Mindful Golf

divot magazine cover

Of all the hazards, fear is the worst! My favorite quote from one of the greatest golfers of all time, Sam Snead.  Fear is what gets in the way of many of us moving forward and pushing through to be the best we can in golf and life.  We see it countless times when we step on the course.  Fear of hitting a bad shot, a high score, losing a tournament, hitting into the water and the list goes on.  Fear drives most of our decisions and puts a tremendous amount of doubt in our minds.  The problem with fear is it is in the future not the present moment. The what if not the what now? Golf is one of those sports where It is easy to slip into the mindset of what’s not happening and forget about the power of what is happening.

Mindfulness is truly a buzz word today.  But what does it really mean? Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.

What on earth does this have to do with golf?  Part of the Yoga Fit FORE Golf program is teaching my students the power of mindfulness on and off the golf course.  It is easy to ignore what is happening in our bodies but really easy to get attached to the thoughts and emotions in our minds.  Part of mindfulness, in golf, is that when we start to tune into our thoughts we will recognize patterns.  These patterns are so engrained that they become automatic and habitual in a sense.  Therefore, the same challenges continue to show up round after round.  We never get better and we continue down the same path of woulda, shoulda, coulda not the right now!

When the wheels start to fall off, which they will, how do we put them back on?  How do we let go of what we think should happen and tap into what is happening?  We tap into the brain, the power of mindfulness.  It is not about turning the mind OFF it is about tuning into what is happening with no judgement, no doubts, or fears of what is “right” or “wrong”.  It is about complete acceptance in the moment. The shot that is being produced not the results. When we take our mind into the future we lose track of commitment to the present swing or shot type.

Yoga Fit FORE Golf is a program designed to help you access the power of mindfulness and learn to focus more on one thought, one swing and one shot at a time.  It is a three-part program.  Pre-game, on-course and post-game. The mindfulness part is done on course.  A series of activities designed to assist you in discovering what works for you, your swing and ultimately taking your game to the next level.