How are the body & mind connected in golf?

As our golf game evolves, literature suggests that 80-90% of on-the-course performance becomes mental because of the continuous flux of external conditions. Learning and practicing a meditation skill can enable the golfer to be in chaos and yet deliberately calm the mind and trust the club and body mechanic skills to unleash the artist within to deliver a shot to a visualized target. As Tim Gallwey offers in The Inner Game of Golf, “I am convinced that the happiest and best golfers are those who have realized that there is no single gimmick that works and that good golf is attained only by patience and humility and by continually practicing both Outer and Inner skills.”
Having experienced that awareness and simplicity are my best coach and caddie, the inner and outer seeds that bear fruit and are deserving of continued nurture are daily meditation practice and practice of set-up and one-piece take-away. As golf technical literature offers, 80-90% of a decent golf swing requires good set-up and one-piece take-away.
A checklist you can find on the steering wheel of my golf cart:
SET-UP [GASP: grip, aim, stance and posture]
-Flat back
-Stable base
-Free arm swing
-Stable right side
CONNECT body, club, ball and target
• Through the breath, quiet the mind
• One pointed focus
• Trust the subconscious
• Release sensed tension
• Pull trigger to unleash artist to create desired shot
-Left shoulder active: push with shoulder
-Hips still at start
-Hands in front of toes
TURN AND LOAD: finish backswing, there is no hurry; length of arc is key
-Left arm straight; width of arc is key
-Right leg stable-flexed while turning lower body; full shoulder turn and shoulder tilt
-Stop: left shoulder under chin
TRANSITION: activate with right foot, knee and hip
ATTACK [Caution: stress potential]
-With the club through the ball to the target
As the mind goes, the body goes; as the body goes, the mind goes. As Joseph Goldstein & Jack Kornfield offer in Seeking the Heart of Wisdom, meditation is a journey of understanding our bodies, our minds and our lives, of seeing clearly the true nature of experience. Consequently, through meditation and by giving full attention to one thing at a time, we can learn to deliberately direct attention where we choose. As a golfer, the experience has been that as set-up nears completion, focus on the breath allows the mind to become quiet, the body to become relaxed and a balanced body-mind is enabled to connect with the visualized target. All that remains is to pull the trigger and trust the human system to perform as it has been mentally and mechanically prepared. We essentially have created conditions for peak performance to become reality. Even though zone performance may be an infrequent occurrence, we can celebrate because we have done the best we could on every shot.

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