I find it ironic that a sport invented some 500 years ago in Scotland by a bunch of drunk old guys has evolved into a modern sport of health and wellness. A look around the PGA Tour and courses worldwide provide examples of a generation of health minded golfers, who embrace the game for the array of positive effects it provides. The sport challenges us both mentally and physically. It teaches us to manifest the things we want to see before our eyes and work hard to accomplish those goals. It teaches us patience and appreciation, of things small and large. It demands our full attention, while allowing us peaceful serenity and stillness between shots to enjoy the wonders of nature all around. Once you dive into the experience that is created by the game of golf you can understand why this isn’t just a game for drunk old guys anymore. The overlying idea of wellness in our society goes hand in hand with golf – especially golf focused retreat.
Many of my favorite moments and memories are at the golf course. I love arriving at sunrise, beginning the day with the fresh morning air. I cherish the time spent warming up as I feel my body awaken. I am surrounded by friends and a community that share the same passion, the camaraderie offering positive reinforcement throughout the round. Sometimes the joy is in a well struck shot, while other times the best part is getting caught up in the views, allowing the mind to release, a sense of meditation.
Traditionally, the golf course wasn’t seen for anything other than playing golf. Groups maneuver their way around the course, enjoying the game and its simple pleasures. While many search for the “perfect” swing tip to improve their game, I’ve learned to bring my yoga to the course. With a good portion of my time spent out there, grinding away through the ups and downs, I can honestly say it is the best thing that has happened to my golf game. Integrating focus on my breath helps me to stay present from pre-shot routine to finish. First I mindfully grip the club, standing behind the ball visualizing the ideal movement and ball flight. As I approach my ball a deep exhale assists my set up by rooting my feet into the earth. Another deep breath gives me time to settle into the my stance, keeping my posture strong, while I look over my planned shot one more time. The next inhale prepares my body for execution, while the exhale takes me all the through the backswing to my balanced finish (ideally)! This concentration of the breath that I learned from my yoga practice has helped me tremendously to stay focused and in the moment. But there is more around the idea of integrating yoga with golf. Picture yourself on the most beautiful tee box you can dream of. Visualize the most incredible golf hole you can imagine. Now imagine taking your yoga practice from the studio to that spot on the course.
Yoga is a perfect tool for golfers for a multitude of reasons. Not only do we gain the obvious- flexibility, strength and balance, but we develop a deeper connection to ourselves and the world around us. To practice yoga is to train our mind and body to perform in unity, a goal we seek to achieve in golf as well. So while the course may still have it’s share of drunk old guys roaming around on carts, a large percentage of players have come to embrace the holistic benefits of this beautiful game. Most importantly, in my eyes, is the practice of staying in the moment, connected to the present, no matter the circumstance. Simply taking some deep breaths and rooting down into the earth before every shot gives us endless opportunity for checking back in. Chances are that if you are reading this, your well-being is a high priority. Next time you are on the course, try incorporating a wellness ritual or routine to your game. You will be surprised how beneficial it can be!
by Abby Seplowitz
Love this and want to experience the wellness of golf for yourself! We’ve launched a new Golf and Yoga Retreat in Mount Washington and we’d love to have you along for the ride 🙂