Want to Boost Your Creativity? Head to the Golf Course
February 17, 2023 / by Shelley Cain
It’s no secret that golf is an all-around great game for body, mind, and spirit. After all, the game gives us good exercise, exposes us to beautiful courses and fresh air, and teaches important skills like patience, sportsmanship, character, and socialization.
But did you ever consider that golf is also an art that helps us think more creatively, on and off the course?
Let’s take a look at how the parallels between art and golf can promote creativity in all areas of life.
Golfers are like artists.
An artist knows that it takes time and dedication to their craft to become a better artist. This isn’t a short-term commitment, where mastery is achieved after a certain amount of time, either. Years go into developing as an artist, and only through hard work and dedication is the artist able to see results in their work. The same goes for a golfer - learning to golf doesn’t happen in a summer or by completing a series of lessons. It’s a lifetime of hard work on the game that allows the golfer to improve - slowly and steadily.
Golfers must think on their feet.
While we technically could draw a line from the tee box to the green, golf is anything but a linear sport. The number of things that can happen between the tee shot and the final putt is infinite, so golfers must constantly adjust their technique, attitude, and approach every step of the way. In the process, golfers must come up with new strategies and solutions - often in a short amount of time. Every shot requires strategy, quick thinking, and the golfer’s ability to come up with the best solution based on where the ball lies. This continual process of interpreting shots trains golfers to be flexible and creative in their thinking.
Golfers process situations and problem-solve multiple times per round.
What’s the best way to stay calm during a golf match? How can a golfer stay focused on the game when it’s pouring rain? What’s the best strategy to stay collected when a golfer is having a bad day? While we all wish each round to be picture-perfect, that rarely happens. So, we need to be able to adjust to all sorts of situations - and keep our cool while doing it. This continual need to adjust to changing conditions is a nice skill to have for the ups and downs of life. The more our brains are used to pivoting, the easier it is to adjust and adapt to all situations.
Golfers are exposed to new people, places, and ideas every single round.
In addition to the many ways the game of golf itself helps golfers think more creatively, the world of golf also plays a big role in sparking creativity. Where else is one exposed to people from different professions, walks of life, and varying viewpoints than on the golf course? And since the game is designed to promote conversation and camaraderie on the course, golfers from various backgrounds often find themselves connecting and learning from each other. These conversations and associations can prove to be priceless, often even sparking new ideas that could change the course of one’s life. In addition, since no two golf courses or clubhouses are alike, each round of golf can be a learning experience for golfers, exposing them to new, beautiful environments. Combined with the fresh air and exercise factor, the course can be the perfect spot to relax the golfer and allow for the time and space needed for creative thoughts to begin.
Golfers learn to be flexible.
Philosopher and psychoanalyst Erich Fromm might as well have been teaching a golf lesson when he said, “Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.” As golfers, we know that nothing is certain on the golf course, or in life, for that matter. By accepting this fact and working hard on our games, we become better and better each round. With this knowledge and willingness to put in the work no matter what…the sky’s the limit for golfers, in golf and in life.