“Be The Ball”… And Other Life Lessons Learned From Caddyshack
Whether you have golfed for decades or you are fairly new to the game, you have most likely watched Caddyshack at least once. And so have your friends, neighbors and loved ones – even if they have never stepped foot on a golf course.
The reason? It is one of those rare movies you can watch again and again (and again) and laugh until you cry. It is chock full of one-liners that have left indelible imprints on pop culture. And its cast features some of comedy’s biggest names, from Rodney Dangerfield to Bill Murray.
Caddyshack’s not all about comedy though. It also features lessons that viewers can apply to their own lives, both on and off the golf course. So, in celebration of the film’s recent 35th anniversary (July 25th,1980), here are five of Caddyshack’s most valuable life lessons.
1. Don’t let distractions intimidate you. During one of the film’s most memorable scenes, Ty Webb (Chevy Chase) blindfolded himself, approached his ball and proceeded to hit a crisp wedge shot to within a few feet of the hole.
Likewise, Danny Noonan (Michael O’Keefe) overcame his own distractions when a group of caddies repeatedly stated his name—Noonan! Noonan! Noonan!—as he prepared to hole a lengthy putt. With sheer concentration, he focused on the task at hand, ignored the chaos that surrounded him and sank the putt.
As Ty and Danny proved, you should not be intimidated by distractions. Believe in yourself, ignore whichever diversions you are currently encountering and achieve your goals.
2. Life is short—listen to music and dance. Without question, Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield) had the greatest golf bag in history. Not only was it equipped with a beer tap and a remote controlled golf club launcher, it also had a television and a radio. And Al took full advantage of that radio.
While other golfers were focusing on their next shots, he decided to turn his radio on and play Journey’s “Any Way You Want It” as loud as he could instead. Within a matter of seconds, his entire playing group started dancing and forgot they were even on a golf course.
Al never took himself too seriously. He always tried to have fun, even if no one else was. Life is short. Do what Al did. Find a radio, turn up the volume and just dance. Relax, have fun and enjoy today, rather than worrying about tomorrow.
3. Make your future. As he played a round of golf with Danny Noonan, Ty Webb provided the film’s most memorable advice—be the ball. “There’s a force in the universe that makes things happen,” he quipped. “And all you have to do is get in touch with it, stop thinking, let things happen, and be the ball.”
Trust your instincts. Take a deep breath. Believe in yourself and have the confidence to “let things happen.” In the words of Ty Webb, “see your future, be your future.” And, above all else, “make your future.” Have a vision, stay true to it and work hard to transform your vision into reality.
4. Don’t measure yourself against everyone else. Although he was a talented golfer, Ty Webb was not a fan of scorecards. He simply didn’t believe they were necessary. Judge Smails (Ted Knight) questioned him about this in a clubhouse locker room one time, as he wondered how he measured himself with other golfers. Ty’s classic response? By height.
Whether you are playing 18 holes with friends or seeking a promotion at your company, don’t measure yourself against everyone else. Focus on your own goals and strengths, as well as the ways in which you can improve, rather than wasting time and worrying how you compare with someone else. You don’t always need a scorecard.
5. Believe in “Cinderella stories.” He may have just been a greenskeeper at Bushwood Country Club, but Carl Spackler (Bill Murray) had big dreams. As he used a grass whip for a golf club and hit flowers (rather than a ball), Carl imagined himself winning the coveted green jacket at Augusta National.
“He’s got about 195 yards left and it looks like he’s got an 8-iron. This crowd has gone deadly silent,” he said as he prepared to hit a “shot.” “Cinderella story, out of nowhere, the former greenskeeper now about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mira…it’s in the hole! It’s in the hole!”
No matter what your age is, you’re never too old to use your imagination. Everyone has a “Cinderella story”—a lofty goal of some sort that they hope they can achieve. What’s yours?
Featured image courtesy of Caddyshack/ Warner Bros.