March 11, 2007 - On the Road to U.S. Women's Open
VERONICA KARAMAN: On the Road to U.S. Women's Open

The U. S. Open has always captivated me. Not the thought of watching it, but its mysterious call to play in it.

Ever since I took up the game as a competitive 14-year-old, my lifelong quest has been to win the U.S. Open.

My name is not Annika. It's Veronica. I am not a reigning star on the LPGA, but I did earn a golf scholarship to Duke University, and played in the 1989 U.S. Women's Open. And I do have a passion for golf and a stubborn dream that will not go away. At 48, I am at it once again. Hey, I just moved to Pinehurst five months ago. With the U.S. Women's Open taking place at Pine Needles just down the street, how can I not hop on the road to championship once again and try to qualify?

I remember the first time I hit the road to championship and tried to qualify for the Open. I was 16 years old and hungry to compete with the best. My father, who died just a year earlier, was my main cheerleader. Mom, who loved me but thought the game was stupid, now took Daddy's place as my main support.

We had to drive from Pittsburgh, my home town, to Philadelphia, the big city on the other side of the state, about five hours away, to the Open qualifying site. All the way there, Mom kept saying to me, "I know I'm going to see you make a hole-in-one someday. I just know it!"

"Mom," I complained, "I don't care about making a hole-in-one. I just want to qualify!"

Mom didn't understand my goal, but she sure was excited about that hole-in-one.

The day of the qualifying tournament Mom hung out at the clubhouse, waiting to see me come in at the final hole. My play was not stellar that day, but respectable as a newcomer to competition, although I could not accept that interpretation at the time. Par on the last hole would result in an embarrassing score of 82.

Although the rest of the course remains a blank to me, I'll never forget the last hole -- a 152-yard par-3. The wind was slightly blowing from left to right, a little in my face. A sand trap was located on the right front of the green, with the pin nestled right over the trap. I decided to take a 5-iron, aim a little left, and let the wind take it in to the hole.

I hit what I thought was a perfect shot and followed the ball as it sailed right towards the pin. After just one bounce, I heard a shocking, "Ahhhhh!" from behind the green.

My sight of the ball was obscured by the top of the sand bunker that hid the cup. All I could see was my mother right behind the cup, jumping up and down, screaming for joy at seeing the ball jump into the hole. Her daughter had just made a hole-in-one on her final shot of the U.S. Women's Open qualifying tournament.

Although I should have been jumping for joy, too, the teenager in me wanted to jump into the hole, embarrassed by Mom's outburst.

I picked my ball out of the hole to shoot 80 on my first attempt to qualify for the Women's Open. Mom was jumping up and down like a kid who just won a big prize. "I knew you were going to make a hole-in-one. I just knew it!"

"Mom, I didn't qualify."

My first Open quest was a strange mix of victory and defeat, joy and disappointment. I didn't qualify, but I had my first hole-in-one. I didn't even see the ball go in the hole, but Mom saw the whole thing. Mom had her wish come true. I didn't. I did win a pewter hole-in-one key chain from Foot-Joy, and some other trinket.

Looking back on that event nearly thirty years ago, I wish I could have embraced the real victory that I did win. I started my journey to championship. I entered the race and gave it all I had. I had a parent who didn't play the game or understand it as I did, but was thrilled to see me play.

I think the lesson I will take from my first Open quest into this year's quest, many moons later, is to embrace the journey, to really see -- and receive the true victories along the way, whatever they may be. A thrilled parent. A great shot. A full dedication. An expressed passion. A risk taken. A joy just to be competing again after many years of competition slumber. I am here, and I am on the road to championship sharing my story with you over the next several months.

I already feel the victory. Veronica Karaman lives in Pinehurst. She is a golf professional, life coach and speaker.

March 18, 2007 - Quest for Open Begins With Training
VERONICA KARAMAN: Quest for Open Begins With Training

The Women’s U.S. Open is just over 100 days away. I have started my “spring training” with hopes of qualifying, even though it will be a long shot. With the weather popping up to 65 degrees this past week, perhaps like me, you ventured out on the course in a full anticipation of a new golf season. As you head out to the first tee for 2007, I am wondering, if you, like me, are putting yourself into training.

What are your goals for this year? How do you plan on improving your game? Have you thought about how you are going to become a better player, lower your score, or at least your frustration index? (I’m not sure that ever changes.) The great thing about the Open is that you have to put yourself into training to have a chance to make it. It is the voluntary submission of putting yourself into a focused and disciplined preparation that brings out the champion in someone.

My champion training involves every part of my being: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. For starters, I am working out about five days a week. My training includes exercises that address flexibility, endurance, strength and balance. I do cardio five times a week. I workout with weights at least twice a week, making sure I do upper body and lower body exercises. I interchange basic weight training with golf specific exercises especially designed for my swing.

My thrice-weekly yoga/pilates classes are terrific for stretching and strengthening. I especially look forward to the last class of the week. So much of golf requires me to be tough---pulling on the “masculine side” of me. When I take this all-women’s class, I can be gentle, flowing, and beautiful, yet still challenged. I not only come out feeling two inches taller and much more limber, but also feeling much more feminine than when I came in.

As my dedication grows, I sometimes get tired and have to take a break. I no longer have to be wonder woman—I am learning to love myself and give myself the recovery time I need. I think that is one of the differences between being a middle age competitor versus being a young whipper-snapper. It just takes more time to do what you need to do. The late Earl Woods would let Tiger sleep for as long as he needed after a tournament to get full recovery---even if it meant sleeping for 12 hours. For me, full recovery may mean two days, until I feel strong again, and that is okay.

Giving myself the time I need to recover is only one of my peak performance strategies. Maintaining a positive emotional state is another. Everybody needs emotional support when they are trying to achieve a goal. It is important to identify who your cheerleaders are. Jon, my fitness coach, is one of my main cheerleaders. I speak to him at least every other day by phone. Yesterday morning he called me around 8 am, in his typical Drill Sargeant flair, “Get your narrow butt out of bed and into the gym! Just checking in on you and seeing how you are doing. Remember to live the message daily.” I am tracking with Jon, and need him to slap me up side my head every now and then---even if it is in semi-jest. I love having a colleague who is as committed to seeing me succeed as I am. By the way, I was up and headed to the gym.

