Golf is life II

I received some interesting feedback last week on my post that proclaimed the golf season is never over because … golf is life.

The way we operate in life affects how we play golf, and if we want to make a difference in our golf, we can start by looking at how our golf and our lives intersect.

It was with this theme in mind that I invited folks to my Tuesday, November 30 online session, which I’ve since called the ‘Golf is Life: Online Golf Nerd Group.

There’s room and still time to register. If you wish to join, simply send me an email—to

I got a great response from some folks who were enthused by the Ted Lasso reference that “football is life.” I also got three unsubscribes which I could interpret as ‘I don’t agree,’ or another reason. (I never know why people unsubscribe because no one ever tells me.)

But it’s really interesting how life works.

Just after sending the blog, I saw a tweet from Scott Fawcett, founder of the DECADE scoring system, that included a snippet that said much the same thing. (Fawcett was quoting from Josh Waitzkin’s book, The Art of Learning.)

“Those who excel are those who maximize each moment’s creative potential. For these masters of living (are) present to the day-to-day learning process (that) is akin to that purity of focus others dream of achieving in rare climatic moments when everything is on the line,” Waitzkin wrote.

“The secret is that everything is always on the line. The more present we are at practice, the more present we will be in competition in the boardroom, at the exam, the operating table, the big stage.

“If we have any hope of attaining excellence, let alone showing what we’ve got under pressure, we have to be prepared by a lifestyle of reinforcement. Presence must be like breathing.”

(I invite you to check out our fascinating interview with Fawcett on #182 of our Swing Thoughts podcast. Like me, I’ll bet you’ll learn a ton.)

And for additional reinforcement to my contention that golf is life, I have an ally in none other than legendary coach Fred Shoemaker.

“People say that golf is a metaphor for life. It’s not,” Shoemaker said on Karl Morris’s Brain Booster podcast.

“Golf is life. The way you are in life, of course, you’ll bring it to the golf course. It’s just you. Your relationship to your body, your capacity to be present, all of that is reflected in every stroke.”

What I find fascinating here is that most golfers look for salvation in their mechanics, whereas there is a growing awareness that how we think and feel has a greater influence on the quality of our golf.

This fixation with mechanics is bolstered by what I call golf culture.

For example, if we see a PGA Tour player flare a shot right, the TV analyst may do a slow-motion review of the swing and note some kind of swing flaw that caused the shot push, such as ‘he got stuck on his downswing.’

But consider that the hypothetical player has made a bogey that moves him within a shot of missing the cut, and there’s out of bounds left on his tee shot.

It’s far more probable that the player was worried about hitting it OB, and his swing was tense and out of rhythm.

Let’s say our player has missed a number of cuts lately, his confidence is waning. And let’s consider that his partner has been complaining that he is “half listening” to her. Why? Because he’s always worrying about his future as a professional golfer.

Thus, if he’s unable to be present in all facets of life, he’s going to struggle on and off the course.

That’s the context for our Golf is Life: Online Golf Nerd Group.

We can take a look at how we’re showing up in all parts of our lives, learn from each other, illuminate our blind spots, and expand our awareness so we can play golf and live in alignment with what’s truly important. And, sure, come closer to playing golf with a sense of mastery.

I am excited about acting as host for the group because I’ve experienced how this kind of structured group experience can be transformative.

And fun.

Please join us on Tuesday, November 30.

To register, send an email to

About Tim O'Connor

Tim O'Connor is a golf coach, an award-winning writer, and speaker. Tim takes a holistic approach, coaching golfers in the physical and mental aspects of golf. He co-hosts the Swing Thoughts podcast with Howard Glassman, and is the author of The Feeling of Greatness: The Moe Norman Story. He plays bass in CID—a Guelph punk band!