Competitor extraordinaire, Sadhguru has tried his hand at many a sport and excelled at quite a few. Schedule permitting, he is always ready for a game of volleyball, billiards, cricket, frisbee or dodgeball.
In the recent past, in the United States, Sadhguru also played his first game of golf. Since then, whenever he has a break, in between meetings and conferences all over the world, he makes it a point to play a bit. Here is his description of the game and his own experience of what such a simple setup can yield.
Sadhguru: What excites me about golf is that it’s a really wonderful ball in terms of what it can do. No other ball, whether a cricket ball or a hockey ball, has that kind of bounce in it. When I first started playing, I asked a few golfers, “How far do the big shots hit in championships go?” They told me, “A really great shot is around three hundred yards. They can go beyond that, but three hundred yards means it’s really great. Anywhere, over two hundred yards is a very good shot.” I took a shot and just hit the ball. It went 325 yards. They said, “But Sadhguru, this is impossible. You have played golf somewhere.” I told them, “Even now I don’t know a damn thing about golf. But you want the ball to go there, I know how to send it there.” That’s all I know with life also. I want it to go there, I know how to send it there. I don’t know anything else. And that’s all you need to know. Otherwise you will know everything but you will not know where to go.
These people had played golf for three years. They knew everything about golf. They had read books about it, every day they went to the golf course, they knew what material the club was made of - too much technology but they didn’t know how to whack the ball.
With every simple aspect of life, people make a mess of it because the interior is not settled. If the interior is settled, if you know how to use a fork or a spoon and put it into your mouth, you will know how to hit a golf ball into its hole. There’s nothing else to it. Maybe a little bit of practice is needed, but you don’t have to act so funny to hit the ball. No one has to tell you how to stand or how to hold the club. That much intelligence is built into your body. If you have enough intelligence and control to put food properly into your mouth, you have enough control to play golf too.
Life can happen effortlessly. Everything is being made difficult because the essential inner nature is not settled.
A subtle game
Sadhguru: Golf is a very subtle game. The simplicity of it makes everyone attempt it, but the subtlety of it makes almost everybody get frustrated with it. One important thing about the game is that you are not playing the game with anyone. It is more about you, the course and the situation. There are competitions, but essentially the game is with you. When you play cricket, someone throws the ball at you and you have to hit it. In golf, the ball is sitting right there. It looks like the most stupid and easy game, but when you try to play it you will see it is so subtle. You don’t need any competition from anyone. Just your own body and mind can play such tricks with you. It takes so much to master that. It is so simple, and if you can’t do it, it leaves you feeling silly. Unlike many other competitive games, it doesn’t demand a great sense of physical fitness or agility, but still it gives you all the challenge that you ever want in a very subtle way.
In many ways, golf is the game of the future. I think more people will take to it as they discover what it takes to play the game. It is more about mental prowess than physical prowess which makes you successful with this game.
I know this very well because I have been in this mind/body business for such a long time. The body doesn’t behave the way you think it is behaving most of the time. In golf, this sticks out instantly because the ball flies somewhere else. This is not seen in other games - not because it is not there, but because things are happening too rapidly. When you play soccer, ten people are trying to stop you in every possible way. It is not a simple thing. But everything is happening in slow motion in golf, so you can see it.
Golf is good for old people but young people have also taken to it. It has become a good game for everyone now, because anyway young people are also not as fit as they used to be, so golf comes early in their life now. For people who think too much of themselves, I think it kind of brings them down a bit, which is good.
The thing about golf is, “less is more” – not only the score, in everything that you do. If you try to do more, you will be all over the place.
On a certain day, when you got it all figured out that this is the shot you are going to take, this is the club etc., not one thing goes right. This is not because the stars are not aligned, this is because that is how the system is. This is something that I always am conscious of with everything that I do. On certain days I won’t take up certain things because I know these things will not go well with me on that day. Golf makes it stick out. People who are not aware of this realize that on a certain day, everything goes right. It’s not because of luck, it is because your body and mind are working in a certain way. Golf is definitely a kind of a gauge for somebody who does not have his own awareness to gauge what kind of state he is in today.