I am also learning to more quickly shake off negative energy. It comes daily, whether it is some kind of conflict, misunderstanding, or some situation that simply invites distraction. Just as I am embracing my cheerleaders, I am shaking off my slingers, those negative people and situations that would bring me down and tempt me to get off course. When I feel the negative energy begin to zap me, I am much more quickly shaking it off so I can run my race to win.

Spiritually, I am making sure that my journey is meaningful and purposeful, despite the outcome. Golf can be a game of destructive self-absorption, so I counter-act this tendency with making sure I genuinely invest in others all along the way.

If I do make it, great. If I don’t, I will have still accomplished a lot: I will be fit and strong again. I will be a goal-setter again after years of limbo-land. I will inspire others and invite them to pursue their own personal championship. That is why I am writing this column, to invite you to tee it up with me this season, not just to play, but to reach higher, dig deeper, and even dream again. Won’t you join me on the road to championship?

C’mon, set a goal, get up and get to the gym! Shake off that negativity---and I’ll call you in the morning to see how you are doing. It’s time for spring training.

March 25, 2007 - Dealing with Swings During Open Quest
VERONICA KARAMAN: Dealing with Swings During Open Quest

This past week has been a wild ride in my U.S. Open Quest. With just over two months until the Open Qualifier takes place, I am beginning to shift my focus from working on mechanics to playing and scoring. It’s always a challenge to know just when to make the switch, especially when you don’t have a mentor to fully guide you, so I am making that decision myself. And it seems with what happened this week the decision, in some respects, was made for me.

Since I am still new to the area, having been here only six months now, most of my trusted relationships (or “so I thought trusted relationships”) were still from where I moved. I had worked out an arrangement with one of my colleagues up there to come up every two weeks or so for golf lessons. Even though it was a hike for me to pack up and make the over 800 mile trip in three days, I thought it was worth it to learn more about the specific approach to the swing this particular coach offered.

So last week, according to our scheduled plan, I packed my suitcase and my miniature American Eskimo Spitz, Teddy-boy, my faithful travel companion, and headed north. Along the way, I stopped in Raleigh for a few hours to attend one of those free two hour “learn to invest on-line” seminars just to satisfy my curiosity about this new trend in trading. My curiosity was peaked, but that’s all. After giving Teddy-boy a good run, we continued on our way further north.

I stay with my friend, Julia, who has opened her home to be my “home away from home.” It is so nice to have the liberty to come and go as I please in a dog-friendly place. We speak briefly when I arrive, Teddy growls at her all too friendly dog, Harley, and I head to bed excited about sharing my progress the next day with my swing coach. I have worked hard and long on my swing and I can’t wait to make the connection. It will be another hour and a half drive before I see him.

Shortly before my lesson the next day, my swing coach calls me. “Listen, don’t bother to come up. The range is closed due to the rain we had last night. I don’t want you to travel all this way.” I didn’t understand why we still couldn’t do something since it was an indoor golf facility. “Well, what about tomorrow?” I asked in eager anticipation of advancing my quest, since I already made the 400 mile trip. “Sorry, I’m booked.” I continue. “What about then next day?” “Sorry, it’s my day off. I won’t be here. It’s just not going to work out this time. I’m getting ready to leave early.” He hangs up, and I am crushed.

I can’t believe what just happened to me. This was my trusted friend, whom I thought was with me in my quest. I needed his help. I’m dumbfounded that he didn’t even try to work it out, or consider the cost I already paid in travel, time, effort, and stress, not to mention the emotional hit that left me feeling like I had just been stood up on a major date.

As I drove back, I thought “now what am I going to do?” I had been wronged. I decided to call him back, leave a voice mail, and state my case, “Hey, I’m not just coming up here for a golf lesson. I’m preparing for the Open. You are important to me and so is this process. I just don’t understand why you didn’t even try to find a way to work me in. Please call me.” I then contacted my fitness coach, Jon, who was out on the course practicing. “C’mon over. We’ll play some golf.” After another 90 minutes of driving, I found some solace hitting shots with Jon. In fact, I was quite pleased to shoot even par right out of the car. I share my plight with him. “Jon, maybe this happened to help me reconsider the timing of things. Perhaps I should just be focusing on playing and getting what game I do have in tune.” Jon agreed.

The phone rings. It is my swing coach. He offers to help me out if I can get there ASAP. I jump in the car and drive almost another two hours in Friday afternoon traffic only to get there 25 minutes before he has to leave. He gives me some new information which would radically change my swing and sends me off with his declaration, “Now this is what you came here for!”

“No it’s not!” I thought, as I drove home crying and exhausted from what turned out to be a 900 mile trip, three days of lost wages, several hundred dollars of hard costs, and a broken spirit---for 25 minutes of ego-driven teaching—NOT!

As I sat out on my deck, wondering what to do next, knowing I needed to change directions, Teddy-boy sat down beside me and licked my face. At least someone cares!

What I realized through my wild ride this week that when it comes to competition, that confidence reigns. If anything destroys your confidence, like through a broken trust, you don’t have a chance of winning or succeeding. As I felt my confidence draining, I knew enough to take some action to regain my lost confidence….and after just a little thinkin’ I knew just what to do! But that’s next week’s story.

April 1, 2007 - Open Quest Finds "Celebration Move"
VERONICA KARAMAN: Open Quest Finds "Celebration Move"

Paul Barnsley might be the greatest golf instructor you’ve never heard of. He certainly is for me.

I found him as a result of a crushing disappointment followed by an invisible swing of divine direction.

Last week I wrote about my futile trip for golf lessons. Desperate to find a new swing coach to help me in my Open Quest, I discovered Paul through an internet search on Jim Hardy’s website.

Jim Hardy is the master instructor who popularized the one plane swing, the theory I have been working on. Jim believes that there is more than one fundamental way to swing the club. He calls the two ways the one plane swing and the two plane swing. Imagine that. No cloning to be like Tiger or Annika. Jim believes that if you are more comfortable swinging around yourself than swinging up, it is a perfectly sound way to swing—and he shows you how.

Clicking on the link to “instructors," I located Paul, a long-time disciple of Jim’s, in Philadelphia. I gave him a quick call and we hit it off. He sounded just like the type of person I wanted to learn from. With less than two months to the Open Qualifier, I had to assess just how much mechanics I could work on versus just playing to tune up my game. As I shared my hesitancy with Paul, he didn’t mince words, “Look, you have got to get going. You are on a mission! If you don’t have sound mechanics, all the play in the world isn’t going to help you. C’mon up and stay for a few days and we’ll make it worth your time and travel.”

