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  • Writer's pictureDerrick W. Spell, MD FACP

Great Advice from a Golf Legend

Updated: Feb 12, 2020

One of my idols is Ben Hogan, generally considered one of the greatest golfers of all time. He won over sixty tournaments including nine major championships. Perhaps his most prominent victory was the 1950 U.S. Open Championship at the Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. In what was nicknamed the “Miracle at Merion,” Hogan won an eighteen-hole Sunday playoff by defeating two other golfers. It was considered a “miracle” because Hogan almost died in a horrible automobile accident the previous year. Hogan threw himself across the passenger seat of his car to shield his wife from an oncoming bus. He required several surgeries for broken bones and a blood clot after the crash. He still walked with a noticeable limp during the four-day competition.

Moreover, Hogan had to make par on the challenging final hole of regulation just to qualify for the playoff. With his second stroke on the final hole, Hogan hit an approach shot with a 1-iron that landed neatly on the green. This shot is included in the “miracle” because the 1-iron is regarded as the most difficult golf club to swing. Most golfers today do not even own a 1-iron. Lee Trevino proclaimed that to avoid being struck by lightning, one should stand in the middle of the fairway with a 1-iron because “God can’t hit a 1-iron.” A photograph of Hogan’s 1-iron shot was later featured in Life. The photo was snapped by Hy Peskin and is widely regarded as the most famous golf photograph ever taken.

Ben Hogan gave plenty of advice during his distinguished career. My favorite Hogan quotation included his recommendations for beating an opponent. He declared that “you outwork them, you outthink them, and then you intimidate them.” I found this advice very helpful with my approach to weight loss, especially at the beginning of my journey. Obesity had been my longtime adversary. I recognized that I could “outwork” obesity through appropriate dietary measures and frequent exercise, but that was only part of the upcoming battle. As Hogan suggested, most of my future fight with fat was the mental crusade, not the physical one. I needed to be better prepared so that I could also “outthink” my opponent. Additionally, I should employ the right psychological approach so that I would not be intimidated or quit. I had to develop an innovative plan that utilized my emotions to my advantage.

My game plan with all of the secrets to success is available in The Bite-Sized Guide to Getting Right-Sized. You will learn about ways to help permanently change your thoughts and actions. You will learn about vital behaviors, keystone habits, willpower and proper self-monitoring. All of these psychological tools will help you "outthink" your weight problem for good!

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