While playing golf on a course, we hit the shot, then walk to the next spot and hit it again. This is repeated throughout the game for 18 holes, meaning there are 18 pauses to approach tee shot and +-72 pauses between shots and puts in total of about 90 transitions.
So we see we are able to apply flow interventions either before or during the transition to the next spot. Just about any channel for flow can be used before competition (vagal, sensomotoric, thermoreceptive, auditory, visual etc.), but in the competition itself we are more limited and using more of breathwork between shots, cognitive alignment or flow recall triggers.
We can apply cognitive mindsets in order to keep our mind in the most fluid state, devoid of clutter and self talk. In order to get into the flow on a golf course, which by its design is challenging us on all fronts, we need to go blank and into the rhythm of the game.
Flow interventions during round of golf
Vagal flow alignment
One of great ways is to walk in rhythm with your breath, breathing through nose and slowly exhale through pursed lips will give your mind a perfect way to synchronize with the body in a seamless walking / breathing rhythm. You can use already prepared walking flow triggers with music (headset) or use the following breathing rhythms with no music (focus on steps & breath):
- two steps inhaling with two steps exhaling
- two steps inhaling with four steps exhaling to boost relaxation and rhythmic effects even further
The importance of rhythm
When searching how to express their flow state, golfers nearly always default to saying “perfect rhythm”. Playing in a perfect rhythm has a signature of low mental & muscle tension levels. You think in rhythm and because your body and mind are synchornized accordingly, your golf swing flows in rhythm.
The rhythm of golf goes beyond the tempo of a golf swing. It speaks to the rhythm of your walking, your routine and everything you do. Walking pace is important, how you walk determines complete rhythm of your whole day, including your swing. Place rhythm at the top of your priorities in every game or practice.
The key is to get out of mechanics, out of score and
into your natural rhythm and the flow of the game.
|Position||Duration||Description & triggers|
|Before every shot|
|Walk between shots||30''|| |
|At every shot||10''|| |
Flow recall trigger
|At every tee (short recall)||Flow cue|
|Hole 1 & 10 |
Intention to the flow
|Hole 2 & 11 |
I am the observer
|Hole 3 & 12 |
I approach every situation playfully
|Hole 4 & 13 |
|30''||What I imagine I create|
|Hole 5 & 14 |
|30''||I am grateful for every breath|
|Hole 6 & 15 |
|30''||We all breathe the same air|
|Hole 7 & 16 |
|30''||I am fascinated with the game|
|Hole 8 & 17 |
|30''||Every day I am progressing|
|Hole 9 & 18 |
Intention to the unity
|30''||I am one with everything|
|Environmental flow||Observe nature mindfully |
(in awe and appreciation)
|Social flow||Apply social flow triggers to flight |
- Programmed sessions are provided as a general guideline on how to setup an effective flow coaching session.
- All the triggers within this program can be performed in group or individually. By your own discretion, use other similar flow triggers from the options in the Flowhub (test each of them and see if they resonate with your client golfer’s style.
- Find different flow cues for each of the mindsets in the Flowhub and replace them as needed. Each one is performed silently, repeat in your mind the flow intentions (cues) in order to let your mind go into fluid subconscious rhythm.
Social flow alignment
Golf is usually played in flights of 4 and more players. This is by default a social setting and undoubtedly it bears influence on each of the individuals that find themselves in a particular flight.
Since people differ in myriad of ways and also how they approach the game, it is important, that group flow is a concerted effort. Creating group flow can create a meaningful experience and helps botha group as a whole and individual players perform at their best.
Therefore the setting must be friendly and competitive only in terms of a challenge and gamification and not as a final goal. As soon as people start to compete against each other, everyone usually starts to play poorly, wishing others bad shots, so they can get ahead.
While this usually backfires in the form of one visualizing bad shots of others, while mind stays in the same mode of operation during your own shots, so guess what ... what you wish to other is what you usually get. It is all in your head ... your game, opponents, the course ... all a perfect opportunity for an envigorating challenge that is playful and fluid and that creates trust and peace within a whole flight. The tendency of everyone in the flight should be to create group flow in order to boost each one’s individual flow.
Adopting routine to go through particular mindset will make your every golf game an experience of a lifetime. Setting is beautiful, there is no rush, rules are laid out, everything sits there and awaits your command. This is a time of perfect reflection, your personal playground in which everything mirrors your inner state.
We suggest going few times through the complete setup of 7 flow mindsets and 2 intentions, combining 9 flow interventions for the first 9 holes and then repeat for another 9 holes. Before each approach to the tee shot, pause to meditate for a few seconds on one of the flow mindsets, that each on its own will bring your mind into the state of perfect fluidity and thus creating conditions for flow. Later on develop your own routine, use some or all cognitive mindsets that push you more effectively toward flow.
Hole 1 & 10: Intention to the flow
Hole 2 & 11: Observer mindset
Hole 3 & 12: Playful mindset
Hole 4 & 13: Creator mindset
Hole 5 & 14: Gratitude mindset
Hole 6 & 15: Transpersonal mindset
Hole 7 & 16: Awe mindset
Hole 8 & 17: Growth mindset
Hole 9 & 18: Intention to the unity
Flow recall alignment
What you think is what you become and what you consistently perform before each of the 72+- shots on every 18 hole game will cement itself as a perfect trigger for flow. A pre-shot routine described in previous section should be performed before each shot in order to get into the optimal state and produce most natural and unbounded rhythm. You are encouraged to develop your own version of recall trigger and adapt it to your own re-creation of the flow feeling.
Environmental flow alignment
Golfs setting in nature is also by default aligning us with the flow through nature’s own frequency. Pay attention to the beautiful surroundings you are finding yourself in and enjoy the view, the air, the sun and the greens.
Flow must be trained and internalized before it is able to manifest itself on golf course or in competition, where the goal is to make small alignments, just to keep us in the flow. It is important to understand that the more we apply triggers to everyday situations, the more we train and internalize our flow experience. By choosing appropriate triggers, we are able to adapt interventions to ourselves or clients in a wide array of different setups.