His words rang true to me—and Southwest made it easy for me to book my flight as that night was the last night I could book a hundred dollar round trip to Phili. I’m feelin’ the love already! Stephanie, my neighbor, was happy to look after Teddy-boy, my faithful canine travel companion (he doesn’t go airborne though.) A few more calls, and I booked my room. Ta da! With a little research and faith in action, I just created a “new shot” and direction for myself.

Just a few days before I left, a major snow storm hit Phili, and my indecision hit me again. Why in the world should I make a trip to a snow-laden city, blow my entire instruction budget, and most likely have to make radical swing changes? But…I decided to trust and go.

Once I arrived at The Meadowlands, a very private club north of the city, the snow still covered the ground, but my fears and doubts quickly melted away as my lesson with Paul began.

After a cordial introduction, we got right down to business with his video-taping my swing in his indoor instruction facility, which I affectionately called the “incubator room” – a place where new swings are conceived and cultivated. I was anticipating his tearing apart my swing, not unlike a slap-happy birthday boy ripping open the wrapping off a gift box. Instead, like a skilled surgeon, he carefully examined each angle of my swing, fully explaining how each move related to the next in a direct cause-effect relationship.

“The body moves out of need,” Paul explained. “If you swing your arms out toward the ball too much, your body will respond by falling back so that you can hit it.” He quickly caught my across the line move at the top, a move which nobody has been able to fix, that is until now. “If you take the club away feeling like it is hooded and then keep your right elbow up and out, instead of in, then rotate your forearms, you can correct your across the line move.” Paul had his own terminology for my swing. I had so much movement at the top of my swing, he playfully labeled it “my celebration move.”

“All changes are radical,” Paul explained. “You have to feel the change, and in order to do that, you have to exaggerate the move in rehearsal. Your actual swing will look different.”

I was so concerned about making radical changes, but after hours and hours of drilling, video-analysis, and Paul’s relentless attention to and explanation of the swing, I came away with not only a new vision of my swing, but a full understanding of how to achieve it. A simply transformational experience! I was not getting a lesson, I was getting metamorphosized.

After my three days with Paul, I left determined to create a new “celebration move” at the top of my swing, a move to also include a mindset that is no longer afraid of radical changes, knowing that I can do each one a step at a time.

The true champion lesson I took away from Philadelphia, applicable to everyone, is not to let disappointment stop you in your quest. Out of severe disappointment can come a transcendent experience. Embracing this truth is new for me. In the past, I would dwell on an emotional-blow for far too long, allowing it to paralyze me to the point of despair. This would not only sabotage my purpose, but also waste precious time.

This time I just decided to accept my mishap and move on, taking the blow as directional. It was answered prayer, a divine swing taking me from getting good instruction to getting the highest level of instruction from the greatest golf instructor you now have heard of, Paul Barnsley. And I must thank my Heavenly Father who I now know is with me—and for me—in my quest.

If you are struggling with a disappointment, I want to encourage you. Don’t dwell on it. Seek help in a new direction, and go forward in spite of the snow. Take courage to make the investment, trusting that there’s a new celebration move awaiting you, too. Go ahead, and book your flight. It may be radical, but it will be good. Fresh hope is on the way!

Veronica Karaman lives in Pinehurst. She is a golf professional, life coach and speaker.

April 8, 2007 - 'Dog Bone Open' Proves Test
VERONICA KARAMAN: 'Dog Bone Open' Proves Test

Last Wednesday I lost the Dog Bone Open, the first stop in my competitive quest to qualify for the Women’s Open at Pine Needles in June.

You’ve never heard of the Dog Bone Open, of course, and neither had I because, well, it didn’t exist until I went to see Mary Ann Goslak for a video-swing analysis.

I wasn’t actually expecting such camaraderie or competition that day. I was just trying to find someone who could video-tape my swing to see what kind of progress I was making in my lessons with Paul Barnsley. But the two hour trip to Advance, North Carolina, to get Ann Marie’s video-taping assistance proved more profitable than I thought.

I first heard of Ann Marie last year at the Open Qualifier, Salisbury Country Club, which by the way, happens to be the site of the first leg of this year’s Qualifier, too. The golf pro was handing out flyers for a new ladies golf tour Ann Marie was interested in starting with a leg through North Carolina. “Great!” I thought. “There is finally going to be some competition for women who aren’t on the LPGA or on The Futures Tour.” Although there are a host of opportunities for men to play on mini-tours, nothing like this exists for the women apart from these two national tours. NOTHING. It’s a real dilemma. So I took a flyer and tucked it away until this spring.

Thinking through the best way to prepare for the Open Qualifier, I knew it was important to play in a few events before “the big day.” I contacted Ann Marie, a popular teaching pro at Oak Valley Country Club, to find out what I could play in. “Our first event is scheduled for mid-April, but I am still needing to find sponsors. We may have to postpone the first event until May.” “Bummer,” I thought. Getting in to the atmosphere of competition is key to playing well. I identified with her struggle to find events to play in, but was soon caught up in what I had been looking forward to all season---a real taste of competition.

After my video-taping session, and securing Teddy-boy, my faithful canine travel companion, at the cart barn, we headed to the first tee. “What are we playing for?” Ann Marie quickly asserted. Upping the stakes five times over my normal social bet, I declared, “Five dollars...and a dog bone.” I added the dog bone part because Ann Marie was a fellow dog lover, too. “We’re on,” she responded. “I’ll tee off first to give you some guidance on where to hit,” Ann Marie kindly offered. The mercy stopped there.

“Nice shot,” I commented, as she thrashed her driver 250 yards down the center of the fairway. “Wow,” I thought to myself, “This girl has got game!” I hit a good drive, too, but she clearly was out in front on the long-drive-o-meter.

Walking down the fairway, all of a sudden, it hit me. The rare atmosphere of professional competition. Just like it was when I was playing on the tour some years ago. I was playing in the company of a fellow professional lady golfer, someone with a skill level and desire to compete that was equal to or maybe greater than mine. I felt like I was breathing in a different oxygen, one that called me into the company of excellent play, more focused shot-making, and the deep desire to win. An eagle atmosphere.

A few holes later, Ann Marie noticed it, too. “I’m feelin’ it—the atmosphere of competition. I was actually afraid to hit that shot, thinking I might miss it. And then I thought, ‘This girl’s got game. You better hit this shot.’ And I did. It felt really good to hit a shot under pressure.”

