Hemingway described courage as “Grace under pressure.” I think that’s one aspect of courage – though that might also describe a certain type of apathy.
I think most of us would describe courage as doing what we should do when we’re afraid to do it. Courage is more about doing what is difficult than maintaining our cool.
Playing golf can take courage. Playing a shot while strangers are watching is pretty scary for most average golfers. And playing to win can be pretty scary for professional golfers.
That’s what makes the Masters so much fun. The back nine at Augusta National is full of risk/reward holes. It takes courage to go for birdie (or eagle) on those finishing holes. And, the winner goes under par on the back nine – playing safe won’t win the Green Jacket.
I’m not talking reckless – that will usually end in disaster. No, I mean the courage to play smart and be aggressive.
It’s sort of the Wizard of Oz. Like the Tin Man, Scarecrow, and the Lion – you need Heart, Brains, and Courage. Reckless is Courage without Brains.
As for “Grace under pressure” … yeah, I respect that. But courage is doing the right thing when it’s difficult. Hemingway blew his brains out with a shotgun. He was always obsessed with being cool. When he got older and thought he wasn’t cool anymore … he took a not very courageous way out.
Being courageous is always cool – being cool isn’t always courageous.
GM and Head Golf Professional