Good golfers are always ‘in’ the game, especially before each and every shot.
While to the onlookers, this may seem effortless, but there is so much going on in the mind of a golfer.
This reminds of a scene in The Legend of Bagger Vance, where Bobby Jones steps up to the ball to tee off. Will Smith tells Matt Damon to look at Jones’ eyes, and tells him to observe how he looks at the field. He concentrates, takes his position, takes his practice swings, his mind and body in rhythm. The result is nearly perfect as a drive should be.
This point of view may be far-fetched and some may even object to it, but many will find some truth in the statement – Golf is a Zen experience. This is true for all golfers who are good at it, no matter how much they joke around and be goofing off.
Zen is exactly this – being present physically and mentally in each and every moment at all times. As some people call this living life to its fullest, but this feeling is different. Zen is experiencing energy in every moment of life. It’s a feeling of living life to the fullest and appreciating every moment for what is given.
So can we then call Golf, a Zen Experience?
Zen coincides with Golf in all aspects of the game. When the heart and soul is in the moment, a golfer takes notice of everything around themselves. The player feels the breeze, recognizing its force and direction, but effortlessly. Then they notice the feel of the grass as they walk down the fairway, but they are still not under pressure to be thinking about their shot.
The player will then note the distance to the green, the weather conditions and select appropriate club.
The player will focus on only one thing that the next shot and nothing else, but again without the pressure of thinking about it.
The pressure to perform makes the player tense and this spoils the shot. On the other hand a Zen golfer would be calm and would trust his or her body. Once the mind and body are in sync, and then make the shot.
He is aware that his shot may not be perfect always, as the golfer would have intended. The difference would be in the attitude. For a Zen golfer, a bad or imperfect shot will not affect him at all and he would get ready for the next. But this will definitely adversely affect others, who stress over every shot.
Non-Zen golfer would get bogged down and keep thinking and cursing. These negative thoughts would affect his entire body language and will feel defeated even before the result. Since the body and mind are not in harmony, the entire game after the bad shot will get affected; this would be followed by another bad shot. Any good shot will be looked upon as an accident, luck or a fluke.