Mindful Golfing – How To Stay In The Moment
In golf, there’s a saying that the game should be played one shot at a time. As every golfer knows, it’s easy to get ahead of yourself; thinking about the next hole before you’ve finished the one you’re on. Whilst we can’t always avoid this, there are some ways to bring your focus back to the moment - a concept I like to call mindful golfing.
Here are some strategies to help you stay present on the course.
#1. Take Two!
Carry an extra scorecard next time you play, either alone or with friends. After each shot, ask yourself the following questions and write the answer down.
Did I follow my routine? Did I think about anything else during the shot?
Doing this will help train your brain to stay in the moment and keep your mind on answering the questions positively. You’ll become more attentive to your routine and actively work towards blocking any stray or unwanted thoughts. It might not happen on the first round but, in time, you’ll start to see a remarkable mental difference. This exercise is used by PGA players to help them practice laser sharp focus because keeping your mind clear is a very important part of your game
#2. Focus On Process
Instead of focusing on the outcome (eg, where the ball will land or what score you’ll get) try to get into the habit of focusing on how you will achieve the outcome. What processes you can use to reach your desired outcome.
Think about your shot, your mechanics, your stance etc and see how much your game improves. This is another great way to stay in the moment and play mindful golf.
#3. Free Your Mind
Give yourself permission to think about upcoming shots sometimes. Before the round or at the conclusion of the hole it’s perfectly fine to allow your mind to wander. Unless you’re a buddhist monk, staying present in every single moment is virtually impossible… and that’s ok.
Make the decision to think about, plan and consider your shot BEFORE you step up to the hole. But as soon as you step up to play, eliminate all other thoughts and be fully present on the task at hand. Your swing. Doing this will stop you thinking about the shot that comes after the one you’re about to take.
#4. Consider A Mantra
Originally in Hinduism and Buddhism, a mantra is word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation. Regardless if you’re into meditation or not, you can use this principle to stay in the moment and improve your golf game. Using a focus reminder word such as “here”, “now” or “ball” can strengthen your refocusing muscle when you find your mind drifting. Using this reminder regularly will stop you getting ahead of yourself and thinking about the next shot.
Why not give it a try next time you’re playing? Choose a word that feels right for you and repeat it silently in your mind to keep your focus on the moment.
The most important takeaway here is that mindful golf is not just about a single shot. It’s a mindset. Every game should be played one shot at a time and adopting these strategies will help you cultivate a lifelong practice of improved focus on the present moment.