It’s a funny thing the way your brain works on the golf course. What you’re thinking can actually have a huge effect on the outcome of your shot.
The most important issue for most golfers to consider is that the brain doesn’t understand the word “don’t.” It will say, “Don’t hit in the water.” And the brain will think it said, “Hit it in the water.” For some reason, the brain doesn’t understand “don’t”; it just thinks “water.”
So if you even think of the word “water” that’s not where your target is. So you obviously are not controlling your thoughts, you’re letting your thoughts control you.
One of the most basic, important parts of mind/body health is getting the brain to be under our command instead of under its own volition, running from thought to thought without much organization. They call it “monkey mind.” And it’s very common in the Western world because we don’t meditate and we don’t pay attention to stillness.
That’s why we have these troubles and maladies and cancers and all sorts of things. Everything is mind. Even with my own children, we always teach them stillness from when they were very little, like the American Indians did. Those are the things that I think are imperative for brain development. We did it with our own kids. They’re getting all “A’s”, they’re happy, they’re good kids.
Here are some techniques for your everyday golfer to strengthen their mental ability on the golf course help get rid of the “monkey mind. For example, say you want to focus on having a day when you are going to really work on peace of mind. So while you are walking the course, just pay attention to your breathing. Tell yourself, the next 200 yards, I’m just going to pay attention to my breathing. And it all starts from that. Once we become internal, then we can silence it.
But until we do that, we can’t silence it; we can’t shove it down. It’s just too active, there’s 7 trillion cells all talking to each other constantly. So we physically or mentally have to turn our attention inward. Particularly females, because they do all thinking of others; you know, their children, their wife, their husbands; they’re always thinking of others and that’s why they have a lot of health problems lately.
I took my wife to my doctor, who is from India, and I said, “Could you test her pulse? Can you test her for me?” She’s a very fit-looking woman. She runs every other day and she does yoga every morning and she looks as fit as fiddle. He says, “Is you lower back tight?” This is while he is feeling her pulse. She says, “Yes, it’s always been tight.” He says, “Do you wash the table but think of other things?” And she says, “Yes, Tony is always trying to get me to focus on what I’m doing.” And he says, “Right now, even though we’re sitting, you have a walking heartbeat. When you focus on the table, your heart will slow down and your body will become more normal.”
He’s tested her lately and her pulse has come down. Just that little notion was enough. A lot of times it is that, it’s just a thought sometimes.
Tony Castelluccio is the Director of Golf Instruction at Chalet Hills Golf Club in Cary, IL.