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Golf: Fore Your Health

By Shopify API January 12, 2024

GOLF: FORE YOUR HEALTH

BY DR. RICHARD GOLDBERG

Can taking in your surroundings and being present in nature help your golf? Stewart Golf customer, author and Professor of Psychiatry at Brown University, Dr Richard Goldberg, ponders if we can improve our mental health as well as our golf, by simply being a bit more 'present' during our round. 

Let us know your thoughts below.

The World Health Organization says, “there is no health without mental health,” and golf offers great opportunities for mental health promotion. It may surprise you, but most golfers are not taking advantage of the game’s potential to improve our mental health. In fact, too many golfers complain “this game is driving me crazy.” Look around the golf course and you see people ready to snap a club, swearing, grousing, or rushing through the round to get somewhere else. It’s a wonder that so many people keep coming back to the game.



 What’s really unfortunate is that so many golfers are missing out on the opportunity to improve their mental health (and their game) by getting in touch with the peace and beauty that we can encounter on every course. Every golfer has experienced that wonderful moment when a seemingly effortless swing sends the ball soaring through the air and it seems to hover against the sky almost defying gravity. Every golfer has had a taste of this although it can be hard to re-produce. Fortunately, we don’t have to rely on more of these special shots to find the health-promoting beauty that is all around us on a golf course. All it takes is opening ourselves and slowing down to enjoy some details of nature that are all around us on every golf course.



Playing in the rain yesterday, my mind was transformed by noticing how the wet grasses seemed to be reflecting thousands of different shades of green. The Japanese have a term, Shinrin Yoku, for the health promotion gained from simply walking through the forest. I’m sure there are similar benefits from walking through the landscapes of a golf course – if we take some time to notice.



 One perfect New England summer day, while the rest of my foursome was searching for a ball far across the fairway, I saw my own ball resting cleanly on a bed of pine needles about ten yards into the trees, illuminated by a narrow beam of sunlight that somehow found its way through the heavy pine branches. As I carefully made my way deeper into the woods, I suddenly felt immersed in the coolness of a glade. It was as if a refreshing clarity came over me, and I looked around marveling at the patterns of light and the sounds of songbirds surrounding me.



As a deep calm enveloped me, many things about my golf also changed for the better. After punching the ball back into play, my game seemed to be taken to a new level without adding anything technical. At the very least, I stopped all the thinking that often complicates my golf swing. Maybe, I was touched by the “force”, or it got in touch with me. Whatever it was, it transported me beyond my golfing difficulties and preoccupations. The resulting low score is not really the issue – sometimes low scores “happen.” It is more important to be thankful for the health-promoting opportunities that golf gives us to get in touch with the beauty in nature which can elicit its counterpart within us.



Golfers should take some moments during every round to contemplate something beautiful: flowers, fescue, a soaring bird, or the sound of a flag flapping musically on a windy day. If you are sure to pause from time to time to be present in the surroundings instead of living inside your head – you will have made a good start. Not only will your mental health improve, but you will play better golf.


About the Author


Dr. Goldberg is Professor of Psychiatry at Brown University, and Founder of Dr Rich Golf® a golf mental coaching program, www.drrichgolf.com and author of a new book on the mental aspects of golf: Better Golf Better Life.


Have a question for Dr Rich? Or simply want to share your thoughts on the topic of mental health in golf, leave a comment below.


About the Author


Dr. Goldberg is Professor of Psychiatry at Brown University, and Founder of Dr Rich Golf® a golf mental coaching program, www.drrichgolf.com and author of a new book on the mental aspects of golf: Better Golf Better Life.


Have a question for Dr Rich? Or simply want to share your thoughts on the topic of mental health in golf, leave a comment below.


About the Author


Dr. Goldberg is Professor of Psychiatry at Brown University, and Founder of Dr Rich Golf® a golf mental coaching program, www.drrichgolf.com and author of a new book on the mental aspects of golf: Better Golf Better Life.


Have a question for Dr Rich? Or simply want to share your thoughts on the topic of mental health in golf, leave a comment below.


About the Author


Dr. Goldberg is Professor of Psychiatry at Brown University, and Founder of Dr Rich Golf® a golf mental coaching program, www.drrichgolf.com and author of a new book on the mental aspects of golf: Better Golf Better Life.


Have a question for Dr Rich? Or simply want to share your thoughts on the topic of mental health in golf, leave a comment below.



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