Updated: Apr 29
Recently I began to learn the sport of golf. Some people who know me will read this blog with a grin and an element of surprise. Whether you are old or young, man or woman, like me, golf might surprise you.
I have been an active sporting person all my life, and I humbly admit with a little hesitation that at one time, I did not see golf as a sport at all. I once saw golf as a form of mindless suffering that people inflicted on themselves. Where it seemed people chased a tiny white ball a long way. Then, attempted to hit it with what also appeared to be an impossibly small weapon of choice, the golf club.
Surely, I am not the only person who thought this of the game of golf? Whether you are a player of golf or not, stick with me because you might be surprised what I have learned about the link between mindfulness and golf, the sport I now call, 'the sport of surrendering to the moments'.
As a mindfulness coach and a person who strives for life long learning, I relished the opportunity at age forty-nine to learn how to play golf. What I discovered was both a pleasant surprise and a delightful opportunity to practice growth in a whole new way personally.
Over the years, I have talked to many golfing friends about golf, and I have gained some interesting insights into the game. As a Mindfulness Coach, I have now most definitely changed my perspective and have a newfound respect for the game of golf.
The descriptions of both the benefits of golf and the suffering endured were as diverse as you could get. Over the years, some have described the sport to me as a distraction from the world itself at one end of the scale. Then at the other end, they described it as a form of addictive suffering, that they question every time they step off the course. This sounds painful right! The descriptions didn't exactly give me the motivation to have a go, as the Australian way would suggest.
However, I am certainly glad I did decide to give it a go recently. And when I say give it a go, I don't mean at all by halves. It literally seemed like one minute I was hitting a few balls in the front paddock of a friends property, and in the next moment, I was making my way around a golf course in a beautiful mountainous area of regional Victoria.
So you might be asking, what is the big deal about learning golf at an age that seems likely a good time to try? Well, my friend who so kindly began to teach me. shared a pearl of wisdom, that almost instantly piqued my interest. He said that for most men who played golf, it is quite likely the only time in their life that they aren't angry. Wow! this was quite an insight to learn about men over 45, playing a sport I hadn't even considered a sport at all. I needed to know more.
As I began to learn to develop a swing, as they call it in the golfing world. I discovered something quite magical. That to play golf, one must surrender completely, and be fully present in the moment. I had absolutely no idea that by playing the game I once called a form of suffering, I would discover that it is actually an incredible tool of mindfulness. When the penny dropped it blew my mind. I had always found sport easy to master no matter what I played. However, golf was different. I had to be present, relaxed and trust my swing implicitly. It was a revelation to discover that the yogic philosophy of sitting with your suffering until it becomes your blessing is also relevant to the game of golf.
Apparently, I have quite a swing in golfing terms, and my training in surrender through my yogic practices has served me well to help develop my stroke quickly. Today, I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of the continual mastery of the game of golf. You see, as I said, the mastery of golf is ongoing, in the presence in the moments, one swing at a time forever. How beautiful is that? A game that promotes presence consistently, that you can learn at any age.
So if you are a golfer, swing on I say and enjoy every moment of the challenging game of golf. If you are not yet a golfer, I suggest you give it a go! Golf could be your Yoga, and it will teach you patience, acceptance, surrender, focus, and relaxation, all packed into one beautiful sport enjoyed with some of your favourite people.
Beware though, that the conditioned mind of the competitor, the beast, and the judger will hamper your progress. Golf is mastered not in the physical world of strength, but within the beautiful world of presence. You will need to tame the mind and surrender to the faith that your swing will return to that elusive white ball that sits so patiently waiting still, on the ground, for you to send it on its way forth.
Would like to know more about how mindfulness can improve your golf game?
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Your Yoga could very well be golf, and you just didn't know it!