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Henni & Hally Can't Quit Golf

Asha Rangappa, a former FBI agent, explains the key similarities between hitting a golf shot and shooting a gun


Adam Glanzman

It’s easy to consider breathing, meditation, and relaxation as techniques that can help golfers execute shots on the course. But according to Asha Rangappa, this week’s guest on Henni & Hally Can’t Quit Golf, these exercises are also beneficial when shooting at a real target with a real gun.

Rangappa does it all: she’s a lawyer, CNN analyst, and senior lecturer at Yale University’s Jackson Institute. But perhaps her coolest career moment was her five-year stretch as an FBI counterintelligence agent. On top of her impressive resume, Rangappa managed to pick up golf along the way thanks to a Connecticut Bar Association women’s golf clinic that first sparked her interest in the game.

Rangappa’s passion for golf has led her to find parallels between her FBI background and the game we all love, and it all starts with mental fortitude. When learning how to shoot a gun in Quantico, Va., at the FBI Academy, the technique was strikingly similar to the way we prepare to hit a golf shot.

“You have to focus on the front sight of the weapon, not on the target. It’s kind of counterintuitive in that way. And you also have to be very gentle. They call it ‘pressing’ the trigger. In other words, if you try to ‘pull,’ it everything is going to be off,” Rangappa said of her training. “It’s almost like when you’re swinging the club, you have to let it happen. There’s a zen quality—at some point you have to let go of the outcome and trust that if you do the mechanics and don’t try to control [everything] and get all uptight about it, you’re going to actually be more accurate.”

According to Rangappa, there’s a mental detachment that’s involved in shooting a weapon, just like there is when you hit a great shot on the golf course. Muscle memory and self-confidence guide you to success.

In addition to Rangappa’s FBI training, hosts Henni Koyack and Hally Leadbetter chat with her about the addictive qualities of golf, her ability to balance many career responsibilities, and the desperate need for modern women’s golf apparel.