A prayer for golfers
Before you enter the golf course ask for her permission,
be grateful for her beauty,
acknowledge her spirit,
respect her fully,
Ask her how she wants to be played,
listen to her from your heart,
obey her commands, treat her kindly,
always thank her at the end,
she is your greatest teacher
Golf the great destroyer of ego
I recently spoke with a young man who had tried everything to develop his golf game. He had worked hard, dedicated himself fully to his game and had done all the right things. He had listened carefully to his swing coaches and fully prepared himself to the best of his ability. Yet over and over again he was feeling deflated after his round because he was underperforming on the golf course and not getting the results he felt he deserved. He complained that golf was not giving him any breaks and that he was finding it harder and harder to motivate himself for the next event.
The game he loved and wanted to play for his livelihood was starting to feel like a chore and at times he even felt he wanted to completely give it up. This love/hate relationship with the game is all too common for a lot of players, especially the better ones who are striving for perfection and a dream career as a tour professional.
After the conversation I had with this young man It struck me very clearly that golf can be viewed in many ways, but seen from a higher perspective golf is a great master, a great destroyer of ego. Golf is a great reminder of the limitations of the false self and the potentiality of the true self, because it challenges and confronts our self image in such a way that it forces us to look at reality in a very sober and honest way, not our minds reality, or our coaches reality, but the raw reality of what golf is, which is essentially one big mirror which shows up the inner workings of the human condition in its egoic, unenlightened state.
Golf is a metaphor for life so whatever you do off the course you will likely do on it. So when things go ‘wrong’ on the golf course, for example you get a bad break, you hit a series of poor shots, you can’t hole a putt etc, the familiar conditioned response will be to go into resistance, to go unconscious, to go further into blame and self pity, further into comparison with others, further into projection, further into the mind and usually further into self defeating patterns.
Of course there is always tomorrow or the next day to get back out there and try and shoot the perfect round, but like life what tends to happen is that we continue to repeat these same patterns of conditioned thinking over and over again and these patterns invariably create the same results.
When you have come to the point in golf, or in life, whereby you have tried everything and it is still not working there is always the option of viewing the game in a different way. A way whereby we accept that golf is here to break our egos. That we are not here to break it, to overpower it, to use and abuse it, to make our money out of it. No, we are here to surrender to it, to see it as holy sacred ground, to ask the spirit of the golf course if we may enter her and share this sacred ground with her. To see golf as the embodiment of the master.
The golf course can be seen as the manifestation of life. We can learn to see her as a holy spirit, a holy embodiment of potentiality and love. We should fully respect her, take care of her and ask her how she would like to be played. Ask her for help, ask her to show us how she can help us play her in the best possible way.
There is then not a ‘you’ trying to overpower the golf course, but you are one with the sacredness of the course, the silent, still presence that the course exudes, and that love can only ever come from respecting her essence.Most golfers do not see the sacredness of this game. They do not sense or feel the sacredness of the golf course and nature in general. Most golfers cannot see the course as a friend who is here to help you. Most golfers are not inwardly quiet enough to listen to her commands. This game is a great spiritual teacher, and you must surrender to her in order to achieve your full potential.
A prayer for golfers
Before you enter the golf course ask for her permission, be grateful for her beauty, acknowledge her spirit, respect her fully, Ask her how she wants to be played, listen to her from your heart, obey her commands, treat her kindly, always thank her at the end, she is your greatest teacher
Conscious Golf retreat in Spain Autumn 2016
Once the basic fundamentals of your golf swing are in place your main focus on the golf course can switch from technique based thoughts to developing rhythm and tempo in your game.
One simple exercise that will help you do this is to regulate your breathing during your golf swing. As you swing back breathe in, and as you swing through, breathe out. Let your breath and your swing synchronise. Let your body and breath work together in harmony.
This will greatly improve your rhythm as well as reduce any build up of mind made tension or doubt because it is impossible to focus on your breath and think at the same time, try it out for yourself.....
