Golf, A Zen Experience?
December 5th, 2016
Good golfers center themselves before each and every shot. While it may look effortless, there is a great deal going on. Remember the scene in "The Legend of Bagger Vance" where Bobby Jones steps up to the ball preparing to tee off. Will Smith tells Matt Damon to watch Jones's eyes, and how he sees the field. The eyes go soft as Jones takes his practice swings, getting his mind and body in tune with one another. His drive is as nearly perfect as a drive can be.
It may seem a bit farfetched, and some will object to the statement, for many will recognize the truth of this statement - Golf is a Zen experience. This is especially for the better golfers, no matter how they may joke around and seem to be goofing off.
This is what Zen is being completely and totally in each and every moment at all times. Some people call it living life to its fullest, but that is something entirely different. Zen is more like experiencing every moment of life to its fullest and appreciating the moments for what they are.
Golf and Zen coincide on all aspects of the game. By being in the moment a golfer takes notice of everything around himself or herself. He or she notes the feel of the breeze as it is blowing across the course, recognizing its force and direction, but not actively thinking about it. He or she also notices the feel of the grass as they walk down the fairway, but he or she is not thinking about the next shot, not yet. Thinking about the shot will occur when the player gets to the ball.
At this time the player will note the distance from where he or she is to the green, the weather conditions and select a club. Avoiding distractions, the player will focus on how to make the next shot, again, though, without really thinking about it. Too much thought fouls up the mental processes causing the player to get tense and screw up the shot. Instead, the Zen golfer will trust his or her body, knowing the body and mind are in tune with one another and make the shot. For the record, no every shot will not be perfect going exactly where and how far the golfer intended. But, the major difference is the golfer familiar with, and practicing Zen, will not be adversely affected by a miss hit shot, whereas a golfer who stresses over every shot will.
The non-Zen golfer will get down on himself or herself, thinking how he or she is a lousy golfer and shouldn't be on the course at all. The negative thoughts will be invasive throughout this player's entire body as the body and mind are at odds with one another instead of being in a state of harmony. So, the end result is one bad shot is followed by another, and a good shot is looked upon as an accident, luck or a fluke