, but have a new friend off the course, too. Caddie Club members Marilyn, Susan, Jan and Dan, provided sponsorship. My brother, Mike, took #18. It was so great to have his support.
What I didn’t expect was how my caddie club helped grow the game of golf: My non-golfing neighbors, Pat and Carol, Caddy Club members on holes #4 and #14, staked themselves out on the ninth hole. “We thought we were in the competition ourselves, it was so exciting,” they told me. Felecia from Texas said, “I felt like I was going through your journey with you. From your weekly caddie club updates, I took your swing-thoughts for success on the course with me and applied them to my work situation. I came to love golf more because of my participation in your caddy club.” “Mom asked me how you were doing on the course all day long,” another member remarked about her non-golfing 96 year old mom.
In addition to the enthusiasm for the game a championship quest can spark in others, the greatest victory was the opening of my heart all my well-wishers produced in me. Sometimes when life knocks you down, your heart can close. Through this experience, I felt my heart opening to life and new possibilities again. And just maybe, that is the Open I really qualified for—an Open Heart to Life.