Fred Shoemaker Letter to Younger Me

Golf is a sport that has been enjoyed by millions of people around the world for centuries. It’s a game that requires patience, skill, and mental toughness. Fred Shoemaker, a golf instructor and author, has written a letter to his younger self, providing insight into the game of golf and its many lessons. In this article, we will explore the content of Fred Shoemaker’s letter and its implications for golf enthusiasts.

The Letter:

In his letter, Fred Shoemaker begins by acknowledging his younger self’s passion for golf and how it has influenced his life. He goes on to explain how the game of golf is a reflection of life itself, with its ups and downs, successes and failures, and the constant need to adapt and learn. Shoemaker highlights that golf is not a game of perfect shots, but rather a game of imperfection, where players must learn to embrace and work with their mistakes.

Shoemaker encourages his younger self to focus on the present moment, to be fully present and engaged in each shot, rather than being distracted by past failures or future outcomes. He emphasizes the importance of being in the moment, trusting oneself, and taking risks. He also highlights the importance of staying curious and open to new learning opportunities.

Lessons from the Letter:

Fred Shoemaker’s letter contains several important lessons for golf enthusiasts. Firstly, it highlights the importance of developing a positive mindset and embracing the imperfection of the game. Instead of getting discouraged by missed shots or failed attempts, players should learn from them and use them as opportunities to grow and improve.

Secondly, the letter emphasizes the importance of being present in the moment and not getting distracted by past failures or future outcomes. This mindset not only applies to golf but also to life in general. By focusing on the present and being fully engaged in each moment, we can enjoy life to the fullest and make the most of each opportunity.

Lastly, the letter encourages players to stay curious and open to new learning opportunities. Golf is a game that requires continuous learning and improvement, and players who are open to new techniques and strategies are more likely to succeed in the long run.

Additional Lessons from the Letter:

In addition to the lessons outlined above, Fred Shoemaker’s letter also contains several other valuable insights into the game of golf. These include:

  1. Golf is a Game of Sensations: According to Shoemaker, golf is a game of sensations, not just mechanics. Players should focus on the physical sensations of each shot, rather than just the technical aspects. This includes paying attention to the sound of the ball, the feel of the club in your hands, and the sensation of the swing.
  2. Golf is a Game of Relationships: Shoemaker highlights the importance of relationships in golf, whether it’s the relationship between player and caddy, or between player and opponent. He encourages players to cultivate positive relationships with those around them, as this can help create a more enjoyable and fulfilling golfing experience.
  3. Golf is a Game of Creativity: Shoemaker emphasizes the importance of creativity in golf, and encourages players to experiment with different shots and strategies. By embracing creativity and taking risks, players can discover new ways of playing the game and improve their overall performance.
  4. Golf is a Game of Self-Discovery: Finally, Shoemaker notes that golf is a game of self-discovery. By playing the game and facing its many challenges, players can learn a great deal about themselves, their strengths, and their weaknesses. This self-awareness can help players not only improve their golf game but also become better people in general.
  5. Golf is a Game of Mindfulness: Shoemaker suggests that golf is a great way to practice mindfulness, or the act of being present and fully engaged in the current moment. By paying attention to each shot and being fully immersed in the game, players can develop their mindfulness skills, which can help them in other areas of their life as well.
  6. Golf is a Game of Humility: Another important lesson from Shoemaker’s letter is that golf teaches humility. Even the best players in the world make mistakes, and everyone has bad days on the course. By learning to accept and embrace their imperfections, players can develop a sense of humility that can help them become more compassionate and understanding towards others.
  7. Golf is a Game of Integrity: Shoemaker notes that golf is a game that demands integrity. Players are expected to play by the rules, keep their own score, and be honest about their shots. By embodying these values on the course, players can develop a sense of integrity that can carry over into other areas of their life as well.
  8. Golf is a Game of Gratitude: Finally, Shoemaker suggests that golf is a game of gratitude. Players should be grateful for the opportunity to play the game, for the beautiful scenery around them, and for the people they are playing with. By cultivating a sense of gratitude on the course, players can become more appreciative of the good things in their life, which can help them feel more fulfilled and happy.

