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Hawaii Swings


By Wendy Soderburg '82

Published Apr 1, 2008 8:00 AM

If you're a golfer — or even if you're not — you probably couldn't imagine a better life than that of Darrin Gee '89, who makes his home in paradise and spends his days doing what he loves best: golfing and coaching golf.

More than 7,000 students ranging from beginners to PGA professionals have attended Gee's Spirit of Golf Academy on the Big Island of Hawaii, where he teaches an original technique called the "Seven Principles of Golf" to help players hit longer drives, sink more putts and shoot lower scores. The focus, he says, is on the mental game.

Tee It Up

Gee's first book, The Seven Principles of Golf: Mastering the Mental Game On and Off the Golf Course, is available at bookstores and also on his Web site: His second book, The Seven Personalities of Golf: Discover Your Inner Golfer to Play Your Best Game, will be released in November.

"The common saying in golf is that it's 90-percent mental, but when you look at what people spend their time on during practice, they spend it on the other 10 percent," says Gee, an accomplished golfer who 10 years ago found that once he cleared his mind of distractions, his game improved dramatically. "My niche is to focus on that 90 percent."

Gee's seven principles, which are also the subject of a best-selling book he wrote last year, stress such concepts as "Get Grounded," "Visualize the Shot" and "Transform Your Golf Game, Transform Your Life."

Students pay $250 for a two-and-a-half-hour clinic at one of two scenic locations: the Big Island Country Club or the Hapuna Golf Course at the Mauna Kea Resort. Most classes are taught by Gee, who swung his first club when he signed up for an intramural class during his freshman year at UCLA. "I just fell in love with the game right there," he says.

Now he not only teaches golf at his academy, he often travels to the mainland, giving clinics in the "Seven Principles of Golf" and motivational speaking for corporations and private groups. His wife, Darien, is a novelist who takes care of their two children, Maya, 7, and Eric, 2, and also helps run the academy.

"How do you handle adversity, challenges, distractions, competition, ups and downs?" explains Gee about his concept. "They say golf is a metaphor for life. I say it's not even a metaphor. It's basically the same thing."



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