We battled it out through the first nine, both even on the match. Picking up Teddy-boy at the turn, we dashed off to the tenth tee. “He’s thoroughly cart trained,” I assured her as he hopped in-between us on the seat. I birdied one hole and Ann Marie the next. “You dog!” I playfully remarked as she sunk her putt to go one up on the back. Teddy looked at me, with his head half-cocked, wondering what I was talking about. “I’ll explain later,” petting his head.

We arrived at the last hole, even on the match. Waiting for the group ahead of us to tee off, Ann Marie remarked that the owner’s son was ready to hit. “Do you think he’ll mind that we have a dog on the course?” “No,” it will be okay as long as Teddy-boy doesn’t bark on his backswing.” Right then Teddy-boy caught wind of a squirrel and started to dash off the cart. Wrestling to keep him in the cart with all my might, I covered his eyes with my hand and whispered, “Don’t bark, Teddy, whatever you do, don’t bark.”

Thankfully, he maintained himself, but I’m not so sure I did. Ann Marie sunk a birdie putt on the last hole to win the match. She shot even par. I finished 2 over.

We stood in the parking lot as I spoke to an imaginary crowd of spectators and one faithful golf-savvy doggie, “Ladies and gentlemen, today you have witnessed a fierce match. I’d like to present to you the winner of the first Dog Bone Open, Miss Ann Marie Goslak.”

Handing over her winnings, I basked in the thrill of competition for one more moment, although I hated the thought of losing, even if it was the Dog Bone Open. The moral of this week’s story is if the love of competition is in you, you gotta let it out. Go ahead, let that dog hunt!

If you would like to promote ladies golf by sponsoring an upcoming Ladies National Golf Tour event here in North Carolina, please contact Ann Marie Goslak at or 336-345-4633. We need your help to get this valuable tour started.

Veronica Karaman lives in Pinehurst. She is a golf professional, life coach and speaker.

April 15, 2007 - Let Caddy Carry Clubs
VERONICA KARAMAN: Let Caddy Carry Clubs

I suddenly grew weary of my Open Quest this week. It came out of nowhere and really shook me up. My exhaustion reached a head when my day and play collapsed during a round of friendly competition. The older I get, the more I realize when I get to that place of tiredness, I am being sent a message to stop, pull away, and rest.

The problem was, I was already on the golf course when my meltdown erupted, certainly not the positive emotional state needed for me to kick butt on the fairway.

Walking down the fairway, I knew that as much as I wanted my day to be about competition, it wasn’t going to be. I had to switch my focus and purpose for being out there to be just a day of recovery---to enjoy the outdoors, the walk, my sympathetic company, and the time away from home to return to peace.

On one green I looked down and couldn’t see my ball through my tears. My tears represented more than releasing the relational conflict I experienced the day prior to my play. They held the financial pressure I feel in juggling the balance between my quest and being right on the edge of earning a living, and not having all the perks and latest equipment of being a professional. They held the realization that the changes I desired to make in my swing were not going to happen within the time frame I had intended, and the resulting letdown of that reality. They held the pain of a painful back, a strained forearm, a frustrated and weary body from hitting a zillion golf balls and not seeing the fruit of my labor. They held the concern of care-taking my 90 year old mother who is weakening in her own quest.

My tears also reminded me of the way I used to be. There was a time in my young whipper-snapper days that I would just charge ahead and not pay attention to my physical and emotional signals to stop and rest. I would play in 10 tournaments without a break. Striving all the time to make sure I covered every detail in my preparation, by the time a tournament rolled around, I was exhausted. I had enthusiasm and zeal but no wisdom or pacing. My ultra performance at-all-costs mode produced a chronic fatigue condition that sabotaged 17 years of my life.

The promising part of pain is that it can produce wisdom. For me, it did. When you have chronic fatigue, your immune system can’t handle stress. To recover, I had to find a personal way to deal with even minimal stress that my body registered as overwhelming. I developed a recovery ritual which I call “meaningful disengagement.” At the onset of any set-back stress, I would first of all recognize the stress and label it as such. Any departure from peace was a signal of stress. I would stop what I was doing and disengage from all activity to just get still. I didn’t think about much, other than having a mental picture of a golfer in a fairway with her caddy at her side. You see, as great a golfer as Tiger Woods is, you will never see him carrying his own bag. The caddy’s job is to carry the bag. Tiger’s job is to be free to play, swing, and walk down the fairway. Whenever I felt myself carrying my own bag, and thus impeding my freedom to engage in my “life swing,” I would picture myself giving my bag to my caddy. Spiritually, I would translate this as casting my care upon God. The verse that comes to mind is, “Be still and know that I am God.” The vision of a stronger person at my side to bear my burdens and cares gave me the strength and practical strategy I needed to move through my day. The key was to actually trust my caddy to carry my bag. This treasure of wisdom, discovered in a very dark place, has actually formed the basis of my coaching practice where I help people move from set-backs to momentum in their lives.

I later learned that what I was doing was actually a peak performance strategy. That is, developing a mind-set of rest as the pre-requisite of peak performance. Dr. James Loehr, peak performance expert and my personal hero, wrote a book called Toughness Training for Life, the pre-cursor to his latest book, The Power of Full Engagement. Both writings were life-changing for me. He speaks about how peak performance must come from a place of rest. You can not perform tired and do your best. The real issue of stress management is not the amount of stress you carry, but the amount of stress relative to the amount of recovery you have. Stress management, according to Loehr, is really about energy management. To produce toughness in your life you have to create waves of stress and recovery on a daily basis.

So on my emotional meltdown day, I immediately transitioned from a mindset of competition to a mindset of recovery. I let myself release my emotions, even though it took almost the entire round to do so. Mentally, I needed to create a positive space, so I decided to transition into a month of play, competition, and practice to just get into a rhythm of joy. It is time to stop focusing so much on mechanics. It took courage to make this shift, but I knew I had to make this change to be ready for my tournament. Emotionally, I forgave the person who hurt me, and decided that for the next month I would focus on my goal, and set “those issues” aside. Financially, I humbled myself and asked for help from any interested supporters, and have begun to receive it!

In my journey I’ve observed that many people see contemplation and competition as mutually exclusive. I see them as totally reliant upon one another, as two complementary gears. In fact, I have made a life commitment to embrace both, to compete from a place of stillness.

It takes courage to do that because when you do, you are operating your life from the inside out, and that goes against the grain of the way the world at large operates. But when you decide to let your “doing come from your being,” as opposed to your “being come from your doing,” your entire world takes on new meaning and joy. And it’s amazing what unnecessary stuff falls away from your life when you make this shift.

