The story behind The Puddle Club – Part 7 – Play with a Purpose!

If you’ve been reading this blog you know that The Puddle Club book is a fantasy tale about how golf and life are similar. It vividly shows young folks that the tools they first learn to use in golf are again used in life.

Golf is a game and so is life.

You cannot beat Golf and you cannot beat Life. Both require one seemingly simple gesture – you must play. There are really just two ways to play — you can Play to Get By or you can Play with a Purpose.

You know folks who Play to Get By — you can tell who they are because they never do more than is required, never face the danger of the unknown, and are always making big plans that just need more time before they’re ready to execute. They secretly enjoy being in the safe space known as the bench. Most folks postpone Playing with a Purpose because they don’t feel or believe that they are ready.

This is a lie. What they really lack is an understanding of process, it’s supreme importance at the start of any action and how to develop one of their own.


You know folks who Play with a Purpose – you can tell who they are by their willingness to jump right in and get dirty, do more than is required, and never take their eyes off the ball (goal). They don’t judge themselves for their mistakes along the way because mistakes show you where to adjust your PROCESS.

Playing with a Purpose can be boiled down to simply focusing on the process needed to move forward and constantly adjusting according to what the situation requires.

Purposeful players reap most of life’s greatest rewards as a symptom of their effort. That chance meeting that changed your life? It’s a symptom of process. That book that “found you” and contained in it just the information you needed at that moment? It’s a symptom of process.

LUCK is a symptom of process.

What kind of a player are you?

The story behind The Puddle Club – Part 6 – PERSONAL PAR

One of the big ideas we present to readers in The Puddle Club is something called “Personal Par”

Most folks understand what par means in golf — Par is the number of strokes (hits) it should take you to get your ball from the tee box into the hole.  Each tee box has a marker nearby that tells you what the par is. A par 4 means it should take 4 hits, par 3 means 3 hits, etc. Par is the same for every golfer and never changes. The only thing that is variable is the tee box itself. Most golf courses have three that are set at different distances from the hole. The par remains the same.


Personal Par is a little different. Personal Par is the number of tries it takes you to reach a goal in life. You’ve set the goal, now you must work towards that goal. Someone who reaches the goal quickly has a low personal par for that achievement. Someone who takes more time and has a longer journey has a high personal par.

A high personal par is not negative!

Instead it just means the journey may take longer and be more interesting. The real important part to remember is that the journey is what matters most, not the result. You will win some and lose some but nothing happens if you don’t get moving towards your goal.

Every human being has a fluctuating personal par that is low or high, depending on the situation, skill set and obstacles. The exciting thing is that over time you can bring your personal par down by mastering the skills needed to reach your goal.

So what are you waiting for?

Set goals and begin your journey because winning and losing are just PAR FOR THE COURSE in the game of life.

The story behind The Puddle Club – Part 5 – Game Of Life First

     Today I’m going to go over the underlying theme of The Puddle Club and briefly examine why the book is resonating so deeply with readers of all ages.


How many times have you heard the expression “life is just a game”? I’m guessing quite a few, because it’s one of the truest of truisms that everyone hears but few adhere to.

Instead, most folks adhere to Practiceopolis, which coaxes one into a perpetual training-mode for the game of life, while masquerading as the playing field itself. Practiceopolis is a defeatest state-of-mind and entire industries have been created to cater to those under it’s spell.

This is a trap. It removes the danger and dangles the life-changing journey before you like a carrot on a stick. Someday you’ll be ready…but not now, so why try?

The true game of life is played out on the wide-open fairways of possibility, the rolling hills of uncertainty, the sandy pits of doom and the seemingly dead-end of losing it all.


Sometimes losing it all is what it takes to make you see clearly again.

The fundamental key to the game of life is simply to play though every situation as the temporary challenge that it is.  Move from one hole to the next. It matters more that you dig in and play than if you win. Winning is a symptom of playing with a purpose and always giving your best effort.

Folks who are in this “fully alive” state, all know the game, their purpose, and most importantly, how to play through to the best of their own abilities. The other part of maintaining this positive state-of-mind is to always be on the lookout for your inner Gollum. The temptation to stop playing and instead protect your “precious” is ever present and removes one from the game entirely.

This theme of knowing yourself and playing through accordingly is what makes The Puddle Club the enduring book that it is becoming.


The story behind The Puddle Club – Part 2

      Anytime I was at the clubhouse with my daughter, Gregg Russell and I began to talk about his dream of getting a helpful book for junior golfer’s into the world. He and his wife have run many of the US Kids Golf tournaments in the Philadelphia PGA section, and have years of experience working with youth development.  Gregg had seen so many kids have their journey into the game ruined by overzealous parents who think their child is the next Tiger Woods.  This invisible pressure then strangled all of the fun in pursuit of an elusive goal which is meaningless to the young player.


 I saw this first hand too. I caddy for my daughter in her summer travel league.  The joy of playing seems lost to so many adults, who then impose their non-fun on their children and then joylessness prevails.

So I started to break down the book “I’m Only 8” which was going to be essays and reflections on junior golf. It was called “I’m Only 8” because an 8-year-old junior golfer can navigate a golf course like a mature adult  — but on the car ride home is likely to return to fascination with boogers and fart sounds. A book needed to be written to help parents understand this dynamic and not expect their little future pro to always be “on”.

But every single time I would talk to Gregg about “I’m Only 8”, digging for bits to write about, chapters, etc., he would always talk about the puddle metaphor that communicated what he was truly hoping to get across.

The metaphor is this: when you were young and found a puddle you would jump right in because puddles are fun. When you grew up, you no longer jumped right in. Why? The puddle never changed – you did.

I now call this “Puddle Theory” and the idea stuck in my brain like a hot poker for weeks. I didn’t know where it fit or how to incorporate it until one day I had a eureka moment that meant the death of “I’m Only 8”.


I walk my dogs through the woodland trails that encircle our country club on a regular basis. One morning after a night of rain I decided to head out. When I approached an area where the trail was flooded and I could see my own reflection — it hit me like a ton of bricks — this book would not be essays and musings on junior golf but instead a fantasy story about a mystical golf club you can only enter through a puddle! I decided right then and there to pursue this idea.

And that is how The Puddle Club was born.

(In my next post I will tell you about how Ralphie the golf ball came to be a major character in the book.)



Puddles Are Fun

Children know exactly what to do when they encounter a puddle. The puddle invites them to come and disrupt it’s peaceful facade, to create water ripples with their fingers and to get a glimpse of one’s own wavy reflection.


The puddle is a temporary doorway to another world. One that disappears just as quickly as it appeared. The mystery beyond the puddle is the place daydreamers are drawn to.

In my upcoming book “The Puddle Club,” a young girl jumps into a puddle and is transported to a parallel world where she learns that the game of life has many rules, but none of them are more important than jumping right in.


“The Puddle Club” will be available on April 1, 2018 from Hosel & Ferrule Books.

Please subscribe to this blog for chapter previews and updates.

Puddle Theory

When you were a child you jumped right into the puddle without a care in the world, because puddles are fun and splashing in them is a universally shared joyful human experience.


When you grew up you stopped jumping in puddles because puddles make you dirty and mess everything up.  The puddle never changed. You did.

This is Puddle Theory and it is about finding your way back to the puddle and reconnecting with the part of you that mysteriously vanished.

Please join me as I introduce and blog about Puddle Theory in the coming months that lead up to the release of my first book “The Puddle Club”

Jump right in!

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