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Can Golf be a Mindfulness practice?

Recently we traveled to Lake Tahoe where my In-Laws have a fractional share on a Golf Course. I have slowly been picking up golf over the past two years and am finally able to get the ball up and down fairly decent. Sometimes good...often meh. I am in my scramble partner phase because I can hit the driver decently. However, I have to play my own ball in order to get a Handicap so I can play. I am still learning the system and Golf Culture.

This could very well be my confirmation bias coming into play but over the course of my few lessons and the people I have played with...I realized that golf is the perfect place to practice Mindfulness. Truly any sport is but right now we are focusing on golf. Picking up golf has actually given me a great way to connect with certain groups of people in the workplace. I sneak in these elements of mindfulness that I am about to share.

MINDFULNESS: The act of paying attention on purpose, and without judgement.

Now that we have recapped what Mindfulness actually is, let's dive into what it has to do with golf. Golf, like other sports requires you to reset again and again. It requires you to PAY ATTENTION on PURPOSE. To visualize where you want the ball to go. Golf also requires you to be aware of your body. How is your body posture, hand position, weight distribution, feet position on the ground, relax the shoulders, stay loose.

Paying attention to all of these things on purpose is a mindfulness practice. Golf has you be fully present in the moment. Not to mention the courses are usually in some beautiful areas and you get to be outside in nature. Nature and sunshine are all things that help boost your serotonin. Sometimes if you are extra [un]lucky you get to spend lots of time actually in the woods...searching for balls!

Each time you set up your stance you are supposed to relax the shoulders, relax the hands, stay loose. This got me to think that there is almost NOTHING that if you are good and tense then you perform better. Yet, throughout our work day we tend to tense up. The shoulders start to work their way up to our ears, our glutes tighten, our jaws clench and then we get to the end of the day and wonder why we feel so sore.

Also, just like in golf you are supposed to let go of the bad shots. Each time is a new opportunity to get it right. You are not supposed to hold onto the bad shots and let it ruin the rest of your game. If you hit a bad drive off the tee on hole 1, do you give up or let it ruin the rest of the 17 holes that you get to play? No. Well, maybe. Its a practice to NOT let if get you down for the rest of the 4+hrs you will be playing.

Can we take that same practice and apply it to our daily lives and the workplace?

Especially in Youth Sports...when a child misses or takes a bad shot we tell them to "Let it Go" or " That's ok, you'll get the next one".

Can we give ourselves the same grace? After all, golf is supposed to be fun right? It's an expensive sport/hobby so you might as well enjoy it and let yourself be present. Personally, I notice when I start getting worked up because I am putting too much pressure on myself I start playing terrible. It's because I stop paying attention to my body and I don't slow down.

If I get off my game I have to take a step back, take a few breaths and literally say to myself "Slow it down & Let it be easy".I give myself the time to get set up properly. Golf is hard enough as is, but if we can approach it with an active mindfulness practice we can remember we are there to have fun and be present.

If none of those tips help then there is always the liquid fuel that comes around on the carts...hahah only kidding. Sort of.

Stay Mindful,


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