Zen Golf? I know what golf is, the most frustrating and delightful game on earth. But, what is Zen? The word conjures up a myriad of images for me; Grasshopper getting slapped by his blind Master; Tiny sand traps and itty-bitty rakes on the desks of stressed executives. California cool, detached, and maybe a little spaced out, zen is vegan sushi. Golf, on the other hand, is a hotdog at the turn. The closest golf memory that comes to mind is Freddy Couples wearing boat shoes at the Masters a couple of years ago. Freddy, as he slid across Augusta National, was zen that day. And, for a special bonus, it was drove Nick Faldo nuts.

Dr. Joseph Parent, the creator and author of Zen Golf, has something a little more helpful in mind. He combines “the mindful awareness practices of Buddhism,” with his Ph.D. in psychology, to bring forth techniques useful in both business and golf. His work helps players break mental patterns that lead to defeat. His website offers an impressive list of clients including major champions Cristie Kerr, Julie Inkster, David Toms and Vijay Singh. He advises a regular who’s who from the Fortune 500, and is a renowned speaker and television guest. Golf Digest lists Dr. Parent as one of the “Top Ten Mental Game Experts” due to the success of Zen Golf.

Parent’s approach is to rethink the game of golf, to examine motivations, patterns, preparedness and action. He teaches players to consider what they are doing and why. Then, how to act within the “zen” mindset. Here is an example worth considering from Zen Golf:

“The best target is where we want to send the ball. The best intention is to trust our swing. The best purpose is to enjoy playing golf. Think this way and you’ll swing freely, get better results, and enjoy yourself more than ever.” Page 36

Rick Cole