Deer Run Golf Club
8661 Deer Run Dr, Victoria, MN 55386
(952) 443-2351
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Greetings Golfers,

What’s fun about writing a weekly blog is that it’s a way to keep in touch with people, but I don’t always have the room to really let it rip.

So – you’ve been warned. I’m going try to put into words an idea that is fundamental to how I see the world. Hopefully it will make sense and not be boring.

In his book “Tragedy and Hope”, Carroll Quigley says that people are a balance of three qualities: body, intuition, and rationality. He believes a healthy person has those qualities in balance, and that a healthy society also has those in balance.

I agree with Quigley. Think about golf in that context. You need the body to make the swing, and the rationality to know the yardage and to decide what to do, but you also need the intuition to “feel the shot. And very often you need the intuition to help you decide what to do – that gut instinct that tells you what is needed or what you’re capable of.

Unfortunately, I believe that we have almost snuffed out that intuitive quality. As we’ve become modern, we believe that rationality is the only form of intelligence – anything else is superstitious.

Probably the world’s foremost Biologist – Rupert Sheldrake – has been ridiculed for his ideas about intuition.

Science has become dominated by the need to quantify and measure everything. But science cannot explain everything. Subjects such as language and the origin of life are still unexplained.

Don’t get me wrong – I am not anti-science. And I am not anti-rationality. And I am not anti-quantifying. But, I do believe that we are out of balance.

The Wilson Golf Company invented the “Iron Byron” to test golf clubs. It was a great invention. But, Iron Byron became the model for golf instruction. People are not machines. And machines don’t have hands. I believe that hands are the key to hitting a golf ball. But modern instruction tries to take the hands out of the golf swing. Minnesota has so many good golfers because Minnesota has so many hockey players. Hockey players have highly trained hands – they seldom struggle with golf.

But golf courses are struggling financially. Why? Because courses are not trying to figure out the motivation to play golf. Golf operators need to have a feel of their operation and need to know how to appeal to why people want to play golf. Instead, they try to operate the golf course off of spread sheets. Accounting is valuable. But accounting is after the fact. Moving the numbers around on the Balance Sheet and then trying to use that as the formula to make a business successful is missing the point. Knowing by intuition what the customer wants is the key to prosperity. If that isn’t at the heart of a business – you have no business. Trying to trick people by bait-and-switch or just selling price are the only options if the business doesn’t really cater to what people want.

At my annual Ranger/Starter Meeting, I always harp on the 3 C’s – Courtesy, Communication, and Commonsense.
Some of the guys are baffled. They want a rule book. They have shut off their intuition to such an extent that they can’t function in my culture of the 3 C’s.

Back to the golf swing. I make our junior golfers learn how to hit every club in the bag to land at our 100 yard marker. Then with each club they need to turn it left, and right, and straight to the 100 yard marker. Then they’re ready to play golf.

Obviously I don’t want our junior golfers to be robots. And I don’t want our Rangers and Starters to be robots. Did you ever see the movie 2001? It’s about the advancement of humanity from the Ape Man all the way to Modern Man exploring the universe in space ships. The astronauts wind up in a power struggle with the computer H.A.L.

Are we headed for a power struggle with robots or computers? I doubt it. But the fact that we are minimizing our total humanity to try to be like robots or computers is hard for me to accept. Golf…and life…need all three qualities – body, intuition, and rationality – to be played well and enjoyed. Don’t stifle your intuition.


Tom Abts
GM and Head Golf Professional