Gestalt Golf

Esalen's Mike Murphy and Dick Price combined in one concept.
See the ball, see the ground.


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Mind on feet; eye on ball

© copyright Pam Walatka

Revised April 22, 2017

To practice zen golf, you just hit the ball. No swing thoughts. No visualizations. No target. You just hit for the joy of hitting.

See our zen page for a one page explanation of how to practice zen. Basically, you practice paying attention to the sensations of the moment, such as your breathing or what is happening around you.

Gravity is the greatest orientation device on earth. As long as you are on or near the surface of the earth, gravity will tell you which way is down. The biocomputer in your spinal column can compute where you are in relation to the hole. You can use the sensation of gravity as it acts on all the cells in your body, along with the information coming into your eyes, to understand on a preverbal level where you are. And what you need to do to get the ball closer to the hole. If you are practicing zen, keeping your attention on the sensations of the moment, your body will understand what it needs to do.

When you are getting ready to swing, get grounded. Getting grounded means feeling gravity as it effects your body, in as many cells as possible. Feel your feet. Which way is down? Plant your feet as though you were getting ready for an earthquake. Balance. Feel the direction of the pull of gravity. Look at the hole and then the ball, and use your feet and your eyes to gather the information that your spinal cord uses to compute what you need to do.

The job of your mind is to allow into consciousness the orientation information coming from your spinal cord. You do not have to put words on the information. You receive a complex combination of feelings. Just let them be.

Stroke gently.

It takes a few years of practice to get the hang of zen golf. Zen is not about improving or reaching a goal. You just do it for the doing it, to have the moment. Practice in general is a good thing.

Keep Your Eye on the Ball

Perhaps you have heard that one before. The eyes are very near the brain. Messages travel instantaneously from the eyes to the brain. If the eyes wander off, even for a split second before the hit, the brain is no longer getting information about the exact location of the ball. The brain needs that information to coordinate the swing.

No Visualization

Zen is the opposite if visualization. When you are practicing zen, you do not *imagine* anything; you just observe what is. This is this.

No Swing Thoughts

Do not talk to yourself while you are trying to swing. Just hit the ball for the joy of hitting.


I do not mean to imply that any of this will improve your score, but you will have your moments.

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