So the good news of this week is, I see my caddy carrying my bag once again! I’m feeling a return to joy, peace, and a much more positive space in my head--the very atmosphere of peak performance! More on this topic next week.

Veronica Karaman lives in Pinehurst. She is a golf professional, life coach and speaker. To learn more about Karaman’s quest, visit Contact Veronica at:


April 22, 2007 - Standing Still Enhances Open Quest
VERONICA KARAMAN: Standing Still Enhances Open Quest

Greetings to you this week from Hurley Park. I had full intentions to make it up around the bend on Mulhaney Street to play a practice round for the U.S. Open Qualifier, but I got knocked down hard from one unforgettable day on the golf course. I landed here to recover.

I was traumatized by the elements this week in my U.S. Open quest, feeling more like Dorothy on the Wizard of Oz escaping an impending tornado than fearless Veronica making her first mini-tour conquest—seriously.

The Ladies National Golf Tour kicked off its inaugural event at Rock Barn Resort in Conover, North Carolina, site of the PGA Champions Tour. Hearing what a great golf course it was, and anxious to gain some valuable competitive experience, I signed up to play with a mix of enthusiasm and caution.

I was just getting over a horrendous case of food poisoning which escalated into the flu. I can’t remember a time when I was so sick. Fortunately, I have great neighbors who came to my aid at the cry for help.

While writhing in pain and total depletion from throwing-up no less than 15 times, my adjacent neighbor came running over, “Do you want me to call an ambulance?” Cindy inquired, “You look really bad.” Stephanie, my neighbor down the street, also came to the rescue. “Hey, that tournament is important. You need to be competing as much as possible right now. Here, take this pill. I don’t know what it is, but it sure helped me.” Sara, from directly across the street, joined the nurse squad, bringing gifts to bear. “Here’s some Campbell’s soup. See here, you can just sip right out of the bottle. No need to even get up,” she proudly explained. Jennifer and Samantha, two neighborhood little girls brought over a specially made poster-board which read, “Dear Miss V., please get better soon.” Their expressions of pure love and care touched me and strengthened me.

I was also strengthened by the financial support of some friends and members of the community who made it possible for me to go to the tournament.

So Sunday I packed up and headed to Rock Barn feeling somewhat on the mend. Heading out on the course for a practice round, I knew I had to draw a fine line between keeping what strength I had and getting in some practice to learn the course. The rainy weather had scared off the rest of the players, so I thought I could zip around the course in no time.

At the third hole, all of a sudden, the winds picked up and the thunder roared. I’ve never seen clouds move so quickly. I jumped in the cart to get back to the clubhouse, but lost my way. I thought, “Oh, no, first I think I’m going to die two days ago from food poisoning. Now I’m going to die from a bolt of lightning zapping me.” Later I found out I was playing neck in neck with a tornado that cruised through town. I felt like a whipped puppy as I crashed back at my hotel room.

The elements the next day were even more fierce. We played in constant 40 mile per hour winds. It took almost four hours to play nine holes. This immune-depleted, flu-laden, middle-age champion wanna-be spent a total of 5 ½ hours out in “the elements” that taxed every atom of her being. Fortunately, the tournament was curtailed due to the near-impossible playing conditions. The good news is, I finished third. I bad news is, there were only four in the field.

The winner, Caroline Goasguen, from France, was an excellent player. A seasoned pro from the European and Canadian tours, her winning strategy was to just hit it straight, take her time, play each shot, and not focus on score.

The gold of my experience this week was the sense of participating in some strong competition. When we knew the tournament was cut to only nine holes, all of a sudden the competitive atmosphere intensified, like coming down the heat on the final four holes of a major championship. We all spiked our focus and concentration to the next level. It was great.

My other “win” of this week was that I committed to one swing thought throughout my round and never wavered. It was a stepping-stone for me competitively. This opening season event also located me as a player. I now know what I need to do for the next several weeks in preparation for the Open Qualifier. It’s very clear. I am going to get stronger, work on my endurance, continue to own my swing and groove my new swing thought, and go deeper into developing a rhythm of playing, scoring, and practicing.

Peak performance expert, Dr. James Loehr, in his book Toughness Training for Life, says the only way to get stronger is to create waves of stress and recovery. This week was a major cycle of stress for me. I battled a lot of elements, both external and internal. So now you know why I am sitting on a friendly white bench at Hurley Park. Today I am not golfing. Today I am recovering.

I’m thinking about watching Julie Andrews sing in The Sound of Music, and my friends Tom and Lori, who kidded me as I watched this classic for the very first time this week at their home. I’m smiling about talking to my friend, Ron, one of my main cheerleaders, who daily helps me to re-frame my experiences to see my victories all along my way. I’m imagining chomping down on those big luscious red strawberries I just bought at the fruit stand. I’m feeling grateful for asking a minister and his wife, total strangers, at the hotel to pray for my healing. They are now friends in my quest. I’m chuckling at a little boy named Zack chase his dad around a big tree here in the park. I’m soaking in a gentle breeze, some warm sun, and writing you. I’m enjoying being still.

Tomorrow I’ll turn the corner on Mulhaney Street and play my practice round at the top of the hill.

Veronica Karaman lives in Pinehurst. She is a golf professional, life coach and speaker. To learn more about Karaman’s quest, visit Contact Veronica at:

April 29, 2007 - Magical Feel Follows One Plane Swing

VERONICA KARAMAN: Magical Feel Follows One Plane Swing

This week I suddenly had a breakthrough in my Open Quest. It came as a surprise and really shook me up—a truly magical moment! For the past eight weeks I have been writing about my obstacles and struggles. But I’ve turned a bend in the road which has opened up a whole new realm of possibility for me. I really believe I can now qualify for the U.S. Open. It’s exciting and scary at the same time.

In some ways, I have Tiger Woods to thank for my breakthrough. Something he said made me think. In an interview he remarked, “I want to be a player who owns his swing. There’s only two players I know of who owned their swing—Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus.”

The concept gripped me. If I keep getting lesson after lesson always searching for the next best thing, then I am never truly accepting my swing and honing what works for me. This thought sent me on a different kind of quest. Instead of trying to find something, I started thinking of trying to possess what I already had that works for me.

