Give the inner golfer a big hug!
Peter Kostis, a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher and CBS Sports Analyst, nailed the concept of unleash the artist within in a May 2015 Golf Magazine article, “Embrace the Golfer Within.” Today, since the majority of golf instruction has become technology and technical skills driven, it feels like instructors may have left the human being behind. Perhaps it is time to re-focus on the person swinging the golf club, as Tommy Armour, Tim Gallwey, Bob Toski, Bob Rotella and Fred Shoemaker have helped this student of the game begin to understand and experience.
As a Naropa University trained meditation practitioner, coupled with learning to play the piano and having studied in India with a Tibetan Buddhist thangka painter, it has become quite clear that each of us have an inner artist that is waiting to be unleashed to use a golf club to hit a golf ball to an emotionally embraced target. We just need to have an inner experience of the shot and then trust the inner golfer to deliver the shot.
How does one uncover the artist? As with club and body mechanics skills, our mental skills need training and practice, too. As a golfer, my experience has been that during set-up, learning to go to the breath, deliberately quieting the mind and “connecting” with a target is of exceptional value to a decent golf shot. “Connecting,” at will, in the moment, with a golf target, a loved one, or Beethoven’s spirit when he composed Fur Elise, can become a priceless treasure and skill.
As my golf learning has evolved, about 80-90% of a successful round of golf today requires good mental skills, coupled with absolute trust of the subconscious to deliver the necessary club and body mechanics. Add to this equation a well-fitted golf club, a golfer is now ready to unleash the artist to create a golf shot that hits through a golf ball to a passionately visualized target. Embracing these skills and talents demands learning, reflecting, practice and play, one step at a time.
With respect to mental skills, a first-step suggestion is to search for and uncover a meditation coach and skill that works for you and helps quiet your mind. If your mind is anything like mine, it is very busy and takes daily practice to be able to deliberately quiet its constant chatter. A second idea is to have a good golf coach, as opposed to a teacher. A teacher desires to have golfers learn the teacher’s system their way. A coach helps the student uncover a vision for their game and then helps the student move from current reality toward the student’s vision. As Peter Kostis remarks, “Don’t fear being the best golfer that you can be…embrace your authentic swing. With time and work, the rest will fall in place.”