Do you think meditating to improve your golf game is a little too “out there” for you? Don’t tell that to top-ranked Australian golfer, Jason Day, or 14-time major winner and multiple record-holder Tiger Woods. Both of these massively successful pros are known to engage in dedicated meditation practices and focusing exercises. And both golfers have enjoyed the realization of their visualizations of triumph.
Maybe you lead a busy life, or you are constantly scatter-brained. Or maybe you simply have lots of distractions that enter your mind and keep you from being completely present in your golf game. If that’s the case, then you’re not playing as well as you could be. Even with the exact same technique or skill set as you have now, research shows that practicing mindfulness and meditation can help improve your performance in golf, as well as in lots of other sports and even your general life.
1. Focus is everything
You’ve heard the cliché saying that success in sports is 10 percent physical and 90 percent mental, right? Far be it from us to assign an actual percentage to the mind versus matter debate, but the message here rings true. All sorts of major athletes, from Kobe Bryant to Derek Jeter, claim they owe some of their success to meditation. This is because it helps them focus every part of their brain on what they need to do to succeed.
2. Meditation helps you control your swing thoughts
If you read our November piece on “Why Too Many Swing Thoughts Can Ruin Your Game” then you understand the value of clearing your mind, apart from a few careful, pointed mantras. Spend your energy thinking about the things that can help you and nothing else.
3. Meditation calms fear and jitters
Are you teeing up for a shot that you clunked last time and landed in the water? Are you playing with your boss or an important client? Do you need a birdie on a particular hole or you’ll lose a major bet? All these conditions (and others, of course) can cause performance anxiety that can easily hijack your game performance. The good news is, meditation has been shown to help reduce anxiety and the effects of fear. No more self-sabotage!
4. Meditation keeps you strong and healthy
Did you know meditation has been shown to lower blood pressure and strengthen your immune system? No, it’s not a magic pill or a bottle of snake oil. Meditation is an ancient practice that is finally being proven by science. The healthier you are, the stronger and longer you can play.
5. Meditation helps you rise above aches and pains
The aches and pains of injuries, or even just pure fatigue on the back nine holes, can easily distract even great players from doing their best. As long as you’re following a good golf-centric fitness routine and making sure to allow for muscle recovery in between games, then a logical next step is to look to the natural pain healing properties that have been proven to be a result of regular meditation.
6. Meditation keeps your mind from wandering
Want to be able to focus on what matters, and keep your mind from wandering off and spending energy on distractions? Yep, meditation can help you with that.
7. Meditation helps with controlling emotions
We already covered fear and anxiety. But what about that red hot anger that can arise when you chunk the ball on an important shot? You don’t want your emotions to shoot up and then plummet based on your performance every hole. The best players tend to keep themselves calm and collected on the course. Meditation helps you regulate your feelings from within and be less dependent on outside factors.
8. Meditation helps improve memory
Say you play a round on a new course and forget everything you learned about it by the next time you play it again. Or, you have a lesson with a pro and then forget everything you practiced. No more! According to a study published in Physiological Science, meditation can help your retain information and can improve your overall memory.
— C. Pedroja