The other dynamic that pressed me into a breakthrough was my recent tournament experience. Knowing I had to leap into competition, I decided to see my one plane swing coach here before I left, so I gave Bob Dougherty a call. “Bob, I’m leaving for a tournament in two days and I need your help!” We met the next day at the teaching tee at Whispering Pines. Bob introduced me to Andy, a Sunbelt tour player, and fellow student of Bob’s. Andy is from Australia and was working on correcting the same swing fault I have. He decided to join us for my lesson.

“Bob, you have got to help me possess my swing in just about an hour.” Bob laughed. “No, I’m serious. I’m leaving tomorrow for my first competition, and I need to ‘get this’ now!” Bob helped me review what I have been working on—but I kept pressing for more. “I know you want me to swing to my finish all the way around, but I need a backswing thought!”

Andy offered some winning advice. “Here’s what I do to make my swing work. Swing the club around yourself like a baseball bat. That keeps you in a one plane motion. Then keep working the swing downward in a circle until you can lower it to your ball---keep the motion and then just hit it.” I took his advice and started hitting the ball great.

It worked because it was a motion thought versus a mechanical thought. All of a sudden, I felt what a one plane swing felt like---the backswing and the downswing being the same plane. “Stunning,” Andy commented each time I actually did it, “just stunning.” Between Bob’s coaching and Andy’s drill, I found my swing in an hour’s time, much to all of our amazement. As I left Bob offered his final send-off remark, “Remember, you’re not Jack Nicklaus. You’re Ben Hogan. Your swing is around like Hogan’s---not up and down like Nicklaus’ swing.”

My first attempt to execute “my swing” was at Rock Barn, the mini-tour event I wrote about last week. I didn’t realize how significant it was that I made the commitment to execute a brand new swing thought in horrific weather conditions. What I thought was terrible play was actually a stepping-stone to my breakthrough.

Two days after my tournament I played a practice round for the Open Qualifier at Salisbury Country Club. Arriving at the course late morning, I had the practice tee to myself.

I just started hitting balls, and practiced swinging like I would a baseball bat. Then I set the club down and wacked the ball! I hit it great, much to my surprise, just like I did on the lesson tee with Bob and Andy. I was stunned, as I never hit the ball as well as I did on that tee.

Patty, my cart driver from last year’s qualifier, showed up shortly thereafter to join me for the day’s play. After I smacked my first drive straight down the fairway and my second shot 10 feet from the pin, she remarked, “Wow. You’re definitely hitting it better than last year.” “How couldn’t I? You remember what happened last year?” I replied, “The day before the tournament, I got hit by a golf ball which sent me to my knees. I was happy just to be out there. You were more of a nurse than a caddy.”

I will also never forget her remark on the back nine that day. On one hole, I lined up my trusty 7 wood, 180 yards from the pin, taking dead aim on a particular spot, and then ripped the ball to that exact spot. “Wow, this is what professional golf is supposed to be like!” I thought to myself. Then Patty inquired, “Are you a machine? You keep sending the ball right to the hole.” I had to chuckle in near disbelief, knowing how errant my shots have been up until now.

I left that day with fresh hope, with the real possibility of actually making it. I feel like I have been hiking through some dense thick forest, hardly seeing my way, stumbling, but moving forward in the dark with only the trusty flashlight of my instructor. Then all of a sudden, the thick darkness and narrow path opens up into a big, bright meadow full of colorful flowers and pastureland. You don’t know what it all holds, but it is now bright and free. I can move around. My mind is finally clear. I can play unhindered. I can do this. Just watch me!

Veronica Karaman lives in Pinehurst. She is a golf professional, life coach and speaker. Contact Veronica at:


May 6, 2007 - Open Quest Yields Powerful Moments
VERONICA KARAMAN: Open Quest Yields Powerful Moments

This week in my Open Quest I encountered some unsuspected power sources. It all started with my all-out search to find a new golf hat.

You would think finding a new cap would be no big deal, but my search proved to be quite challenging, not unlike trying to find a new driver. It has to fit you just right and look good, too. I perused through numerous shops and made some purchases, but not one of the hats ended up on my head, just the top shelf of my closet. Nothing grabbed my attention until I stopped at my favorite gift shop, the Potpourri, in Virginia Beach last week.

I wanted to find something unique, different than the usual baseball cap, which is not very feminine looking. As I entered the store looking for the 75 per cent off rack, my eye caught the flimsy bright pink and white roundish hat with a nice soft brim on the shelf. “This is it!” I exclaimed. “This is my new golf hat! It’s the perfect mix between classy and sporty.”

The clerk looked up from reading the paper and smiled. “You don’t know how long I’ve searched for a fresh new look for the course. And it’s only fifteen dollars. Where’s the mirror?” I asked as I excitedly put the hat on. Making sure “it was the one,” I asked each customer as she entered the store, “Do you like my new hat?” Each woman responded with a resounding “Yes! Looks great!” “That’s it, then. I’ll buy it!”

Feeling empowered with a new golf look, I was glad my hat search was over. I then turned my attention to continuing my search for a new driver. Bob Dougherty, my local swing coach, chastised me for weeks to update my club to 21st century technology. “You can’t go to the Open with a small headed driver,” Bob complained. “Go buy yourself a new driver and do it now! It will give you more power.” That was months ago.

I must have tried 25 drivers since then. You name ‘em. Ping. Zing. Schmaling. Rescue. Rapture. Cobra. G2. G5. Square-headed. 12 degree. 7 degree. Masters degree. Ahhhh! Somebody please help me find a high-tech driver I hit better than my own!

With a few new test drivers and my new hat, I proudly headed out to Whispering Pines to conduct a one day golf school for a group of ladies from Wakefield Plantation in Raleigh.

Rosemary, the leader of the group, shared their desire. “We have been playing for a long time, but want to take our game to a new level,” Rosemary explained. “I can do that for you,” I assured her. “I can help you take 10 strokes off your game this summer. You can break the 95-100 zone, if you will just do four things: get a good pop off the tee, get out of sand traps in one stroke, eliminate 3 putts, and learn to align your shots. That’s it!”

Eager to advance their game, I met them at the clubhouse, after quickly donning on my new hat. “This is strange, but my new hat just doesn’t feel right,” I thought to myself. “This hat is pretty, but I don’t feel the power of my old muted pink Duke cap.” Suddenly it dawned on me that when I wear that hat, it makes me feel powerful. Even anointed. Full of authority to teach and play. Wearing my old golf cap provided me with an unsuspected source of power. So I tucked my new hat aside, and entered into my sphere of authority with my old worn out hat.

