A year ago during his debut in the Gary Player Invitational presented by Coca-Cola, young South African star Haydn Porteous stood on the driving range at the Lost City Golf Course and did the one thing so many of the country’s professional golfers have done over the years. He asked Gary Player for advice.
“Mr Player is a legend of the game and has done more for golf than anybody I know. He’s definitely the most positive person I’ve ever met in my life. To get any sort of advice from him is a treat and hopefully I can just keep learning from him,” Porteous said.
Whether it’s phone calls, emails, letters or through social media, Player regularly receives requests for advice from the young professionals in the game. And this ranges from how to work on their swings to business decisions they need to make as professional golfers.
Now one of the world’s most successful golfers, an icon in the field of golf course design and a devoted family man has decided to put down some of his best guidance and advice in a book.
Gary Player’s Black Book, co-written with golf writer Michael Vlismas and published by SkyHorse Publishing and with a foreword by Lee Trevino, contains 60 tips from Gary Player on Golf, Business and Life. If you want to know what Gary Player thinks about life, golf and business, it’s all in his Black Book.
In the first section of the book, The Questions of Life, the father of six children and grandfather of 22, answers a variety of questions from dealing with criticism to how best to help your children deal with failure, and even how he goes about making important decisions.
Player shares personal experiences of how also had to deal with feelings of failure, resentment and a lack of enthusiasm at times during his career.
“To start with, recognise the decision you are facing as a chance for growth and deeper understanding of just how much you are capable of when placed under pressure,” advises Player.
In the second section Player tackles The Questions of Golf in a technical way, but also a highly entertaining and humorous way.
“I’ve studied this game for more than 60 years with the result that I know a heck of a lot about nothing,” he writes.
When responding to a question from somebody asking mental advice about turning professional, Player’s answer is, “See a psychiatrist”.
But this section includes some very practical advice from a man who has studied the golf swing more than most, and who has always believed in a more wholistic route to success and not necessarily the most technically beautiful swing.
And in the final section, The Questions of Business, Player shares his experience from leading a global company that has designed over 400 golf courses worldwide as well as his status as Golf’s International Ambassador.
He shares advice on how he weighs up various business opportunities, what he looks for in a business leader, to how he’s dealt with some of the mistakes and setbacks that all business face.
Gary Player’s Black Book is the Black Knight’s answer to that question we often ask: “What do I do?”
But he does issue a warning. “Please don’t see this book as a definitive guide or answer to the questions you are grappling with. I’d be far happier if you would simply use this book as another way that helps you hear your own small voice a little better. And hopefully this helps you to become a better person as well.”