Not so long ago Rory Mcilroy was seen as a very talented but very inconsistent golfer. He would blow hot and cold, never really knowing which Rory would turn up to play. But since taking an active interest in mindfulness Rory has found a new level of consistency and taken back the World No1 spot from Brooks Koepka.
So what exactly does the mindfulness approach involve?
Rory talks about the 3 p’s, perspective, persistence and poise. Taking regular time outs for simple meditation techniques has also helped.
Too often we dismiss meditation as something for spiritual people or weirdos but done regularly, this simple process of paying attention to the present moment not only helps performance, it also has significant scientific evidence of it’s positive effects on overall wellbeing.
“I have dabbled in it before, but never fully committed to it. You need to search until you find what resonates with you. I want to reach the stage where all the ‘P’s I practise are natural and subconscious.I’m not about to go and live with the monks in Nepal, or anything like that, but I’m making sure that I centre myself and put my head in the right place,” McIlroy said.
Since missing the cut in The Open at Royal Portrush, he has played in 11 tournaments and finished outside the top six twice. That is astonishing consistency. His last four results have been as follows: tied third, first, fourth and tied third. As he tees it up with the best in the world at Riviera in Los Angeles this week I’m taking a look at some simple tips from Rory for you to use.
How can you adopt a similar approach and get a new level of consistency in your game?
By paying more mindful attention to which version of you turns up at the golf course for a start.
Most of the time we are so consumed by our daily thoughts that we are running on autopilot and never really stop for a few moments before we play, to ask ourselves a few simple questions.
What am I thinking and how am I feeling about my round today?
What attitude towards my round would I like to have ?
How can I enjoy myself the most?
What do I want to avoid today?
How often and when will I check in with myself during the round?
These reflective questions allow us to stop for a few moments, to step out of auto pilot and develop a more mindful approach to golf.
“I’m spending almost more time getting my mindset right than I am on the range.” says Rory.
“I’m not living and dying by results any longer, or getting caught up in trying to play perfect golf,” McIlroy said. “I am not my score, I am not my results – that has been my philosophy. I also want to live a healthier life, and to separate the personal and professional lives that I have. Golf is a lifetime’s pursuit, it’s not a week-long affair. This is a lifelong journey of trying to master my craft.”
Whether you are a Professional golfer or an amateur, I’m pretty sure that you could benefit from being more mindful. As Rory says, this isn’t about sitting cross legged and chanting, it is about treating the mental side of golf as seriously as the rest of it.
” I always knew the mental side was important, but I didn’t have a structure” Rory said recently, “I had a structure around how I practised, hitting balls, chipping, putting. I had a structure around going to the gym. I had a routine, things I did, but I didn’t have a structure around the mental side of the game. I was basically leaving it to chance. Some weeks, when I was feeling great – the US open in ’11, the PGA in ’12, even when I won in ’14 – it worked. And other weeks, it didn’t. And that’s the difference between then and now.
So if you would like to explore what a more mindful approach in your golf would be like then please do get in touch. Like Rory, your consistency and performance levels may well go up a level.