Listed as one of the five afflictions of the human condition in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Egoism (Sanskrit: asmita) can destroy our golf experience. The Ego’s attachment to a golf score and it’s influence on personal worthiness can bring our progress to a screeching halt. We’ve all been there. . .
Consoling playing partners will mercifully utter after a bad round, “You are not your number.” Even while on Tour we attempted to lessen the blow of a ‘big number’ with one hand buried in a bag of Oreos and the other plunging into a tub of Ben and Jerry’s. Hoping somehow the ‘big number’ would appear smaller if our gut was disproportionally larger?
This ego based clinging to self worth being reflected in a golf score can cause great suffering (and weight gain!). Especially for the competitive golfer who identifies with the inevitable highs and lows of a golf score. The excruciating pain of bogeying the last hole to miss yet another cut by one shot or the tap in birdie to win the playoff will eventually destroy us if we do not keep our ego under surveillance.
The paradox however is that we need our ego to move through the world, but it shouldn’t be in charge. It’s shapes our personality. It tells us to get out of bed and practice so we don’t look like an idiot playing with our buddies this weekend. It’s how we interact with our fellow competitors and it often drives us to work hard on our games.
It’s when the ego is controlling the entire golf experience that we have a problem. Take some “golf vitamins” to balance out the post round ‘blood sugar blues’:
- Have AWARENESS and discriminative WISDOM of the dominating ego.
- SET PERSONAL GOALS that are NOT based on score. (i.e. Today I’m committing to taking a deep breath before every shot. Today I’m going to stay neutral or positive after every shot. . .etc.)
- REPLACE ‘SCORE FOCUS’ with ‘PROCESS FOCUS’.
Dodie Mazzuca is the founder of Golf PROformance and teaches golf and Mindfulness for Golf programs in Santa Cruz, CA.