While watching a PGA golf match on television the other day, I caught an interview with the professional who, at that point, was on top of the leader board. When he was asked, “Do you have a strategy for what it’s going to take to handle the pressure and win this tournament?”, I expected him to say something like, “Going to have to keep focused, stay in the moment, play one shot at a time, and not worry about what others are doing.”
But the player caught my attention with a slightly different approach. While probably echoing the counsel of a sports psychologist, he said something that had it’s own sense of inner spirituality. Something like, “I need to stay focused on the truth of what I know—the lie of my ball, the distance to the hole, the club I need, and where my ball needs to land to set up the next shot. More than once he mentioned thinking about what is true.
His words acknowledge what we all know. It’s easy to get distracted by our imagination rather than using it to advance the truth of who we are, and what we are here to be and do.
Being so inclined to get ahead of myself—to worry about what might happen; or to lag behind the challenges of the present moment— reliving past mistakes, over and over, obsessing on what I can’t fix or control, I found the answer of a professional golfer life-like enough to be helpful.
It’s for some of these very reasons that, like life itself, golf has been described as one more game that is often won or lost— not on the ground of play, but between the ears.
The interview got me wondering. What does it take to focus on what we know is true— about ourselves, our God, and others, that can release the imagination of our minds—and hearts— for something far greater than a round of golf?