Spiritual Golf

Golf is certainly a sport requiring physical skills. Mental toughness is important too. But sometimes we don’t realize that golf is also very much a spiritual game, with good players showing a sense of contentment.

When we play we commune with nature, touching a primal need. Think about it. Unlike other sports, we generally play golf in fantastic surroundings. Compare the beauty and complexities of a golf course with the dull and monotonous settings for other sports. Sure there can be some variety, but basically all tennis courts and all gymnasiums are the same. We play our sport in a vast array of unique habitats – seacoasts, woodlands, prairies, mountains, lowlands, etc. In addition, each course changes each time we play it. You can continually play one course (although the GG Guru urges you to get out there and sample many) and never get bored. Your course becomes a very different challenge each time due to changing weather conditions in different seasons, and also becomes more interesting from day to day as a result of more subtle changes in the local flora and fauna.

So take some time to appreciate the setting for our game. Smell the grass, feel the breezes, admire the wildlife and be thankful that you can enjoy all of this. For the GG Guru, stepping onto the course is truly a spiritual experience.

But why should this matter? Well, when we feel happy and fulfilled, guess what, not only do we increase our enjoyment of our round of golf, but we invariably play better as we relax and feel contented. So develop your spiritual side in order to open up more opportunities on the course.

What is spiritual for you? Maybe you want something exotic? We’ve all heard about the Zen masters of golf. You know, those teachers who urge you to become “one with the ball”. Maybe that rings a bell with you. Seems a bit over the top for me, but what do I know?

The Zen masters do give some very sound advice, however, in urging that you stay in the moment when you play golf. They have put their finger on a crucial key for golfing success – concentrate on and enjoy each shot. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Not only does thinking ahead spoil necessary mental preparations for playing each shot well, but as we all know, thinking ahead tempts fate. The golf gods invariably punish us for this. Exactly like those tragic Greek heroes we read about in school. Hubris on the course is a killer. How many times have you thought, or heaven forbid actually said out loud to your partner, something like “That sure looks likes an easy birdie putt”, or “Hmm, I haven’t lost a ball yet today” or “If I can only just bogey these last three holes, I’ll break 90” – only to have everything come crashing down. A GG Guru Golden Rule: Be humble out there and whatever you do don’t tempt fate!

And whether it is spiritual or not, give a thought to golf superstitions. The stories are legend about the pros who won’t use Nr. 3 golf balls for fear of 3 putts, or those who will only use lucky ball markers, or those who will only use one color of tee and so forth. Absolute rubbish? Well the GG Guru says no. Anything, well anything within reason, that makes you comfortable on the course is going to help the bottom line of your score. And who knows, the golfing gods just might reward you for any sacrifices you offer for success.

Remember golf is much more than a game requiring only physical talent – mental preparation and spiritual appreciation are also crucial for success.

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Jack Simpson September 18, 2010

Great post. Golf is also like no other sport in the fact that we have the luxury to spend so much time over it. This in itself allows us time to get into The Zone or Zen state of mind. I’m reading a really interesting book called Golf Sense by Roy Palmer at the moment and he’s got some great techniques to help us get into the right state of mind to really appreciate the moment. Also really helping my game!

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