As a kid (and if we’re being honest, as an adult too), I couldn’t pay attention to save my life. This is probably why I never got into sports like basketball, volleyball, or soccer (too much to focus on!), and why I gravitated toward solo sports like running and golf. My parents were smart to promote golf because as we all know, golf is about honing in and focusing. You can’t be a good golfer if you don’t concentrate. It’ll catch up in the form of missed putts, sliced balls, duffs, whiffs . . . all sorts of disasters.
So golf, it turned out, was a way to help train me to concentrate. My dad coached me to keep my head down, eye on the ball, slow my backswing, and follow through on my shots.
All of this advice helped me out, but over the years I noticed another concentration problem that even the most-focused golfers face. It goes beyond the need to hone in on our technical games and requires us to simply keep our heads in the game and be in the moment when we’re playing. The problem is, these two simple things are becoming more and more difficult in our distraction-filled world.
Who knew something so simple could be the biggest threat to our games?
Let’s try these ideas to tune in more to golf, and in turn, our fellow players.
Silence your phone and don’t check it until you’re done.
Forget about posting, texting, or checking to see if your boss emailed. Try giving all of your attention to your fellow players, your game, and the beautiful course. When we constantly check our phones, we’re only “half there”, which does nothing for our scores. By keeping away from our phones, we’re living in the moment and truly enjoying the game.
Leave your problems in the car.
As you lock your purse in the trunk before a round, consider throwing in all of your problems too. Leave them there while you play, and instead vow to enjoy the company of your foursome, get some exercise, breathe in the fresh air, and take a break from worrying. I understand it’s hard to not think about the things that are stressing us out; however, we may just find that by stepping away from our problems, we’ll return to our real lives refreshed and ready to handle them with new vigor.
Not digging your foursome? Take a deep breath and give them a chance.
Maybe you just got paired up with a stranger at tee time, or perhaps you’re stuck with someone from your office who drives you crazy. You might be bummed at first, but give it a chance. Maybe there’s a reason you’re paired with that person. Who knows what could come from random tee assignments. A fellow golfer might say something that spurs an idea, makes you think, helps with a lingering problem, or even offers a job lead.
Make sure you’re truly present with the people you’re playing with.
The most memorable rounds of my life have been with my dad, husband, family, and friends—all people who mean the world to me. As I look back on those rounds, I realize how precious they all were, and how I wish I would have taken more time to truly enjoy them, have been more in the moment and less worried about my problems off the course. I wish I wouldn’t have gotten all out of sorts with bad shots and had just simply appreciated the time spent playing with the people who matter most.
So, moving forward, I’m going to take my own advice. For once in my life, I will focus on what’s happening in front of me. Sure, I’ll still concentrate on my golf game, but while I’m out there, I’ll keep the big picture in the front of my mind: the people and experiences, both on and off the course. This, my friends, is how you keep your eye on the ball.