by Tom Ward

As a golf instructor, I have been fortunate enough to travel extensively around the world teaching and developing golf programs in foreign lands to players from all walks of life. Over the years I have encountered numerous excuses from golfers on why they don’t play better.

Some of these tired (worn out) expressions such as “You can’t teach and old dog new tricks”, or “I am too old” are all too familiar phrases to anyone who has been around the game for any substantial time.

I think I have seen better swings in a condemned playground, than some of the methods golfers have choosen to employ. Then a few years ago I ran into a fellow that changed my perceptions and attitudes that inspired me to become a better teacher by walking in his shoes so too speak.

When I stage golf exhibitions throughout the world I try to motivate, and challenge golfers to reach their potential. I have Steve Minot to thank for helping me become the best instructor I can possibly be! I never allow my students to use the word “Failure”, or think for a moment that they can’t succeed in attaining their goals because “Failure is not about falling down in life, it’s about not getting back up”.

That profound statement reminds me daily of Steve Minot who heads up a Colorado based Chapter for Disabled golfers that holds their annual Golf Tournament every August in the Denver area. I have been privileged since 1991 to participate in his event,as well as stage a demonstration for all the golfers in attendance.

I didn’t mention that Steve has polio, and the first time we went to play he would fall face first down to the ground after every shot. Well my instinct was to help him up, which I quickly found that Steve had no need for my assistance. Can you imagine the love that he must have to play the game under these circumstances, as most golfers get tired of walking after a few holes.

After we finished our round Steve asked me to some advice about his game. I felt that fundamentally he did a lot of good things in his game as he regularly shoots in the high 70’s and low 80’s. I was determined to get him out of the falling down mode immediately, so to better understand what Steve was experiencing I began to hit shots with only one leg on the ground to simulate his swing as best I could.

Well, without going into depth about how I got Steve to eliminate his balance problem we got him back on track pretty quick. It was very rewarding to see him hit the ball, and not fall down after impact. The bonus that was derived later on was that he was beginning to hit the ball further than ever before with tremendous accuracy.

Since that first meeting a few years ago, I have incorporated a series of so called “Trick” shots into my routine when performing. They are entertaining and quite enlightening because it shows people that there are many ways to hit a golf ball.

In reality, these shots demonstrate effectively that if you have good fundamentals that ball doesn’t care if your Black/white/one arm/one leg/sighted or not as it won’t discriminate. Remember the old saying “What the mind conceives, the body can achieve”. Whatever limits you may have physically, they don’t have to be mentally. The only real limits we have are in our minds! I have Steve Minot to thank for this valuable lesson. It’s the best lesson I ever had, because it’s a lesson of a lifetime….