When I was asked to read Walking with Herb for consideration for a review, I wasn’t sure I was the right woman for the job. It’s a story of a man who was a pretty good golfer back in the day, but whose busy life as a small bank manager hasn’t left time for hitting the links. But God calls him to not only get back in the game, but to win the Masters Tournament. The catch is that God isn’t going to make him win, but will connect him with a coach that will guide him to find the drive to do it himself. The purpose is to show people they can do whatever they want if they really put their minds to it — and are willing to make some changes in order for it to happen.
So, why not me? Well, I’m not a golfer for one, and there’s a lot of golf in this book. The one or two times I played with my dad ended up with him encouraging others to play around us since I was a beginner and didn’t know what I was doing. I wasn’t any good at it and really, not that interested in the sport. The second reason is that while I consider myself to be spiritual, I’m not especially religious. Should I be reviewing a book about a golfer on a mission from God?
Well, it turns out that Joe Bullock’s goal in writing the book isn’t to bring people to God. It is to tell them this: “I wanted to send a message that most of our limitations are self-imposed…we are far more capable than we think we are.”
That, it turns out, is what the eponymous Herb, who is our hero’s coach, caddy, and mentor assigned by God, tells him on a regular basis. (By the way, the hero in the book is named Joe, like the author, but has a different last name. They’re both golfers and bankers, but I think that’s where the similarity ends. Joe Bullock hasn’t won the Masters as far as I know and I don’t think he has received a message from God on his computer, which is how they communicate in the book. And, author Joe tells me, Herb is named after his old NMSU golf coach, Herb Wimberly.)
Walking with Herb is a motivational book rather than a religious text. In it, God communicates with Joe just a few times, then leaves the rest to Herb, who is turns out is quite a good motivator and knows more about golf than the average guy. He develops special clubs to help Joe increase his drive length and accuracy, for example.
Herb can also get you moving. What’s the one thing we all tend to say when we think about taking on something new, like going to the gym or learning a skill? “I don’t have enough time!” Herb has an answer for that. He tells Joe, “You already have enough time. You just aren’t using it wisely. You need to change your concept of what a day is. Like most folks, your concept of a day is the number of hours from six o’clock in the morning when your alarm goes off until about eleven in the evening when you finally turn off the television and go to bed.” Then he proceeds to tell Joe to get up and go to bed two hours earlier, reclaiming some productive morning hours in exchange for non-productive TV time.
Herb tells Joe, “God designed us to be morning people. That’s why dawn is the freshest, most uplifting part of the day.”
Our hero, Joe, balks at the idea at first, but soon becomes an advocate and encourages others to do the same.
Another pearl of wisdom from Herb is about making a plan. Joe knows his goal from God is to win the Masters to show people they are more capable than they think, but he doesn’t know how to make a detailed plan. Herb tells him, “That’s part of the problem with most folks — they can articulate some great goal they have, but it never gets any farther than just being a glorified dream because they don’t have a detailed plan about how to achieve it.” Then he teaches Joe how to develop small steps towards achieving the goal.
So, does senior citizen Herb win the Masters and stun the world? You’ll have to read Walking with Herb to find out. Along the way, you may learn some tips on how to set some goals in your own life. The book is available on Amazon, at COAS bookstores, and by order at Barnes & Noble.