Key Lessons from Fred Shoemaker’s Letter to Younger Me

MindsetDevelop a growth mindset to embrace challenges and learn from failures.“Every shot is a new adventure.”Increased resilience and willingness to take risks.Focus on learning and improvement rather than outcomes.
AwarenessCultivate self-awareness to identify and manage thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations on the course.“Notice how you’re holding the club.”Improved ability to stay present and focused.Practice mindfulness and reflection to develop self-awareness.
CuriosityApproach golf with curiosity and a desire to learn.“Ask questions and explore.”Increased openness to new ideas and approaches.Seek out feedback and experiment with different strategies.
CreativityEmbrace creativity to find unique solutions and express your individual style on the course.“Think outside the box.”Greater enjoyment and personal fulfillment.Experiment with different shots and techniques, and trust your instincts.
GratitudeCultivate gratitude for the opportunity to play and the experiences that come with it.“Remember to enjoy the journey.”Increased happiness and sense of purpose.Practice gratitude and perspective-taking to appreciate the value of golf beyond scores and results.

Common Golf Challenges and Strategies for Overcoming Them

NervesFeeling anxious or overwhelmed on the course.Develop pre-shot routines to stay calm and focused.Deep breaths, visualization, and positive self-talk.Improved confidence and consistency.
DistractionsBeing distracted by external factors or internal thoughts.Practice mindfulness and refocusing techniques.Counting breaths, using a mantra, or focusing on a specific target.Improved focus and concentration.
Swing IssuesStruggling with swing mechanics or consistency.Seek out coaching and practice drills to address specific issues.Working with a swing coach or using training aids to improve mechanics.Improved technique and ball-striking ability.
Course ManagementMaking poor decisions or not strategizing effectively.Develop a course management plan and stick to it.Taking conservative shots, playing to strengths, and avoiding trouble.Improved decision-making and shot selection.
Mental ToughnessDealing with adversity and maintaining composure under pressure.Develop mental toughness through exposure to challenging situations and practice.Playing in high-pressure tournaments or practicing with distractions.Improved resilience and ability to perform under pressure.

 Notable Quotes from Fred Shoemaker’s Letter to Younger Me

“Golf is a game of infinite possibility.”Emphasizes the creativity and potential for growth in golf.
“The real game is the one that’s going on in your mind.”Highlights the importance of mindset and mental skills in golf.
“The most important shot is the next one.”Emphasizes the value of staying present and focusing on the task at hand.
“The best golfers are the ones who are having the most fun.”Emphasizes the importance of enjoyment and perspective in golf.
“Golf is a metaphor for life.”Highlights the life lessons and personal growth that can come from playing golf.

Fred Shoemaker’s Approach to Golf Instruction

Non-Technical InstructionFocuses on developing mindset, awareness, and creativity rather than just swing mechanics.
Individualized CoachingTailors coaching to each player’s unique needs and learning style.
Integrated LearningCombines physical, mental, and emotional aspects of golf into a holistic learning experience.
Play-Based LearningEncourages learning through on-course play and experimentation.
Positive CoachingEmphasizes positive reinforcement, encouragement, and building confidence.

Fred Shoemaker’s Impact on Golf Instruction and Philosophy

Paradigm ShiftChallenged traditional, technical-based golf instruction and introduced a more holistic, experiential approach.
Mindset FocusEmphasized the importance of mindset and mental skills in golf and inspired a shift in the way golf psychology is taught.
Personal DevelopmentPromoted golf as a means for personal growth and self-discovery beyond just performance outcomes.
Coaching PhilosophyInfluenced a new generation of golf coaches to adopt a more individualized, play-based approach to coaching.
LegacyFred Shoemaker’s impact continues to be felt in the golf world, with many coaches and players still using his methods and teachings today.


Fred Shoemaker’s letter to his younger self provides valuable insights into the game of golf and its many lessons. By embracing the imperfection of the game, staying present in the moment, and remaining open to new learning opportunities, golf enthusiasts can not only improve their game but also apply these principles to other areas of their life. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting, the lessons from this letter can help you become a better golfer and a better person.


  • Ray Barnes

    Ray Barnes, our Senior Staff Writer and a Golf Analyst with a PhD in Sports Analytics, is a beacon of insight in the golfing world. With a deep understanding of the sport's nuances, statistical analysis, and a talent for demystifying complexities, he provides in-depth analysis and captivating narratives that engage golf enthusiasts worldwide.

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