Golf & Mindfulness

By Thursday, September 11, 2014 0 No tags Permalink 0

I was a frustrated golfer that somehow, despite more technique, practice & play, reached a half-decent handicap and plateaued. No matter what I did, I hovered around that score which on a good day made me smile, and on a bad one drove me to despair, and  to questioning the point of spending all this money.

Then, almost by accident, I discovered a book by Deepak Chopra, a keen golfer in his own right, through which I realised that what I was doing wrong was not my technique, but in my head. In Chopra’s book Golf for Enlightenment he talks about the mental aspects of the game, touching on maxims such as ‘be one with the ball’ and ‘play from the heart’. Whilst I found enlightening, were rather difficult to grasp.

So I decided to delve a little deeper and see where the idea that mind vs body would take me. This path led to mindfulness practice; the ability to focus all your thoughts and efforts on here and now, while standing in front of that little white ball. After a few focussed sessions, my handicap plummeted.

Whilst the cliche about the game of golf is that it is ‘all in the mind’, very few people understand the impact of mental clarity on the game. Those that have thought about it often don’t know what to do about it. Instead, we spend a fortune on lessons, the latest driver that you can adapt to your poor hook, video analysis and even physical fitness & stretching techniques. Whilst all these things are important, they are no more important simply because you can ‘touch’ them.

Enter mindfulness; I describe this as the ability to hit a great shot, right after having hit a terrible one, by learning how to press the ‘reset’ button in our minds and refocus on the here and now each and every time. I consciously added this technique to my toolbox alongside working on my swing, physical ability, and passion and the game I love, and it really began to become enjoyable again. Once mindful, then all the other taught aspects of the game, from your stance to your follow through, came together like a dream. What’s more, a clear mind helped my strategic game, my sense of observation, distance calculation and club selection.

To me, if there was one thing that made the biggest difference to my game, it was mindfulness practice. I wish I had discovered it before spending a fortune on a new set of clubs!

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