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Cindy Miller's "Own Your Game": Dare yourself to improve

Pursuing personal potential and improving

It’s never too late to get better. In my opinion, if you are breathing and can swing a club you can always get better.

As the ultimate underdog, I have been on a personal pursuit of potential my whole life. I began my golf career at Tri-County CC in Forestville. When I saw my first LPGA Tour event at River Oaks Golf Club in Grand Island, the dream was born. I was going to play on the LPGA Tour, and be a star.

The only trouble was……I wasn’t good enough. What do you do when you aren’t good enough? You weigh the odds, look in the mirror, and figure out what you need to do to get better.

I wrote a letter to Golf Digest Magazine and the Ben Hogan company (I played their clubs, so of course they would care about me) and asked them if they knew of any schools that offered women’s golf teams. I got a response from both, but only Golf Digest suggested any schools; Odessa Junior College in Texas and The University of Miami. I wrote to "The U" and asked them if I could come play. They told me I wasn’t good enough but they said I was welcome to try out for the team.

My Dad told me if I didn’t get a scholarship my second year, I couldn’t go back. They couldn’t afford the tuition.

I worked to improve my game. I practiced seven days a week for hours a day. I earned that scholarship my sophomore year and graduated the No. 1 player, team captain, and an All- American on two national championship teams.

Why am I telling you this? Because so many people come for a golf lesson with no belief. Most people who have played golf for even a small amount of time have had a bad experience. That experience has led them to believe they cannot play well. Once they believe they cannot play well, they develop a bad attitude. The bad attitude turns into, “I don’t like golf or want to play.”

When you want something bad enough, you need to be willing to go all out to get it. I understand you need to have realistic expectations, but I also believe most people give up before they should.

What if you could really get better? Would you be willing to really look in the mirror? Maybe see some things about yourself you might not like? I dare you to take another shot.

As I mentioned, I am on my own personal pursuit. I sit within the top 40 of the Legends Tour career points list. I am on the list with Julie Inkster, Laura Davies, Pat Bradley, Jan Stephenson, and a bunch more . As I mentioned earlier, my dream was to be a star on the LPGA Tour. Did I accomplish that? No. Not good enough. Am I done yet? No.

I have played in over 10 “major championships” in my life - five U.S. Women’s Opens and many LPGA Championships. (now called the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship).

This summer is the first ever Women’s LPGA Senior Championship. The women's senior tour players have never had a “major championship.” The age limit is 45 to get in. I am 61. I get out driven by at least 50 yards by people like Laura Davies. I want to play. Am I exempt? No. Not good enough . . .

Two weeks ago I drove to Lake Geneva, Wis.,  to try to qualify for The Walgreen’s Charity Classic. I got a text the morning before the qualifier to call the head of the Tour. She told me someone dropped out, and I was the next one in. I didn’t have to qualify.

The first round of the tournament was rained out. It was 48 degrees with rain coming down sideways. One round, no cut, play well, move up the list, prove to yourself and the world you belong.

Good enough.

I hit four terrible shots, my chipping and putting were off and I shot 82. Didn’t finish last, and made $3,879. What did l learn? I need to work on my short game. I need to putt better. I need to admit I will never hit the golf ball 250 yards. I need to invest time practicing if I expect to have better results.

Am I done? No. Good enough? Not yet. I am still a work in progress. As one of my students who just turned 13 says to me, “Cindy, you have always told us there are endless possibilities if we only believe.” But a dream without a plan is just a wish. So I will continue to practice and strive to get better.

So, go ahead. Be willing to stop the pain, look in the mirror, and do something about it.

I dare you to take another shot.

Cindy Miller is a former LPGA Tour Player who currently competes on the Legends Tour of the LPGA. She is a Certified Behavior, Motivation, and Judgment Professional who is sought after as a speaker, coach, and corporate trainer. For questions or thoughts, please reach out to her at cindy@cindymillergolf.com

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