We spent most of the morning at the short game green, chipping and pitching. One of the players, Becky, announced, “Hey, Veronica! I noticed the “D” on your cap. I went to Duke, too!” We struck up a special camaraderie right away, thanks to the power of my old hat, as I proceeded to help her with her swing. “If you want power, you have to learn to use your hands. Hinge, unhinge,” I instructed her. “I can’t do this. This feels strange,” she protested with an air of Duke fight in her. She then proceeded to hit a perfect 25 yard pitch shot which sailed gleefully through the air, landing next to the pin. “This is great! I can do this!” she exclaimed, surprised by her own power. She jumped up and down in delight as she tapped into the unsuspected power source in her hands for the very first time.

Once on the golf course, I helped each woman with her swing and then let Becky and Tanya play the back nine by themselves while I helped Rosemary’s group. I teed off with one of my new test drivers, and once again, couldn’t hit it as good as my old Callaway Hawk Eye 9-degree small-headed, tape-laden ancient driver. So I pulled out my old driver as I heard Rosemary’s surrender: “This is just the way I swing. I will never hit it far, but at least I hit it straight.”

Knowing that Rosemary sabotaged her power by standing too far away from the ball, and then just lifted the club up, I immediately went to work to help her. “Rosemary, swing like a baseball bat with the club directly in front of you, waist high. Now do the same thing at the ball, and don’t lift the club up. Just swing around yourself.” She swung and immediately wacked the ball 30 yards further than her normal shot. Twirling around in delight and total astonishment, her face lit up like a Christmas tree with ecstatic joy. “I did it! I found my power! I have a new swing!” I will never forget the look on her face as she discovered her unsuspected power source for the very first time: swinging her arms in connection to her body.

Once in, Becky came running up to me. “Guess what! I had a natural birdie on the back nine and shot 10 strokes better than my 28 handicap—all in nine holes!” “That’s great, Becky!” I exclaimed, as I put my old driver back in my bag, amazed at the significant advances each woman made as she connected with power sources within her reach for the very first time. Walking in the clubhouse I thought about all the unsuspected sources of power I encountered during my week: an old Duke golf cap, an old driver, golf students connecting to the power in their hands—and their arms.

We all feel and find power in different ways. I learned this week that there are power sources available to each of us within our reach. It doesn’t have to require a grand search. It may mean just becoming aware of what that old hat or old driver can do for you. It may mean just opening up your mind to learn something new and give yourself permission “to go there” in your head. It could mean 10 strokes immediately off your game. And if you see me at the Open with an old Duke hat and an old Callaway driver, it just means this is where I found my power.

Veronica Karaman lives in Pinehurst. She is a golf professional, life coach and speaker. Contact Veronica at:


May 13, 2007 - Final Thoughts for Monday's Qualifier
VERONICA KARAMAN: Final Thoughts for Monday's Qualifier

The last thing I expected to encounter several days away from the U.S. Open Qualfier was a terrorist attack on my golf score. But that’s exactly what happened in my final mini-tour event in preparation for my big day on Monday, May 14th. Fortunately, Margret Endrigat came rushing to my aid to stop the mental fall-out and charge me with my tournament marching orders.

It all took place at The Ladies National Golf Tour event at Bermuda Run West last Monday. The course was not particularly hard, and after playing a practice round well, I fully expected a strong showing. My intent was to make a comeback from the first event in which we played in horrific weather conditions, and go into the Open Qualifier with a strong confidence. I had also just shot a fine 72 at National Golf Club from the blue tees, and was happy to be in the scoring zone. So I had good reason to believe I would do well.

Teeing off with another lady pro whom I did not know, I was very impressed with her golf swing and friendly demeanor. Most pros, including myself, are not all that talkative during a competitive round, but she seemed eager to talk and play. It was just her style.

On or about the fifth hole, I hit a good drive on a short par four. With only 80 yards to the green, I took a wedge, and set up my shot in hopes of getting it close to the hole for a birdie putt. But instead of going towards the hole, the low-sailing skulled ball darted across the green and into a water hazard. “Where did THAT come from?” I wondered in disbelief. “I can’t believe I just hit that shot.” Instead of a 3 or 4, I ended up with 6.

After scoring a birdie shortly thereafter, it happened again. Out of nowhere I hit a shot off the wall dead right, out of bounds on my drive. “I never hit a grossly errant shot with my trusty Callaway driver. What is going on here?” By the fourth and final time it happened, my winning score blew up along with my ego. I felt like I just got hit from a terrorist bomber from out of nowhere, destroying my round, and attempting to disintegrate my confidence into a pile of mental mush….all from four bad holes.

With the Open Qualifier now at hand, the temptation was to let my bad round get to me. I knew I had to deal with it in a way that would not set me back but advance me.

Thank God my friend Margret. After sharing my experience, this former competitive tennis player and coach from Germany immediately addressed the champion in me: “Veronica! You have only to gain from this experience and nothing to lose! What would we ever do if we didn’t try? You are a champ regardless of the outcome of your quest. But I tell you what—you better be thinking about your own hat on Monday. Don’t look at anyone else’s swing. I forbid you! We love you and believe in you---and are coming Monday to cheer you on. You better do something on Monday!”

We both broke out laughing. Her indomitable spirit was contagious. As a fellow competitor and coach, she knew exactly what and how to speak to me that would call my spirit to attention. I realized as self-contained as we golfers are cultivated to be, that sometimes we need the nurture of others to re-fuel us. I think the breakfast of champions is having a supportive team to rally around you, especially when you are trying to accomplish a big goal. It a new thing for me of late, and it was a beautiful thing to be truly encouraged by someone who knew me and what my quest was all about.

Margret’s exhortation motivated me to think more on my round. Was it really a terrorist attack that caused my high score, or was it me? It’s amazing what you learn when you stop and deal with your bad round reflectively and honestly. For starters, I was taken off guard by my playing partner’s style. I was not used to chatting much during a competitive round. I allowed “an outside influence” to keep me from getting into my own head and concentrating like I normally do. It was huge lesson in what one of my colleague’s calls the “I don’t know and I don’t care” mindset. In other words, don’t look at or get absorbed in what anybody else is doing. Stick to your own game and get into your own head. She shared the story of Ben Hogan playing with another pro who made a hole-in-one on a hole. Ben birdied it and stepped up to the next tee, thinking he had the honors. The other pro says, “Sorry, Ben, but I think a hole-in-one beats a birdie.” Ben was so absorbed in his own game that he didn’t even know his playing partner made a hole-in-one. After processing my round and the lesson it provided, I was able to re-frame it into a positive light. It’s a very basic competitive lesson, but one I’m sure just about every PGA pro needs to apply when playing with Tiger Woods. And I may just need to apply it in extra measure come Monday, too….and I will.

