- By Lieutenant Colonel Imtiaz Mahmud, BSP, afwc, psc
Golf is probably the most passionate game in the present world making a place in the minds of sports-loving Bangladeshi people. Golf is a game of skill and mental strength, where keen focus and execution of perfect planning with fine skill and technique is an enduring part. As the game demands patience and endurance, having calmness of mind is paramount important to achieve the desired result. As such, many famous golfers use meditation techniques to improve their performance. Probably we all know what meditation is. Meditation is an age-old traditional practice that involves the technique to focus on particular thought or activity and purposefully bring attention to the present moment. The benefit of meditation is numerous. Almost all successful people of every sector practice meditation for self-development. As a result, individuals may bring attention and awareness, thus becoming more stable and calm. This benefit may be used in sports; particularly in golf which involves not only the body of the golfer btu also engage the mental part of it. Altogether meditation may prove to be helpful to improve the game.
Meditation techniques may bring a huge difference in your game. John Jyotish Novak mentions in his famous book on meditation that the most profound perceptions about the nature of reality come through intuition rather than logic, from the super conscious rather than the conscious mind. When the body is completely relaxed, the five senses are internalized, and the mind totally focused, a tremendous flow of energy becomes available (How to Meditate by John Jyotish Novak, 1989). It may become the gamechanger for the armature golfers and some cases for the pro golfers to develop their strategy.
Meditation is the scientific process to make the body relaxed and use the immense power of the brain. Normally the process makes the mind stress-free, reduces anxiety, and thus increases the mental strength of the golfer. Just imagine when after a couple of consecutive birdies or par score, suddenly you hit an out of bounds (OB) or water hazard in successive shots. The sudden blow normally creates panic and stress in the mind of the golfer. Consequently, often the golfers take the wrong decision and make the situation worse. Thus, in the present world, many golfers use meditation as a primary tool to improve their game by controlling their mind and emotions.
Each shot of golf demands a deep focus of the golfer. The golfer needs to have a clear picture in his mind about what he wants to execute. Here the states of golfers’ minds play a vital role. It has been learnt from research that golfers practicing regular meditation could improve their game faster. According to golf coach David Mackenzie, a quieter mind means you are more focused during your shot routine. Being aware of your thoughts and emotion in between shots but not judging and reacting to them, can change your mood and confidence. Thus, ensuring clearer thinking about the right shot to play.
Calmness of mind is another aspect of attaining good results. Golfers need to choose their shots meticulously considering many factors like distance, wind, ground condition, etc. which certainly needs a speedy assessment of all the factors and take the right decision. Thereafter they execute the shot as per the result of the quick assessment considering all the factors including the speed of the club head and keeping the concentration till the end of the swing.
The most important question is how to do meditation which will improve the game. Actually, regular meditation can create a huge impact in this regard. However, few of the techniques may play a significant role in developing the game. During play, golfers are prone to committing mistakes in taking decisions about clubs and the variation of swing. Normally we try to avoid as many mistakes in those regards as possible. Research carried out in the USA proved that 20 minutes of regular meditation improves focus and, crucially, a better ability to recognize a mistake when golfers did make them, and learn from them, which in turn helps prevent the same mistakes next time around (Luke Kerr- Dineen, November 2019). 20 minutes of regular meditation at own time can be done with remarkable improvement in the scorecard.
Before the game, meditation is important for the golfers. It should be a routine preparation prior to the game. A short meditation before the game will assist us in identifying inner peace. Certainly, it will help us to fight the stressful course and create the best opportunity to recover after a bad shot. After the warm-up session, we may spend 10 minutes on mental preparation. We need to sit in a comparatively less crowded place for about 8-10 minutes. The process will start with a few abdominal breaths. Later, we need to give full concentration on the present moment which can be referred to as mindfulness. Thereafter, we need to close our eyes and think about the best shot we want to play. We may give some autosuggestion like, ‘even if I have a bad shot still it’s possible to recover and score as per my expectation. Each shot I take in the course will be wall planned and I will execute it as per my expectation. Finally, I will enjoy my time in the course with successes.’
Inside the course, a short meditation before a shot or at any stressful point may bring good results. Every golfer experiences stressful moments on the course. It’s totally natural and there is nothing to get worried about it. Now we cannot stop it. A bad shot may happen; a slice or unexpected draw may take the ball in a hazard. Sometimes we may have a difficult partner and experience some annoying moments which may raise blood pressure. Now the question is how best we can recover from there. We may use a quick technique to reduce stress and anxiety instantly. To do that, first make arrangements to disengage from the situation and try to close your eyes and take few deep breaths. Hold every breath for 5 seconds. Bring focus on your game. Instantly give autosuggestion that – you will recover from the present situation by your natural game. This will help us to lower the pressure and bring focus on to the next shot.
To improve our game, we spend a lot of time in the driving range and gym. Undoubtedly to attaining the right technique and achieve body fitness it is necessary. Beside that learning the mind game is also essential. Mediation is an age-old proven practice to develop concentration; remain focused and calm, in the process reducing anxiety. Regular practice of meditation will increase the mental strength of the golfer, it will allow the golfer to remain cool and composed even in odd situations. He will remain alert in his game. All those will have positive impact on scorecards and will make you the golfer you want to be.
-The author is member of Kurmitola Golf Club and Army Golf Club