You can also build in breathing techniques to your pre shot routine. Get into the habit of taking one full and deep breath from behind the ball before you address your shot. This will help you to become more conscious, more aware, more present, during the round. It will also help you to play the game from the still point within which is the essence of conscious golf.
Happy golfing friends!
Mastering the inner game, winter 2016 trainings
Dear Conscious Golfers
I will be at Santa Clara Golf Club, Granada, Southern Spain on the following dates during Winter 2016 holding four 4 day Conscious Golf workshops entitled 'mastering the inner game'.
The course dates are as follows;
Each workshop will be kept low on participant numbers to ensure high quality interaction and input with a maximum of 6 players on each training.
We will be staying in Orgiva at Hotel Taray which is in the Alpujarra region of Andalucia Spain.
If you are interested in joining one of these courses or you would like some more information about conscious golf please email me with the dates you are most interested in.
Why not come to a conscious golf training and get your game in the best possible shape for the start of the new season!
The perfect mirror
Golf is the most perfect mirror to the soul. It will expose everything inside of you, every fear, every emotion, every doubt, every possibility.
Most golfers duck away from this, most are not up for the inner challenge that the game brings but to truly master this game, you must first master yourself. It simply doesn't work the other way around.
If your serious about developing and improving your golf game and you can see the benefits of working on yourself and developing your own own inner process then please get in touch to arrange a conscious golf session.
Im amazed at how much improvement a single session of conscious golf has and how much it opens within us. If you want to make excuses forever and blame everyone else then this isn't for you, but if you ready to take full responsibility for yourself and your game and want to truly fulfill your potential both on and off the course im very happy to work with you.
Im available for both individual and small group sessions.
Self observation and golf
Golf is the perfect game for self observation and self discovery because It gives you so much time and space in nature simply being with yourself, watching your responses, your reactions, your fears, and your desires.
It puts you in an unending number of situations and scenarios that give you the opportunity to either fully open up or to shrink back into contraction and self doubt.
It exposes the ego in such a way that only a close relationship with something or somebody you love does. It is the ideal game for bringing everything out of you, of completely exposing what's going on deep down inside.
If your open golf is like a huge mirror to the soul it will show you how you react and respond under pressure, to other people's expectations, and where you are at with almost anything including your values and morals.
If golf is seen as a tool for self discovery, self inquiry and self realisation then it offers the highest potential for a human being. If it is only seen in terms of better scores, longer drives, and how quickly you can get round the course then the majesty and magnificence of this game will always be missed. The cost of missing it is usually frustration and disappointment in almost every round that is played.
It is often said that golf is a game of confidence. There are many types of confidence, one is pretence, but simply pretending your confident doesn't usually last for very long. Another is conditional confidence which is dependent on how well you are playing. No-one plays well all the time so again it is not true confidence. The highest form of confidence and the one that is real comes from knowing who you are beyond your conditioning and thinking mind. It is the confidence that comes from Presence.
Conscious golf is to use golf as a tool to discover yourself as Presence. Golf will then continue to be played, enjoyed and loved as an expression of your own Being. Golf is used as a way of achieving your highest potential.
Focus on the process.....
The biggest change that needs to take place for golfers to achieve their full potential on the course is to move away from outcome goals and replace these with process goals. If you begin to focus on the process the outcome will take care of itself.
A solid pre shot routine which ends with stillness and the 'no mind' state is what you should be aiming for. The most important and often most overlooked phase of the pre shot routine is the second before the club moves. That is the point where you need to be absolutely still.
If you are clear within yourself at that point, it is likely that your body will do exactly what its been programmed to do, there will be no swing interference, there will be no mixed messages from the mind to the body, there will be no confusion. The body is going to deliver whatever you tell it.
However if there is still any doubt, confusion or anxiety this will automatically transfer to the golf swing and the end result will reflect this.
It is a fact that almost all golfers know before they even begin the swing whether or not they are going to hit a good shot or not.
