Your mental game is what drives your success. World’s top golfers are increasingly shifting to meditation to keep themselves and their game inspired.
Bobby Jones famously put that the game of golf is played on a course between your two ears i.e the mind. While everyone’s able to hone their swing skills by the world’s top golf coaches, it’s the mental game that differentiating the leaders from the rest.
India’s own Anirban Lahiri recently ended a brilliant run at the British Open at 31 after a stunning hole in one. This was a dream finish for a first timer who was playing in full view of the world and its top golfers from Tiger to Rory. Anirban dedicates his leapfrog improvement over the last few years to meditation. “I have rediscovered my game in 2012. I was able to get some meditation time every day and that helped me set up for the game. You can ahead of yourself sometimes looking at all those brilliant players out there. I tried to keep myself in the moment and not get distracted. The kind of rewards and mental peace I gained from it have been amazing. So last year when my game dipped, I went back to meditation and I was able to return to this form.” Lahiri went to a camp to spend ten days in solitude and be with himself before getting back to the game’s big season.
Meditation is the ability to quiet the mind to the point of not thinking. Bubba Watson’s massive victory at the Augusta Masters this year has highlighted how he has been working on his mental golf and managed to keep sport on the course despite some emotional moments in his personal life.India’s highest ranked golfer Jeev Milkha Singh believes in yoga and in many interviews to me has credited fairway peace to his routine. “This game is out there to get you down, so you have to think positive and get yourself up,” says Jeev.
Shiv Kapur, another of India’s golfing gems, who has been awaiting a new big win, attended classes on meditation near Pune where he learned to meditate in complete darkness but with his eyes wide open, walked around with his eyes shut and practiced breathing exercises. Shiv has been quoted saying, “The whole concept of doing that (meditation) was to get out of my own way and let things happen rather than forcing them to happen.”
Here’s a look at how any form of meditation can change your game of golf:
- One, know that the point you are actually playing the course, a lot of the result depends on what happens in your head. Simply put, the state of your mind will be the state of your game. The mind is the one element in golf that most influences the performance of the game.
- Two, during meditation we invest many hours thinking about our strengths and how we may improve. Self-talk is a great tool to boost positive energies.
- Three, like golf in meditation too you compete and collaborate with yourself to find an inner equilibrium for your game.
- Four, meditation can improve a golfer’s concentration and joy, guiding them into the zone of optimum performance.
- Five, there is no fixed formula. Your golf swing is a function of your body, your comfort and is unique to you. It’s quite so for meditation. You can meditate in what you believe. For some it’s chanting a mantra, for others it’s long deep breaths, or just yoga.
For a game squarely determined by focus and strategy, meditation has become a tool for the mind. Meditation is the new coach. There are far too many great golfers out there. So it’s not their individual skill that’s the key factor. The game changer is the one who manages to combine talent with toughness, mental calm with the cutting edge and play a game with focus.