When I caddied for Gary Player on the tour, the thing that stuck with me the most was his incredibly positive attitude. Every shot he came to, no matter how bad the lie or how many obstacles were in the way, he knew he could pull it off. In fact, he seemed to enjoy the difficult shots even more than the clean ones. He’d stand over the ball and gaze at the target with anticipation. You could see in his eyes he knew exactly what he needed to do and had no doubt he could do it. Gary never took a negative thought to the course, and he expected those around him to have that same attitude. He was not an easy man to caddy for. He had very specific expectations for those who carried his bag—you had to stand a certain way, place the bag down in a specific manner on each hole, and remain a perfect distance behind him during each shot. He saw his caddy’s actions as an extension of his pre-shot routine, and it had to be just right. But the most important thing he expected of his caddy was a positive attitude. He refused to hear any negative words or thoughts in his presence. I learned early that when Gary was discussing club selection, he wasn’t really looking for advice but for positive confirmation of the club he had chosen. He might say to me on a particular shot, “Looks like about a 6-iron, what do you think?” I might have questioned his choice in my mind, but I would never have dreamt of saying, “I think it’s a 5.” My job was to say, “Looks like a perfect 6 to me too!” Putting even a hint of doubt into the air was considered a huge breach of protocol and might have even gotten me thrown off his bag. “You need a fantastic memory to remember the great shots and a very short memory to forget the bad ones.” –Mac O’Grady  Gary also had a tremendous memory for shots he had hit in the past. Whenever he made a great save, he would log it deep in his memory bank for future reference, and when he came to a difficult lie or shot, he would let his mind take him back to a similar one he had made some time earlier—even years beforehand. Then he would reflect on that instance, remembering the angle and projection of the ball and the swing he used to carry it out. He visualized himself hitting that same shot, and then he’d take a club and repeat it. More often than not, he pulled it off beautifully, giving him even another great shot to remember.  This practice worked wonderfully to help build his confidence and create positive thoughts in the midst of trouble. When I went on tour I started integrating this habit into my own game. Anything that can help you create a sense of confidence on the course is worth trying. The next time you find yourself struggling with doubt over a shot, try replaying your greatest saves in your mind, and then visualize yourself repeating those same strokes. Remembering that you’ve pulled off difficult shots before is a great way to help you do it again. A Lasting Friendship  I’ll never forget the day I met Dr. Everett Johnson. It was in the early ’70s and I had attended a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) breakfast during the Citrus Open in Orlando. Larry Nelson was the guest speaker that day. He was new to the PGA circuit at the time and had yet to win a tournament. Larry had recently given his life to Christ, and he did a wonderful job sharing his testimony and challenging those who had not accepted Jesus as their Savior to do so. I was called on to help with the follow-up work, and a few days after the breakfast I received a commitment card filled out by Ev Johnson. He indicated on the card that he and his wife, Elsa, had attended the breakfast that morning and had prayed along with Larry to receive Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. I had the privilege of calling on Ev and Elsa to follow up on their commitment and to ask if they had any questions. Ev was in his mid-sixties at the time and had recently retired from his dental practice in Madison, Wisconsin. He and Elsa had a winter condo in Winter Park, Florida, where Ev was a member at Bay Hill Country Club. Ev and I became great friends over the months and years to come. Though there was a big difference in our ages, we got together regularly for lunch and other outings, and we would while away the hours telling golf and fishing stories. Often we would completely lose track of time as we talked and laughed together. Every chance I got, I would take Ev to one of our ministry luncheons or golf tournaments. Once a month we hooked up to play together in the golf fellowship scrambles in Orlando. As his age increased, Ev’s health began to deteriorate. He developed Alzheimer’s, so he wasn’t able to play a round of golf like he used to. Still I took him with me to the tournaments each month. He would ride around the course with me in the cart and became my designated putter. Eventually, as his disease worsened, he and Elsa thought it best to move back to Wisconsin to be near family. Though I hated to see him go, I knew I’d be able to see him often during my travels. At every opportunity I made my way over to Wisconsin to see Ev and Elsa. “Approach life like a voyage on a schooner. Enjoy the view. Explore the vessel. Make friends with the captain. Fish a little. And then get off when you get home.” –Max Lucado  On one occasion I flew into Madison and picked Ev up, and we drove to an FCA Junior Golf camp just sixty miles north of his home. I had been asked to give a clinic at the camp and to share my testimony and my experiences on tour with the kids. After my talk several of the campers shared their thoughts and testimonies, and it really touched Ev’s heart. Late that evening we all made our way to the bunkhouse to turn in for the night. I’ll never forget seeing Ev slip on his pajamas and climb into the lower bunk beneath me. He looked just like a little kid, so sweet and innocent. Ev had an amazing heart for kids, and they all loved having him around. While at the camp, Ev and I walked down to the lake and spent several hours talking about life, faith, and friendships. We sat on the shore and had a beautiful time of prayer and reflection. Ev shared with me that he really struggled to feel he was good enough to be accepted by God. He felt he had not done enough for the Lord in his life. Like a lot of men who come to Christ late in life, Ev had a hard time understanding that salvation is not dependent on anything we do, but only on our acceptance of God’s grace and forgiveness. I spent time reassuring Ev that God accepted him exactly as he was, then we prayed again as Ev recommitted his life and heart to Jesus. Then I thanked God for the many years we had spent getting to know each other. A year later the Lord took Ev home. God brings people like Ev into our lives for a reason. He created each of us with a deep need for binding and long-lasting relationships. Without these relationships, life would be a long and lonely road to travel, and few of us would find much joy in the journey. It’s easy to get caught up in the grind of everyday life, working and saving and acquiring possession after possession, seldom taking time to reflect on the good friends that God has placed in our lives. Too many of us spend more time mowing our yards and decorating our houses than we do laughing and enjoying the company of others. But we should never forget that when all else is said and done, it is the relationships in our lives—with God, our family, our friends, and everyone else we meet—that make us who we are and define our legacy. Take time today to ask God to bring people into your life that will make a lasting impact on your faith and future. And then thank him for the people he has already led you to—those who bring joy and love into your life. Reflect on the times of fun and fellowship you’ve shared with them and the many ways they’ve blessed your life. When you and I are gone, no one will remember what kind of car we drove, what tournaments we won, how low we were able to shoot, or how large a portfolio we built. But they will remember our times together—what kind of parent, spouse, friend, and believer we were during our days on earth. In the end, that’s all that really matters.