Table of Contents

Mindfulness: A Secret Weapon on The Golf Course?

Golf is a game of inches and any extra edge we can gain can have a huge impact on our scores and overall enjoyment of the game. We always talk about the things we can do physically to gain the edge- but what about the mental side of the game? Today, we’re going to talk about an important piece of the mental game of golf: mindfulness.

What Is Mindfulness?

By definition, mindfulness is “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.” It is a cognitive skill and like your swing it can be improved with practice. 

The idea and practice of mindfulness is centuries old and has been used across many different cultures. There is much folk knowledge floating around about the topic and it isn’t always well understood by those who stand to benefit from it. While there are some who view it waste of time, even as nonsense, we now have the benefit of a large body of research on this topic to draw from. Studies show mindfulness practice to produce powerful and wide-ranging effects on the mind. Most importantly to us out on the course are increased focus, increased calmness and reduced stress and rumination (repetitive negative thinking). You don’t have to spend hours meditating in order to become mindful nor do you need to go take a silent retreat to reap the benefits. 

How Can It Help My Golf?

It is no secret that on the course we are often our own worst enemies. Thinking too much, ruminating on a bad shot, frustration and a loss of focus are common experiences for a golfer. We can benefit from practicing mindfulness on the course by allowing ourselves to focus on what we are doing right here right and now. This increases our focus and makes it easier to move on from missteps. Imagine if you weren’t thinking a million things when you stepped up to hit the ball or that you felt just as “with it” on hole 16 as hole 3. A lack of awareness of the present can lead us to poor decision making and self-imposed distraction that ultimately conflicts with our desire to perform well.

How Can I Put This To Work?

Here are a just few of the tools that we as golfers can use to stay in the moment on the course and play better with less effort- 

Breathe. One of the most tried-and-true methods to induce mindfulness is to focus on your breath. Focusing on your breath puts your mind on something that isn’t your thoughts and allows you to focus on the present moment. Counting your breaths and controlling your inhales and exhales can be helpful tools to help you accomplish this. When we focus on our breath, it frees up our body to do what it knows how to do without worry.

Focus on what you see in front of you. Another powerful tool to stay in the present moment is to focus on what you see in front of you rather than what you’re thinking. This is great for us because golf courses tend to be beautiful to look at and gives us plenty to enjoy. Putting your attention on what you see will have the effect of taking that awareness off of your conflicting thoughts and further free up space to do what you’ve practiced countless times.

Remove distractions. This goes along with focusing on what you’re doing. If you’re constantly checking your phone or thinking about what needs to be done at work you will be constantly switching tracks in your mind. The more times you do this the more you will use your mental energy elsewhere and begin to lose focus on the task at hand. By removing distractions on the course, we can use that mental energy on the game.

Staying mindful on the golf course is not always easy, but if it were, everyone would be doing it. Just as your strength and mobility improve with practice, so too does your ability to keep cool and stay in the moment. Mindfulness is no longer just for the yoga guru; it’s now being implemented by professional athletes and high performers in many disciplines to improve their performance and effectiveness. Mindfulness techniques have been used by the likes of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson to play their game at the highest level. Give it a try for yourself next time you’re out there- there may just be something to it!

Author-

Dillon Hines

Golf Performance Coach

Disclaimer: This blog content is for general educational information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. References available upon request.

Founder, CEO

Chris Finn

P4S Golf
“We Give Golfers A Clear Path To Longevity In Golf – Low Scores, More Distance And Less Pain.”

Hip / Knee / Foot Pain

Wrist / Shoulder / Elbow Pain

Neck Pain

Back Pain