So find the still inner point before starting your swing, and the results will take care of themselves.
Excel at the game you love!
These days im travelling a lot and playing a lot of golf along the way and what I see wherever I go is exactly the same scenario. People buying the latest golf clubs and golf gadgets, people continuously having technique based golf lessons and the same people being surprised and upset when they cannot deliver on the golf course.
It is crystal clear to me that the only way to achieve our full potential as golfers is by mastering the inner game. In essence that means focussing on two things; overcoming the negative voice in the head and finding the still point inside us and learning to play the game from there.
Whenever you are on the golf course you are not only competing with your playing partners and the course, you are also competing with yourself. Once you have mastered the inner game, you are in the best possible position to play your best ever golf.
My initial questions are these.......
a) do you agree/disagree with this
b) and if you agree, are you doing anything about it?
If you agree but dont know what to do then why not consider booking a conscious golf session, coming along to a Conscious golf day or joining a 5 day intensive course.
The numbers and costs are kept low and the impact is immediate. Conscious golf events are open to players of all abilities and take place in Spain, Sweden and the Uk.
Why not give yourself the best possible chance to excel at the game you love?
November 10-13th 2014
Are you mastering your emotions on the course?
I have always felt that golf is a the perfect mirror for life, in that whatever you believe about yourself off the course will always manifest itself on the course.
It has never failed to surprise me that most golfers spend hours and hours perfecting their outer game yet very few work on developing their inner game. Yet research and our own personal experience shows they are inextricably linked .
Often the ones who do the most work on their inner game are elite professionals. They have experienced first hand the difference between mastering their emotions as opposed to letting their emotions master them.
If you dont believe your inner state on the course makes any difference to your game then ask yourself a few simple questions;
When did you last play good golf when you were agitated, angry or impatient?
When did you last swing well when thought of self doubt or fear were present?
Hale Irwin who won the US open 3 times sums it up beautifully,
"Golf is the toughest sport. You're completely alone with every conceivable opportunity to defeat yourself.
Golf brings out your assets and liabilities as a person. The longer you play, the more certain you are that a man's performance is the outward manifestation of who, in his heart, he really thinks he is".
I have no doubt that the most successful golfers are those who master themselves through mastering the inner game.
It is quite something to watch golfers regularly tee off on the first tee buzzing with excitement and a spring in their step eager to get out there and play, only to see them troop in after 18 holes often dejected, disappointed and down hearted. I have often considered doing a 'before and after' survey of golfers pre and post round to see if their enjoyment levels of their actual round matched up to their pre round expectations.
I am sure that one of the main reasons for this behavior is the belief that golf can deliver something that ultimately it cannot, that thing is called perfection. Golfers may not realise it but many are looking for freedom through having the perfect round, the perfect handicap, the perfect shot, the perfect tournament, the perfect swing.
Many golfers dedicate huge amounts of time, effort, energy and resources into this pursuit of perfection and feel like when they get 'it' (whatever their version of perfection is) all will be well in their lives. This is why each new round appears to offer them the possibility of salvation. Most golfers say they love they game, yet that love is really love/hate, love when things are going well, hate when they are going badly.
The freedom and perfection golfers seek continues to elude them because ultimately it is illusory, it does not exist outside of ourselves. If their sense of perfection and fullfillment is based solely on golf then some satisfaction may be achieved for short periods of time whenever they hit a good shot or have a good score but unless this is grounded in inside themselves the perfection they seek will be fleeting and ultimately elusive.
To learn to play Golf in The Natural State is to learn to play from the place inside you which is already perfect, is already whole, is already complete. It is to play from a place of freedom rather than trying to get freedom from things outside of you. It does not mean that you cannot try to improve and work on your game, it is fully in harmony with this however you will no longer be seeking something golf cannot deliver. Interestingly enough when we learn to play from this inner place our golf game often improves as our sense of achievement is no longer based on external results, with this self induced pressure off comes a deep relaxation and enjoyment in which our game often naturally flourishes and improves.
