Breaking Barriers

In the last three weeks we have received word from two of our superb students who have both broken a same, ‘golf barrier”, but in different ways.

Max Hillier first held a golf club in his hands, 9 months ago. Max, who is originally from South Africa, now lives in the Cayman Islands. Max’s friends had a weekly golf game on Tuesday, so Max figured that he would like to “see what this was all about”. As happens to so many of us, Max was addicted from his first golf experience.

We first met Max in October, when he came to our school to work with our East Coast Head Professional; Tim Peightal. Max spent five days with Tim and in his words, when he went home, “got immediately worse”! What Max did understand though, was that he and Tim had built a “model’; one that would last him, a lifetime.

Max is a very diligent student. Tim is a supremely talented teacher. Max stuck to his course and did not deviate from what he and Tim had done together. Max stayed in regular contact with Tim by phone and e-mail and made the time to practice and play, three times a week.

Max joined us for our annual Invitational http://www.birdgolf.com/invitational2008.shtml tournament in mid November. On the second day of the tournament at Whirlwind Golf Club, Max shot an amazing, 85. Pretty heady stuff for someone who has only played for 6 months.

Two weeks ago, Max called to tell us that he had reached another milestone. He had broken 80!

Max has some serious aspirations as a golfer. Under normal circumstances you would think that his goals are a little lofty. But how many people have you ever heard of, who break 80 in just 9 months?  We will be keeping you updated with the progress of the “Amazing, Mr. Hillier”.

Jeff Boucher is a golf addict. When we first met Jeff in January 2008, at our flagship site, Wild Horse Pass in Phoenix, Jeff had played for a long time but had become “stuck”. We see this quite often with people who have played for a long time, and have reached a plateau with their game. Most times, as was the case with Jeff, they need to make fundamental changes to their games.

It is much easier for someone like Max to establish great fundamentals (we had the opportunity to help him when he was a ‘blank canvas’), as opposed to having to do what Jeff needed to do; which was to re-construct some of his core moves/beliefs.

Jeff’s teacher is the incomparable, Jim Samsing, one of the founding professionals of Bird Golf. Just as Max had done, with Tim, Jeff kept in constant contact with Jim. By allowing Jim to continue to be his “Sensei” (Jeff’s nickname for Jim), Jeff made the time to practice and play and never strayed from what he and Jim, had created.

Jeff is a cancer survivor. Jeff’s cancer returned this year and he has had to endure more tests, injections and procedures. Never once, has he complained about his lot in Life, or the trials that he has had to go through.

On several occasions, Jeff would have an injection in the morning and practice his golf in the afternoon.

Jeff lives in the state of Washington, where the weather does not always co-operate. Frequently, Jeff went out to practice or play, in 40o temperatures and a relentless rain. Jeff plays golf with determination, but most importantly, he plays golf with joy.

Three weeks ago, Jeff achieved a life-long personal goal. He broke 80 for the first time.

Two extraordinary achievements.

Two inspiring men.

One magnificent; game.

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