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A Playbook for Golf & Life

If anyone knows what it takes to build the type of mindset needed to become a successful competitive golfer, it’s Houston’s Mike Booker. Winner of 14 TGA Championships, a 2019 Texas Golf Hall of Fame inductee, and a collegiate All-American on the late 1970s powerhouse University of Houston golf teams, Booker at age 68 knows exactly what constitutes a tournament golfer.

Or as he would put it, a Tournament Golfer: capital T, capital G.

The four-time Texas Senior Player of the Year recently published his first book. It’s a unique self-help offering for anyone who wants to know how to improve their tournament results and become more successful in their daily lives. It’s called The Tournament Golfer’s Playbook and identifies two very different types of competitive golfers and how becoming one of them can lead to triumph – in tournaments and life itself.

“My book is for players who want to win golf tournaments,” said Booker, who notched his latest triumph at the 2023 South Texas Senior Amateur. You see, Booker believes there are Golfers-Who-Play-Tournaments, and then there are Tournament Golfers. There is about a 700-yard, par-5 gulf between these two types of competitors.

For example, the Golfer-Who-Plays-Tournaments has a list of excuses for poor scores. It was a bad back, or inclement weather, or unlucky lip-outs that kept him from meeting his expectations. The Tournament Golfer, meanwhile, has no such rationalizations. This competitor, Booker notes, is drama-free. He turns in his scorecard without alibis.

Or, as Booker says in his book, “Don’t explain, don’t complain.”

There’s much more to the dichotomy, of course. Booker gets into all of it. The Golfer-Who-Plays-Tournaments has bad habits of getting ahead of themselves, thinking too far into the future (or the past), over-celebrating good shots and getting upset over bad ones.

Booker understands this because he is a Tournament Golfer. He is quick to add, however, that wasn’t always the case. He was a Golfer-Who-Plays-Tournaments for years and years.

There’s a great anecdote early in the book about when he was 16 years old and advanced to the semifinals of the California Junior Match Play Championship. He faced one of the top-ranked juniors in the state, future U.S. Open champion Scott Simpson. Booker took a quick lead – Simpson duck-hooked tee balls out of bounds on the first two holes – and he started thinking about who he’d face in the finals.

Cut to the end, Simpson won 3&2. Even as a teenager, Simpson displayed winning characteristics even when he was 2 down. No alibis.

“Scott was a Tournament Golfer, and I had no idea what had just happened to me,” Booker said. “It would take me over a decade to understand what he – and many other Tournament Golfers I encountered – possessed that I did not. In my book, I detail how the reader can become a Tournament Golfer and stop being just a Golfer-Who-Plays-Tournaments.”

Published in January, The Tournament Golfer’s Playbook debuted at #1 on Amazon’s New Release list. It also made it to #1 on Amazon’s Best Seller list in February. It’s stuffed full of the kind of advice, anecdotes, and insider information every serious golfer needs.

It’s more than that, though. At the end of each chapter, Booker gives readers a “Life Hack” that relates how becoming a Tournament Golfer also can help them succeed in life off the golf course.

The chapter about “Taking Responsibility” illuminates why and how the Tournament Golfer benefits from owning up for their actions on the golf course.

“Taking responsibility gives the player true freedom,” Booker said. “Everyone in life and business makes mistakes. The Tournament Golfer attitude calls for us to take responsibility: own (the mistake), fix it, and eliminate it.”

This new book is just the latest way Booker has given back to golf. Mike and his wife, Pat, founded the Booker Family Foundation that supports a wide array of worthy causes, including the TGA’s Youth on Course program that allows juniors to play for $5 or less at select courses across the state.

A melanoma skin cancer survivor himself, Booker’s foundation has raised more than $1 million for the Booker Melanoma Research Endowment for UT/MD Anderson to help eradicate the disease. He and Pat are Trustees for The First Tee, and ardent supporters of the University of Houston golf program. They funded the UH short game area at the Golf Club of Houston, the home course for Mike’s alma mater, the UH Men’s & Women’s Golf Teams.

Now he can add author to his impressive list of accomplishments. Once you read  The Tournament Golfer’s Playbook, you might start adding successful bullet points to your lists, too.

For more information or to order the book,  click here. To read an excerpt from  The Tournament Golfer’s Playbook,  click here.