The Golf Critic
If you want to see the judgmental mind in action listen to the comments your fellow golfers make during the round. The vast majority of golfers continuously self criticize after almost every shot. This ranges from low level comments like "not quite", "didnt hit it", "thats rubbish" "im playing awful today" to far more extreme and aggressive self sabotage, club throwing and extreme mood swings.The fiercist critic is the golf critic. Interestingly most golfers are incredibly supportive understanding and accepting of their partners poor shots.
Most people are so busy over thinking whilst playing golf they are never empty enough to let the natural intelligence play through them.Playing from a place of inner stillness, requires that you dis-identify from the over analytical mind, particularly in between shots, when you are walking or waiting for your opponents to play. Use that down time to come back to your own centre and stillness. Use it to your advantage.So when its your turn, and the decisions have been made about the shot your going to play and the club your going to use, you completely trust the process and stop second guessing yourself. Use the mind to figure out the practicalities, then drop the mind and swing it smooth.Then put the club in the bag and walk, as your walking notice the stillness inside and out, notice the space inside and out, notice the silence inside and out.It dosent mean that you cannot engage with others, you can do everything you like, but all the time you are recognising the background stillness that is unchanging.Give yourself a break from the over analytical mind and start playing the game in The Natural State.Youll be amazed at how much more you enjoy the game and with that how much you naturally improve.Try it out!
Golf in The Natural State Facebook group
Golf in the natural state is a group for those of you who love the game of golf and are open to approaches that will improve not only your golf but your way of life.I felt inspired to start this group because of a life long love of the game coupled with a deep interest in what makes us all tick. I hope to open up discussion and ideas in helping people to play golf in a more relaxed, open and free way.There is nothing unusual about the natural state, it is simply what is naturally there when you are not identified with negative thought patterns or emotions which create fear, anxiety and self sabotage.The main obstacle to playing golf in this way is being identified with your mind and often some deep seated patterns and conditioning.Positive thinking and other common sports psychology techniques may be helpful to a certain extent but what I am offering here is very different.When you learn how to rest in the natural state an intelligence far greater than the personal mind takes over and you begin to play golf from a place of inner harmony, where you have the best chance of fulfilling your potential both as a golfer and ultimately as a human being.The natural intelligence is not unlike the experiences many elite performers have described as 'The Zone' where performance happens spontaneously and naturally without any interference from the mind.In essence you are learning how to get 'yourself' out the way and let golf be played and enjoyed from a different place.I am available for individual or small group sessions and open to the possibility of holding some larger group workshops.
Zen Golf days and retreats
2013 - 2014
It is fact that very few golfers feel like they are achieving their full potential on the golf course. Most try to remedy this with more golf technique lessons, newer equipment, the latest gadgets, harder work, fitness regimes and diets, all of which can be very helpful.However anybody who truly wants to master golf or any other sport must also master themselves. They must overcome the doubts, fears and anxieties that often hold back even the most talented players. This inner work is usually overlooked by most sportsmen and women yet for me it is the area that is the most interesting with the potential to deliver the most profound results.Having played golf to a good level my whole life i now play far better golf than ever before, yet i have no new equipment and am definitely not on a super diet or disciplined fitness regime and this body is a few years older! Yet I have discovered how to play the game from presence, from stillness, from the place of no-mind.Very soon I will be offering some one day Zen golf training days in Sussex followed by 2 five day transformational golf retreats in Scotland and Spain where we will look at the principles of Zen golf and how to apply these principles on the golf course.Golf in The Natural State means to play golf from the core of your being. To play totally from the heart of awareness and be willing to trust the intelligence that is inherent inside the body.If you or anybody else is interested in attending these Zen golf days/retreats then please PM me and I will send you the details of the course dates and information as soon as I have confirmed them.I invite all golfers to learn to play from the heart of awareness.