Teach me how to play golf

Jack Nicklaus was the Rory McIlroy, or Tiger Woods, of his day.

He dominated the golfing world for three decades, with 20 major victories, 71 PGA Tour wins, and the accolade of being one of only five players ever to have won all four major tournaments.

Nicklaus was mentored from 1950 by a man named Jack Grout. Grout was an outstanding teacher. His influence on Nicklaus is beyond calculation.

At the start of each new season Jack Nicklaus would visit Jack Grout to review his game, down to the very basics.

Nicklaus learned the very essence of the game from Grout every year.

Even at the height of his powers, fame, and success, Jack Nicklaus would still ask Jack Grout to teach him how to play golf.

When Jack Nicklaus was on tour, if his game began to dip, he would tap into the knowledge that he had gained from Grout.

But this blog post isn’t really about golf.

Neither is it about the importance of mentors and teachers, although both are vital.

It is about having the right attitude in the face of success and in its absence.

The reason why this story about Jack Nicklaus and Jack Grout never fails to inspire me is because it demonstrates that humility, and being teachable, lay at the heart of Jack Nicklaus’ phenomenal success.

Being at the top of his game, and staying there, meant going back again and again to the very basics of the sport, and doing them over and over again. Round after round, tournament after tournament, year after year.

After he became a giant in his field, Nicklaus was as humble and teachable as when he first began.

Success meant relearning and putting into action the fundamentals, and doing so under the continued tutelage of his first mentor.

One of the greatest players ever to pick up a golf club continually cultivated humility and a teachable spirit.

Why is it then that success so often has the opposite effect?

Whether your area is teaching, marketing, advertising, PR, consulting or sales, sometimes success leaves us thinking that we no longer need to keep learning.

What difference would it make for you and I to adopt Nicklaus’ spirit?

And, by the way, find the best mentors, teachers, and models available.

Originally published at luminous.media on June 1, 2015.

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