As I stand at the first gate of Open Qualifying, endeavoring with all my might to go through that gate, I am grateful for all the lessons and all the rally of support I have received along the way. I am thankful for Bob Dougherty’s on course lesson with me this week, Margret’s strength, and the email from Professor Roger Bern, a friend who reminded me this week of my Greatest Supporter and Cheerleader through his prayer:

“I pray that you will be led by the Spirit in every decision you make on the course and in every stroke you take, and that the whole qualifying experience will be worship unto God. I am reminded of a couple of Psalms as I consider what is ahead of you. Ps. 32:8 where the Lord says, "I will instruct you in the way you should go; I will guide you with MY eye." Ps. 34:4-8 where the psalmist reminds us of God's hearing our prayers and delivering us from all of our fears. "O taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him." I expect you know the songs based on those verses. I pray that you will be singing the truths of Ps. 34 in your heart as you navigate the course.”

Come Monday, I will be in my own head, will play with all my might, and regardless of the outcome, will rejoice in my spirit. Here I go!

Veronica Karaman lives in Pinehurst. She is a golf professional, life coach and speaker. Contact Veronica at:


May 20, 2007 - Open Quest Provides New Opportunities
VERONICA KARAMAN: Open Quest Provides New Opportunities

Bobby Jones once said, “I’ve never learned anything from a tournament I won.” I learned this week what he was talking about. For the last six months I fully dedicated myself to qualifying for this year’s Women’s U.S. Open at Pine Needles. This past week in my qualifying tournament I finished tied for 66th out of 98 players. I shot 80, missing the mark by six shots.

I could blame my high score on that horrible triple bogey on the 12th hole, after my drive landed against a tree trunk and perched atop a bouncy pile of pine needles….or the one foot putt I missed on the 8th hole because I didn’t keep to my routine. But the fact of the matter is, my recent swing changes simply didn’t stand up under pressure. I reverted back to some old habits which die hard in my third competitive round of the season.

The good news is, I put up a great fight, never giving up once the entire way around. Overall, I concentrated well, putted well, and made some great recovery shots. I even walked well, as I felt strong.

You have no idea how much courage it just took me to announce my failure to qualify. You see, I’m an achiever. I’m the one who graduated valedictorian of my high school class and graduate school class. Straight A’s and accolades is what defined me. Pursuing excellence at all costs was my motto. Number one is where it’s at. Number two or less is worthless. My drive to excel is also what sent me tail-spinning into a chronic immune system disorder that sabotaged most of my adult years.

So Bobby Jones’ statement is meaningful to me. What he said was that there is significance in not winning because it is there that you uncover life lessons that help you to become a better person and a better player. I wish I had embraced that statement seven years ago, the last time I gave an all out dedication to qualify.

When I didn’t, I fell into a terrible depression because I made the awful mistake of attaching my value to performance and an event. I also pursued my goal largely alone. I gave up and died on the inside, thinking that it was too painful to set goals and go after them again. I remained trapped in a place of survivorship until I made the decision to pursue this quest.

So what have I learned from not winning this time around? What took me seven years to get through last time only took me about one hour to get over this time. Halleluiah! It is so new for me to not achieve a goal and feel whole despite the outcome. I call that true champion victory. When I decided to go “questing” this time, I made it my aim to pursue “becoming” over “achieving.” Becoming is based on personal growth---the love of the journey. Achieving is based on a performance outcome. I knew if I activated my faith that it didn’t guarantee that I would accomplish my goal, but it did guarantee that I would gain some treasures from it. This time I started from a place of re-defining what success meant to me. This new perspective gave me the freedom to launch out again.

I then asked for the help I needed, knowing that I could not do it alone. I have gained numerous new and treasured friends through my questing. There’s Ron, a blast from my past. The last time I talked to Ron was over 30 years ago. I now I talk to him daily. He is one of my coaches. There’s Jim Dodson, my wonderful writing mentor. I’ve always wanted to write and now I am---and actually getting paid for it! There’s Kathy and Carol, two great cheerleaders, not to mention Anne Marie and Stephanie, two new professional colleagues. There’s Jan, one of my coaching clients. Jan has never played the game, but her husband is jesting because Jan has coached me emotionally both on and off the course. The list goes on. It takes some courage to invite others to participate in your quest, but you are all the more rich for the ask. I would know none of these people apart from my quest.

And then there’s the heart touches from people I never expected to hear from. Uncle Joe, now in his 80’s, used to join my dad playing golf at Latrobe Elks Golf Club. He sent me $100 to support my quest. It really touched my heart, along with my other friends who cheerfully gave just because they believed in me. When I was leaving for the Qualifier, Mom stayed at my house to watch Teddy-boy, our dog. “Here,” Mom said as I headed out the door, “Take this $10 for gas money.” Tearing up, she revealed her heart, “I wish it could be more.”

So as I headed out the door this time, I knew I was competing from a very different place. I wasn’t competing to find love or significance. I was competing from a loved place. That’s what was missing last time---nurture to my competitive heart.

In addition to discovering spiritual wholeness and emotional connection, I advanced to a place of physical health. My cart driver observed, “Veronica, I saw you walking vigorously up and down those hills. You were leading your group down the fairway. No one would ever know you had chronic fatigue. I wouldn’t second guess your health. You are whole!” I needed her validation to know that I am physically healed. I can re-enter life again. Going through this gate was monumental to me.

Lance Armstrong, seven time winner of the Tour de France, and cancer survivor, wrote something in his book that spearheaded my quest. He said that in order to move out of a place of survivorship, you have to do more than go to the next step. You have to shoot for the moon---a goal way out there that propels you to get up and get going. And you can not fear failure. His words established a game-plan for me. Going for the U.S. Open was my shot to the moon.

I may have landed in front of the green instead of at the hole, but my quest launched me to a new place in my life. I’m not stuck at the tee anymore! I found my world again in golf. I will keep playing and improving. A new beginning has opened up for me. Perhaps that’s the gold I was meant to find all along. I thank Bobby Jones for reminding me to find the value of not winning.

Veronica Karaman lives in Pinehurst. She is a golf professional, life coach and speaker. Contact Veronica at: