Yes, you can learn golf from a Jedi Master.
OK, readers; if you’ve been following me, you know I’m kind of a Star Wars nerd. My headcovers should’ve been the giveaway:
Nothing like seeing Chewbacca and Yoda watching you play! And hearing Yoda shouting “Control! Control! You must learn control”!
But there’s someone else, someone just as wise as Yoda, who you should take advice about your golf game from. Yup, the coy, clever, Living Force-attuned Qui-Gon Jinn, and he can help you improve your game, even from the great beyond.
For us true nerds, you might be thinking “what the f*ck? Episode I was HORRIBLE!!!”
Well, for one, I don’t agree with you. It ain’t the best of the bunch (that’d be Empire). For two, this isn’t a debate… OK, if you want to discuss it in the comments section, feel free to tell me how wrong I am.
For you non-Star Wars fans that are wondering what the hell I’m talking about, here’s a refresher:
Played beautifully by the awesome Liam Neeson. Anyway, there’s a line where Qui-Gon is talking to the young Anakin Skywalker, before the boy races in the Boonta Eve Pod Race. Qui-Gon tells him that his focus determines his reality. Hear for yourself:
To get to my point: that’s absolutely true in golf.
Golf’s a bit different from other sports. In baseball, you have a ball coming at you at 80+ mph, so there’s really no time to think about outcomes. You don’t think about the upcoming meeting, or making sure you get the lawn mowed sometime after you get home. If you do, you’ll likely take a fastball to the noggin.
READ ALSO: 5 Takeaways from Jordan Spieth’s Master’s victory.
But think about this: in a typical game of baseball, you might get three to four at-bats. There are eight other players that are also going to get up to the plate. In reality, you only need to be hyper-focused for a very short period of time. While the others are at the plate, you’re really free to think about whatever float’s your boat. Like Pop-Tart cats:
That’s not too far off from what you can do on the course!
Whether you walk or ride, there’s no reason for you to be hyper-focused every single second on the course. That’s just impossible. But when you DO get to the ball, all that extra crap needs to be pushed away.
That’s where ol’ Qui-Gon comes in. If you aren’t focused on the task at hand, you won’t get the outcome you’re looking for. You may luck out every now and again, but the majority of the time it just won’t happen.
There’s a reason why the greats like Ben Hogan (Golf’s version of Qui-Gon) and Jack Nicklaus (Yoda) don’t even step up to the ball until they see in their mind’s eye exactly what they want the ball to do. They want to know exactly what they want to have happen before they pull the trigger.
Disclaimer: I’m not saying take 20 freaking minutes pondering the shot at hand. It really shouldn’t take more than a minute. Figure out the shot you want to execute, see it in your mind’s eye and get it done.
We can do swing theories until I turn blue in the face… but if you aren’t focused on exactly what you want to have happen, forget it.
Remember that drill I gave you about hitting pitches and chips to a certain spot? A part of that is how well you focus: if you’re focused on a 20-yard pitch, and you can see in your mind the ball landing where you want it to, there’s a damn good chance your body will help you out. It’s how we work.
It needs to be said that sometimes it doesn’t work out exactly how we planned it. The cop-out answer for me would be to tell you that you weren’t focused enough… but I’m not a cop-out kinda guy. Shit just happens differently than how we planned sometimes.
The best defer that blame to something else. A hidden rock or tree root, the wind… something. Jack Nicklaus would give his club a good stare, as if he was telling it “Do that again and I’m getting my belt”. Not very Jedi-like, but I’ll consider it towing the line between light and dark.
It should go without saying we don’t want to go all Bubba Watson and be a complete jerk to the person standing closest to us. That ain’t cool. Don’t slam your clubs, either- that just makes you look like a tool.
Don’t be afraid to give your LW a timeout in the bag, or “The Look” that parents give… there’s plenty of ways to accomplish the job of deferring your blame without making your partners feel as if daddy just hit mommy at the dinner table. And yes… that is how it feels for everyone else in your foursome.
You can improve your golf game without all that extra, meaningless crap.
For everyone else’s sake, if you’re “that guy (or gal)”, please stop now. Go back to Gui-Gon Jinn’s teachings and follow the Jedi Code:
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.
—The Jedi Code (Based on the meditations of Odan-Urr)