March 24, 2013

7 Reasons Why Yogis Should Try Golf. ~ Joe Choi

Source: love-luck-kisses-cake.blogspot.com via barbara on Pinterest

Humility is a reminder of how far you’ve come. Every new challenge is a journey and golf is no different.


“Do you really need to do this?” asked my girlfriend at the time, a bit annoyed.

“Yep. Come pick me up in six hours,” I said.

It was like a scene from a movie where the guy heads off to fight a war and the girl makes one last plea, with anguish in her voice, for him to stay.

Except I wasn’t going to fight any war; I was going to fuel my golf addiction.

Maybe it was when I realized I blew off plans with one-too-many people.

Maybe it was when I would regularly try to squeeze in one more hole at dusk, convincing myself that there was enough light, when there clearly wasn’t. Or, maybe it was when I found myself alone on the course during a torrential downpour, and I was soaked down to my underwear, but I was still playing and loving every second of it.

Whenever it was, at some point, I realized I was addicted to golf.

I labored until the blisters bled so I could improve. I went through lessons, books, magazines and training aids. In every bit of research I did, I marveled at the flexibility of tour pros and how they could effortlessly turn their shoulders and unleash smooth, powerful swings.

I craved that same flexibility and that lead me to yoga.

I hated the first class I took. I was the typical first-timer guy in class—long, baggy shorts, a high school-baseball-championship t-shirt that I found in the laundry room, some muscles and zero flexibility. I couldn’t do the simplest poses, my entire body trembled and beads of sweat rolled into my eyes as I struggled to hold them.

But the next day, while I was nursing sore hamstrings, I wanted to get back on the mat. A yoga addiction took hold of me before I even stepped into my second class.

My road to yoga started with golf. But I think the inverse could also happen because there are many similarities between the two. There are a lot of reasons why I think yogis should try golf.

Here are seven of them.

1. It’ll test your ability to stay present

In yoga, when you’re going through your asanas, you have to stay present in each one. You can’t worry about what you did before or what the teacher will throw your way next.

Golf is similar. You can’t worry about how you struck your last shot so poorly or what club you’re going to use on the next hole. The only shot that matters is the one you have in front of you.

2. It’ll test your patience

In yoga, some days I can breeze through poses. Then other days, I keep falling out. On these days, I just need to throw my hands up in the air and surrender knowing that this is where my body is today.

Golf is the ultimate test of patience. Bad shots appear out of nowhere. Even pros hit them. A short little putt counts the same on your scorecard as a 300-yard drive. It’s agonizing to miss an easy shot. There are no easy shots in golf just like there are no easy days in yoga. Every round of golf is a journey that tests your patience.

3. What you feel is not always what you get

Sometimes I get adjustments in class or I hear a cue explained another way and something clicks.

     “So that’s what this pose is supposed to feel like!”

In golf, I thought I had a decent swing but then I worked with a teacher who used video to analyze it. I had some faults that kept me from hitting more consistent shots. Once I made a few adjustments, I had the same “aha” moment.

Sometimes you need to be reminded to listen, even when you think you have something down.

Yoga is all about bringing awareness to the body. What better way to bring more awareness then to try a new activity?

4. More women need to golf

The other day I looked around my yoga class and I was the only guy in there. It didn’t bother me because my classes are usually 80-90 percent women.

When I play golf it’s the exact opposite. It’s probably 95 percent men. Last year, Augusta National Golf Club—traditionally all men—made history when they admitted Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore as their first women members. This is a trend that needs to continue. The game of golf needs to grow and getting more women to play is a great start.

5. You’ll be humiliated

When you first start trying to hit golf balls you won’t be any good. In fact, you’ll be really bad and you’ll look around to see if anyone notices how horrible you are (don’t worry nobody will care). Now, think back to your first yoga class and think about how much progress you’ve made since then—whether it was 10 days ago or 10 years ago.

Humility is a reminder of how far you’ve come. Every new challenge is a journey and golf is no different.

6. You can enjoy nature and art

In yoga, you have to go through your practice, despite all the forces against you. Gravity, your body limitations, fear and worry are all obstacles you have to navigate.

A golf course is a work of art. Golf course architects create distinctive features on the courses they design. As you make your way around a course, notice that everything was made to throw you off, to disrupt your game. Tee boxes point slightly offline to throw your alignment off. Bunkers and water are there to visually intimidate you.

A finished round of golf means that you have navigated all these obstacles successfully. It’s truly an accomplishment in itself—despite what the final scorecard reads.

7. It’s a workout

When you walk a golf course it’s a good enough workout for one day. When you practice hitting balls on the driving range you’ll notice that soreness in muscles that you didn’t even realize you had, kind of like what happens after you do yoga for the first time.

Michael Phelps said he was tired after walking 18 holes of golf six days in a row. Enough said.

I broke up with my girlfriend a few weeks after that one day that she dropped me at the course.

But I made a new friend on the golf course that same day.


Joe Choi is a direct response copywriter for health and tech companies. He usually tries something completely new every two years to shake things up in life. Through all these shake ups, his addiction to golf, yoga, avocados, tuna cooked rare, donuts and beef jerky have remained the same. You can find him on his local golf course, yoga studio or writing about a bunch of things at fescuefairways.com.


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Assistant Ed. Rebecca Schwarz
Ed: Brianna Bemel

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