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