august 19, 2009

# 34 Ease Up and Don’t Swing So Hard!

As a newcomer to the game of golf, I’m hardly qualified to give advice of any sort that pertains to the actual playing of the game. Those few balls that navigate their way down the fairway without assaulting any trees or innocent bystanders along the way hardly constitute a score worth keeping, and yet I’m completely and utterly addicted to the sport.
One of the things I love about golf is that it serves as a brilliant metaphor for life. While it can be difficult and challenging at times, it can also be fun and extremely rewarding. What I love about golf is the same thing I love about life. No matter how much I think I’ve learned, there are an infinite number of things left undiscovered. Every time I play, I learn something new.

Incidentally, what I struggle with in golf is the same thing I struggle with in life. Whenever I think I’m starting to get good, the swing I thought I’d mastered becomes inconsistent and ineffective. When my ego is engaged, my game begins to suffer immediately.

In the 3 years I’ve been playing golf, there’s one piece of advice that’s made a monumental difference in the consistency and improvement of my game. It can be said in many ways. Ease up and don’t swing so hard. Relax your grip. Let the club head fall naturally through your swing.

This is some of the most profound and spiritual teaching I’ve ever heard. What’s most profound about it, in my experience, is how counterintuitive it is. When I’m out to produce a result that’s both far-reaching and accurate in aim, my first inclination is to wind up and swing with as much force as possible.

Ironically, this almost never produces the intended result. When I relax, limit the height of my back swing, and allow the club head to fall naturally in a gentle and controlled arc toward the ball, I get better distance and accuracy than I can imagine or understand.

Here’s to a life of ease, where producing extraordinary results is no more difficult than letting the correct path unfold naturally.


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