fields the question, noting that "in the Buddhist tradition, the word for
mind--citta--is also the word for heart." His advice: "Plan from your
head, but when it's time to execute the shot, play from your heart."
I, too, had
flagged the conflicting advice but am in no mood to bust the instructors. By
now, my inner cynic is wandering lost among the eucalyptus bordering the 15th
hole, where I'd banished it that morning during a group stroll. Following yoga
and breakfast, my fellow explorers and I had formed a circle around Shoemaker,
the slightly built, slightly mysterious former golf prodigy whose kind eyes and
puckish humor belied the ruthlessness with which he stripped away our
What goes through
your mind, he asked, when you're standing over your ball on the 1st tee?
"I never seem
to have a positive thought," one man volunteered.
added an honest fiftysomething.
"What part of
your anatomy are you in?" replied the Shoe. "You're in your head. And
on the 1st tee, that's a bad neighborhood. The next time you're worried about
how you'll look on the 1st tee, ask yourself, If I hit this out-of-bounds, will
I really be disgraced and have to leave the club and eventually end up pushing
a shopping cart?"
This was his
M.O.--to pull from us knowledge we already had. A sampler of his Socratic
method: What's the definition of freedom? Do we agree that one definition of
freedom is a condition of not being attached or tied to something? Thus, are
you free when you play? After a bad shot, ask yourself, What thoughts displaced
your capacity for freedom? Do you understand, do you really get how much fear
does to your life? The moment you have a fearful thought, and you go sideways
to it [meaning, rather than face it head-on], your life shrinks a little.
Had this been a
revival meeting, I would have been spouting hallelujahs and doing handsprings
down the aisle, like Jake and Elwood Blues at the Triple Rock Baptist
saying this walk will transform you," the Shoe had told us, before we even
started walking, "but it might."
I was a fan of
the Shoe's even before his wife, Jo Hardy, loaned me their Inn &
Spa--issued golf cart. I'd let it drop that my nine-year-old son was
half-crazed with the desire to ride in one. Devin and I sped past the swimming
pool, off the grounds of the Inn, careering through neighborhoods, his face
frozen in a rictus of ecstasy. "That was not a joyride," I fibbed to
the uniformed hotel employee who stood sentinel at the Inn's entrance upon our
return. "We were lost." I loved his reply: "I would never doubt