As an avid golfer in high school, I spent most of my days practicing and playing competitive golf. I started out freshmen year with a serious approach for the game, but knew I needed the right mentors to take my game to that “next level”.
Fortunately, I was on a team with a great group of players and coaches you embodied Machiavellian principles that allowed my teammates and myself to excel in competition.
In his book The Prince, Machiavelli talks about how to acquire new states (new golf team members), how to deal with internal insurrection (conflicts on the golf team), and how to maintain a strong military (golf team members). My coach would be referenced as “the prince” and would try to make sure that his people (players) would respect him in all facets of coaching. He new that if his players did not feel he was providing them with the necessary knowledge to improve at golfing then he would be ousted or abdicated from his throne. Machiavelli believed that the best way to maintain power was to get the players on your side, and my coach felt the same way. He was always very willing to put aside time to help his players improve their weaknesses and become better thinkers during competitive rounds. He would often buy us golf equipment and apparel to show us that he truly cared about us. In addition, he would invite us out to play at his home course for free. He felt that if he provided us with the resources to excel that we would look favorably upon him and his decisions, which as a team we always did.
Not only did Machiavelli embrace the tactical strategy of providing for the people, he also advocated the use of cruelty as long as it did not compromise the long-term goodwill of the individuals. In a way my coach utilized this principle through extensive conditioning that tested body and mind, and gave us all a sense what it takes to be at the top.
My coach also thought that a number of our players had “prowess”, a term Machiavelli uses in regards to an individual’s talents. The four years that I was on my high school golf team we always had at least two players that demonstrated “prowess” regularly throughout the golf season, which was a true testament to the challenging regiments we as players had to endure.
When I finally played my last high school tournament, it was very sad to leave a program that influenced me a such a positive manner. I took away numerous valuable Machiavellian principles that I plan to utilize in a coaching position in the future.