Though now living in Hawaii with his family, Darrin Gee writes that he grew up in Chico, attended Sierra View Elementary and Bidwell Junior High and graduated from Pleasant Valley High School. An expert in "mental golf," he operates the Spirit of Golf Academy on the Big Island. His new book is "The Seven Personalities of Golf: Discover Your Inner Golfer to Play Your Best Game" ($17.95 in hardcover from Stewart, Tabori & Chang).
Gee bases his list on his own observation and is careful to add that "there are more than just the seven generalized personality types" and that "the individuals mentioned as examples of each personalty type are not necessarily solely and totally defined as such. In other words, this is all in fun." But it's fun with a purpose. Each chapter is devoted to one of the types, complete with a "golf profiler" questionnaire, a list of the type's strengths and weaknesses, and how those players with different types can make use of the type in question to better their game.
Take the Gamesman, exemplified by Lee Trevino. "He approaches each shot as if he's on the craps table in Vegas. . . . It's not the money. It's about the thrill." The Gamesman may be easily distracted, but is fun-loving and goal oriented. How does this help a non-Gamesman? Gee noticed that one client, Erin, was so caught up in making the perfect swing that "her stomach would literally ache" if it wasn't. Gee told her to "stop playing standard stroke play and play 'Hit till you're happy.' In this game, she could hit as many shots from the same place until she hit one that she liked." Eventually she put aside the intricacies and just played the game. Erin began "to hit her first shot exactly the way she wanted."
Other types include the Intimidator (Tiger Woods, naturally), Methodologist (Nick Faldo), Swashbuckler (the "go-for-broke" Arnold Palmer), Steady Eddie (Tom Watson), the Artist (Steve Ballesteros), and the Laid-Back (Fred Couples). The Laid-Back personality adopts "relaxed intensity," a "complete balance of maintaining your normal level of relaxation while heightening your concentration and focus."
The book is illuminating, even for non-golfers, in part because golf is like life. You gotta bring the right personality to it.