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Matthew Stewart and Lexi Larson become Mr. and Mrs. Stewart

I took my new bride (is it still a new bride or groom after eight months? Maybe a better question would be…when are we not “new” bride and groom?) to Top Golf for our weekly date night. We had gone out once before and she had done extremely well for someone who had never swung a club before. In fact, it was amazing how she had maintained the grip, posture and swing through out. She consistently hit ball after ball with great contact down the middle. She was hooked and had a desire for more. In fact on Valentines she got me a Top Golf gift card…so I would take her to Top Golf again! LOL

A little background…I played collegiate golf for Sierra College for two years and then nearly seven years later I was recruited by William Jessup University to create a men’s golf program and be its first Men’s golf coach. I was hired in 2007 and coached until 2012 when I stepped down to pursue building an international business…but that’s a story for another e-newsletter.

As we were out this 2nd time it became a little more apparent to Lexi that golf is a game that is learned over time and no one person on the planet has simply picked up a “stick” and excelled at the game without much practice and dedication. She did not hit ball after ball down the middle this time (which is very normal – let’s face it, golf is the hardest game invented to master). She got frustrated. It seemed a lot more difficult and confounding this go-round. I had made some suggestions to her as she was hitting. She “tried” them, but once the “try” ended with a poor result it was quickly dropped with an, “it doesn’t feel right or I can’t do that, etc.” In that moment as I expressed my frustration (not very kind and understanding on my part), I understood more clearly when people would say that husbands shouldn’t give lessons to their wives. I get too focused on the lesson rather than just having fun; clueless to the fact that if she’s having fun, she’ll want to do it again with me. It would be better for both if a 3rd party professional was hired.

One nugget of wisdom that came out of this experience (sadly, after the “discussion” of she wasn’t coachable wanting to do it her way, and I wasn’t very kind, nor very fun, etc. had calmed down) was the fact that we can be too much results driven rather than process driven. Lexi was judging her shot as good or bad based on the result of the golf ball rather than the process of learning a golf swing. I shared with her that the professionals who make millions of dollars do not hit every shot perfect or pure. Sadly, because of television which cuts from one player to the next, only showing the amazing shots, we are left thinking that the pro’s don’t miss, yet those of us that have played the game at a high level can certainly attest, “the game is a game of misses.”

Something hit me as I was trying to communicate to Lexi about the frustration she was experiencing. I realized that she was basing her success or failure of performance by what the little white golf ball did and not on what the process of her swing development was. I was looking at her swing, the mechanics – her grip, her stance, weight shift, etc. I told her that what the golf ball did at this stage did not matter, that she would have many more bad shots than good, and that was perfectly normal. What she needed to focus on were three things:

1) Believe what your coach is telling you. (true compliments/encouragement, “great swing, really good grip, great tempo on that one, etc.)

2) Do what the coach tells you to do even when it doesn’t feel good or right (how could a brand new golfer know what was right or wrong?).

3) Give yourself a break. Golf is hard and it takes time to be good. Be patient and enjoy the process.

Later that week Lexi and I were having a “discussion” and she let me know to stop looking at the result in the moment but rather to focus on “the process.” Before the sentence had finished I realized she was right and I was stopped in my tracks! No, not because she was right (she is right A LOT), but rather she had actually listened to her coach! :-)

**Lexi and I met while attending Bridgeway Church in Roseville. Her beautiful red hair flowing down in a soft wavy cascade called to me from the row in front. We dated for a little over three years (yes I was scared, I had been married before and didn’t want to make a bad or wrong decision this time) and became engaged when I surprised her with a road trip to Lovers Point near Monterey on February 28th 2016. We were married June 22nd 2016. Having no kids prior, I now have three teenagers that I learn from daily!

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