As golfers, we’re taught to stay in the moment. If you hit a bad shot, let it go and focus on your next shot. Unfortunately, staying in the moment can often be a lot harder than it looks as our minds tend to wander throughout a four or five hour round of golf.
Being able to forget the past and stay focused on the next shot is essential to success on the PGA Tour, where they collect a metric called the “bounce back” statistic that measures the percentage of holes on which a golfer is over par on one hole and under par on the next. The bounce back stat is one the numbers PGA Tour players value the most because it quantifies a player’s ability to forget the past hole and get on with the next shot.
It’s not surprising that the leader in bounce back percentage last season was 2015 PGA Champion Jason Day, while Tour player of the year Jason Speith was a close sixth. Both Day and Spieth demonstrated a dominant mental edge that allowed them to improve their focus under duress.
So how can the average golfer improve their focus and raise their bounceback percentage? There’s a renewed movement among top golf professionals to introduce mindfulness or meditation into the golf improvement toolbox. Tiger Woods grew up meditating regularly during the years he dominated the game and some top players such as Edoardo Molinari, D.A. Points and the LPGA Tour’s Marina Alexare are using a new wearable meditation device called The Muse to practice their mindfulness.
The Muse headband is part of a new group of devices that merge relaxation with wearable technology to help track and improve mindfulness. The Muse is a headband that was designed to monitor your brain activity and help you gradually learn to focus and relax. Used in conjunction with its companion app “Calm”, the Muse headband is lined with seven highly-sensitive EEG sensors that detect your brain’s electrical activity.
As you use the headband you hear sounds from the beach from the app. When your mind is calm, the sounds are soft and gentle. When your mind wanders, the waves get louder and the wind starts to blow. This simple process helps you practice staying focused and in the moment.
Nearly anyone who has tried meditation understands that it’s not easy. That’s why it’s called a “practice”. However, there are major gains to be made if you can stick to the program and strengthen your ability to stay in the moment.
One of the ways Muse helps you overcome the challenges of meditation is by adding an element of gamification into the process. The Muse feeds data about the performance of your meditation to your smartphone and tracks your progress. At the end of each session, you receive a score based on your ability to calm your mind. A graph displays the peaks and valleys from your session, which correspond to your shifting mental state.
The Muse costs $299 — about the same as a mid-tier driver. But if you’re serious about dropping shots next season, it might be time to start thinking about transforming the way you think about golf and meditation with Muse.