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IMGCA Article - The Mental Game of Golf


Success in Golf and Meditation - The Same Skills?

Graham and Julie

When we say to people that you need the same skills to be a successful golfer as you do meditator it usually raises a huge laugh. Golf and meditation are miles apart. Some often suggest that in hitting the perfect Golf shot you need to be in a focussed meditative state, but that's as far as it gets.

What do you think?

I know. You think we're crazy. But let's look at the evidence. Let's just look at what's needed to be a successful meditator and you can decide whether the same skills and behaviour patterns are needed to be successful in golf.

Meditation, at least in our experience is very rewarding but extremely frustrating. We often feel that everything is great. Our concentration is high and we feel really peaceful and happy only to find the next day that we are back to square one and cannot focus at all. Our thoughts are all over the place.

During meditation we invest many hours thinking about our strengths and how we may improve.

We know that in order to be successful we must sit down and practice every day. In fact, at least twice a day. We know, to our cost, that we cannot afford to miss a practice session. After all the more you practice the less surprises you get.

The key to success is our thoughts. If we can get our thoughts right the rest will follow. If we can keep focussed on our strengths and positive thoughts then we can access our naturally peaceful and happy selves. To us negative thoughts are no more, no less than waste thoughts. They are a waste of our time and effort because they don't produce anything they just take away from us.

The feelings you get from meditation are so addictive that before you realise it meditation becomes the key to your life and you can't manage a day without it.

Food is so important to maintaining concentration. When we eat the correct food, food that is high in nutrients and vitamins we perform better.

At the same time we must ensure that we drink enough water because if we become dehydrated then our performance is impaired. In other words instead of meditating we fall asleep.

The correct amount of Rest and Sleep are important because if you skimp on either then you don't perform. You cannot concentrate. You cannot focus the mind. If your concentration is high then you reap the reward. If your concentration is low your mind wanders and sleep invades the space.

Meditation is a solo sport. Although, we can and do sometimes meditate with a group. Although we can sometimes feel we perform better when meditating with others. The bottom line is it is me and my connection, me and my thoughts. It is not a team game even though others appear to be doing the same thing.

But perhaps the most interesting of all is what makes us and other mediators keep returning time after time.


People who meditate love the challenge of calming their minds. We love the thought that it is possible to rid the mind of all the rubbish and concentrate on our strengths. We love doing things that test our skills. We love questioning our ability. Meditation like Golf is the ultimate challenge because it has not been beaten. There is no one who has completed the perfect round. Although we all strive to be perfect, we are involved in pursuing an activity where perfection is impossible. Therefore it is the ultimate Zeigarnik effect. The Zeigarnik effect: named after Bluma Zeigarnik, a Russian psychologist is the drive within us to complete tasks. That part of us that cannot stand the fact that something is incomplete. Hasn't been finished.

Both meditation and Golf are tasks that are, by their very nature, incomplete tasks. They cannot be completed. There is no perfect round. No one alive has reached that perfect state of being. Thus people who follow Golf and meditation are drawn by the fact that it cannot be completed. If it was possible to complete then we would leave them and try something new.

Therefore we are addicted to meditation because we are addicted to completion. The fact that we always leave our meditation without reaching that perfect state of love, peace and happiness makes us return to try again. To move towards "completion".

Is it the same for Golf? Are you addicted to that perfect round? Do you constantly return to the course to improve your handicap. Are you in search of the "completion".

We have many friends who have retired to perfect their golf. Many of them now see their job as playing golf. Everything else is secondary.

They like us want to learn. We all want to complete the task. We want to be able to say we have completed the ultimate challenge.

Good Luck

Graham and Julie

Copyright © Graham and Julie -

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