How Meditation Can Change Your Golf Game

mindfulness on the golf course

The ideas in this great piece that ran in Golf Digest on how to be mindful on the course, by Bob Carney, who co-authored "How to Feel a Real Golf Swing" , really resonated. You can read the whole article here.

Mindfulness meditation—staying quietly in the present—has been shown to increase creativity, the ability to manage pain and the power to relieve anxiety. For golfers, the last one might be most important. …Psychologist Michael Gervais, whose clients include Luke Donald and the Seattle Seahawks, says the point isn't just awareness. It's insight. “For some golfers, the ultimate insight might be: It's just a game. But you start by becoming aware of your emotions, body sensations and the unfolding environment."  Dan Harris, who wrote “10% Happier” talks about, “…investigating” what you notice and feel. "Practicing mindfulness helps you lean into feelings, accept them rather than fight them…. That's when the magic happens.”


  1. Notice negative thoughts without being run by them. 'I gag over bunker shots' might be a thought that never leaves you, but its power over you should.
  2. Delay reaction to stress. "Think of road rage," says tour pro Luke Donald, who has worked with psychologist Michael Gervais and George Mumford, author of The Mindful Athlete. "Something happens. You react. There are moments like that in golf. The idea is to extend the gap between feeling and reaction. Give the urge to react time to dissipate."
  3. Stop fighting what you feel. "It's not about feeling good. It's about feeling what you feel, and not running from it," says Dan Harris...
  4. Be. Here. Now. "You hit a shot and take a few moments to evaluate—not judge—it," Gervais says. "You say, 'OK, this happened and this happened and that happened.' After that, the idea is to simply be where your feet are. Enjoy the walk."
  5. Rehearse success. Some psychologists go as far as encouraging players to imagine a whole round in a kind of meditative state. See success. Invite success.