Stop and Smell the Roses
I always thought that Walter Hagen said “ Stop and smell the roses.” Actually, he said “ You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”
What a great philosophy – I wish I lived it. Too often I’m just running around like a crazy person and worried about everything. It’s good to be productive and responsible – but worried and hurried isn’t a good way to live.
The other morning I was setting up the tees for Senior League, and the sun was rising while I was on the 15th tee-box. The view stopped me in my tracks. It was an unbelievably beautiful morning and the mist was coming up off the ponds – I didn’t smell any flowers, but I stopped and took in the scene. Sunrise is magical, but on that morning and from that tee-box it was a profound experience – I had to stop running around.
Hagen was quite a guy. One of golf’s all-time greatest players and probably the best match-play golfer ever. He also opened the doors for golf professionals. Before Hagen, most golf clubs wouldn’t let the pros into the clubhouse. Seriously. That’s why old golf clubs have a separate building for the golf shop. But Hagen wasn’t intimidated. He wore beautiful, expensive clothes and drove outrageous cars. He wasn’t a snob – he was just having fun.
Hagen had an athletic, unorthodox golf swing. He was also a baseball player, but won the US Open the week he was going to try out for the Philadelphia Phillies. What a break for golf. Modern instruction has criticized Hagen’s loose, big waggle golf swing. But the other day, television golf instructors were praising Jason Dufner’s old school golf swing, and especially “how he keeps in constant motion like all of the best ball strikers of the past.”
Maybe Hagen’s golf swing is coming back in style. I sure hope his attitude does.
GM and Head Golf Professional