Tai Chi Wisdom for Golf

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Golf Wisdom in an Unexpected Place

A recent family trip took me to a park outside of Washington DC.  In a clearing of trees, I found a large, round, paved area meant for the practice of tai chi.  Around the circle were pieces of wisdom about tai chi.  As I read them, I was struck by how well they applied to golf, so I wanted to share them with you here.

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Stop worrying about your buddies, and certainly stop comparing yourself to the guys who play on TV.  Keep track of your own progress.  Track your rounds, your stats, your practice, and work on getting better.  More importantly, be happy with your improvement rather than tying your satisfaction to beating others.

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How many shots could you save if you made better, smarter decisions?  I referred to it in this lesson as being as smart as the second guy.  It means not hitting 6 iron when you need 5.  Not taking on sucker pins.  Not attempting shots that you don’t practice.

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Most of us make practicing golf way too hard.  We set up conditions and requirements – I need at least an hour, I can only practice at the course, I need good weather, my body has to feel fresh – that make practice unlikely or impossible.

Make practicing easy.  Leave a putter, a ball, and a glass next to your desk so you can hit a few putts.  Get a short club that you can swing inside.  Find a lot of other suggestions HERE.

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This is my favorite of all the sayings here.  99% of golfers on any given range are just ingraining habits, doing the same thing over and over, which is why they’re not getting better.  To improve, you need to challenge yourself and try new things.  Set up games, skill drills, and make practice more game-like.  You can find lots of ideas for that HERE.

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This one may sound a little out there, but let’s start to understand it with a simple example: ball flight.  Most golfers don’t understand ball flight (if you’re one of them, go HERE), so they need a teacher to explain why the ball curves.  When you understand ball flight, however, every shot is a chance to learn about your swing.  This can be similarly applied to all aspects of the game.

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Ever wonder why so few young players win major championships?  It’s not lack of talent, they just don’t have the wisdom and the mental chops.

Spend time thinking about your game.  Think about your decisions on the course, how you were feeling during the round, what situations made you feel good or bad.  Plan your next round and how you might respond to various situations.

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Matt Saternus

Co-Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is a golf instructor, club fitter, and writer living in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Matt's work has been published in Mulligan Magazine, Chicagoland Golf, South Florida Golf, and other golf media outlets. He's also been a featured speaker in the Online Golf Summit and is a member of Ultimate Golf Advantage's Faculty of Experts.

2 Comments

  1. A great post. Eastern philosophy and golf are truly one. Do more of these!

  2. Great stuff there Matt, I’m using meditation to install belief into my own psyche

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