There is no doubt that golfing greats are immortalized with statues, logo items and golf tournaments. At the Four Seasons in Texas, home of the Byron Nelson Classic, there is a bronze statue of Iron Byron who, in 1945, had 11 consecutive wins and 18 total wins. Payne Stewart’s statue of his memorable fist pump after winning the US Open is at Pinehurst. Ben Hogan’s statue is at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas. A portrait of the great Bob Jones proudly hangs in the Butler Cabin at Augusta National. The World Golf Hall of Fame has bronze plaques of the greats throughout the years: Jack, Annika, Arnie, Nancy, to name a few, all to honor the contributions these players have made to the game. So how does Santa, a golfing unknown, find his way on everything golf during the holiday season? What is his contribution to the game?
Santa was never on tour but just imagine if he were. On the golf channel, Dave Phillips of the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) would analyze how Santa’s bowl full of jelly would affect his golf swing. No doubt nutritionists would try to convince Santa to turn in those cookies and milk for a power bar and sports drink. No more letting the reindeer drive him around. The USGA would get after him to walk. He might need a chiropractor trained in active release to work out the right sided imbalance from tossing his toy bag over his shoulder.
From a technology standpoint how would Santa stack up? We could watch in slow motion on swing analysis software how he could get the reindeer flight more accurate by studying the movement of his wrist in relation to elbow motion while tossing the reins. There would be a lot of debate on whether the wooden clubs Santa made in his workshop were better than the latest in titanium. How about his course management? Is GPS better than Santa’s reindeers for maneuvering around the course? Would using elves as forecaddies be allowed by the PGA? The thoughts of Santa on tour are limitless.
Now there is no doubt that maintaining a “jolly” mindset like Santa will help your game. Santa’s genuine smile and enthusiasm for celebrating the holiday season can help your game as well. Research in golf swing mechanics has proven that smiling helps increase range of motion. Research has also found the when we celebrate our good shots we are more likely to repeat them. An additional bonus will be the appreciation your golfing buddies will have when you are celebrating with them in the grill room after an enjoyable round of golf.
No, I don’t think Santa would be on tour. Yet that twinkle in his eye, I’ve seen that before in every golfer’s eye, professional and amateur. That twinkle, as a golfer approaches the first tee full of hope and anticipation of a great round. That twinkle in a golfer’s eye when they talk in detail about a great shot. That twinkle, when they walk into a pro shop ready to make their next purchase. That twinkle, when the golf lesson they have worked on finally straightens their slice.
Maybe that is it! That belief that anything is possible! Maybe that is why Santa is everything golf during the holiday season. Golfers share that common belief in the “possible”: that magical mystery of how a weekend warrior can sink a 40 ft putt just like the tour pro on TV; the magic of making a hole-in-one at any age; the magic of two strangers meeting on the first tee and becoming life-long friends after sharing a round of golf.; the magic of making that perfect swing, if only occasionally. That is the magic of golf that keeps us coming back year after year
To quote a classic “Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus.” So this holiday season when you see Santa carrying a golf club keep in mind his spirit is alive and well, not only during the holidays on snow covered landscapes, but over green fairways everywhere all year long. If you are lucky enough to tee it up over the next few winter months maintain a “jolly” mindset and believe that anything is possible as you enjoy the great game of golf.