Thursday, January 11, 2018

Golf Etiquette on the Green

Golf etiquette and golf rules are the soul of golf. Golf rules unite golfers of all standards, who play by the rule, and this is reflected in the polite manner and honesty in their golf etiquette. Although golf is all about swings, shots, and putts, the sport would not be what it is without the etiquette and the rules, the essence of golfing success. Golf requires only a few simple rules to guide the players, and these rules are simple and easily understood by anyone who has once sen the game, because the spirit of the game is its own referee.

Golf Etiquette on the Green

Golf has always been regarded as a gentleman’s game. Golf etiquette is the manner, honesty, and sense of politeness with which you play your game.

Here are some of the most basic examples of good golf etiquette on the green, and most of them reflect courtesy and your personality:

Golf etiquette requires you to be properly attired. Clothes may not make the man, but they certainly make the golfer, and no well-established player would come to the links improperly dressed.

Golf etiquette tells you not to bring a cell phone onto a golf course for the obvious reason that it may be disturbing to other players.

Walking on another golfer’s line (the route which the ball will travel from where it stopped to the hole) is not golf etiquette. Don’t step on it. Step over it. Better, walk around it. And that is golf etiquette.

Golf etiquette requires you always to keep a ball marker or coin in your pocket to mark (putting behind your ball) your ball’s spot on the green.

According to golf etiquette, you should pay careful attention to local rules, local notices regulating the movement of golf carts, and you adhere to local dress codes.

You must ensure that no one could be injured by the club, ball or any other object prior to playing a stroke or making a practice swing. Do not play until players in front are out of range. You must always shout “Fore!” when you hit a ball towards other golfers. This is golf etiquette!

You must always play, without delay, by keeping up with the group in front, not just ahead of the group behind. You must allow faster players to play through. If you believe your ball may be lost, to save time, you should play a provisional ball. When searching for a ball, you should signal the players behind to pass as soon as it becomes apparent to you that the ball will not be found easily. This is part of golf etiquette.

You must place your trolley or bag at a point off the green, near to your route to the next tee - before you put. This is another example of golf etiquette.

Golf etiquette requires you not to damage the putting green by putting down objects such as bags, or the flag-stick. You don’t damage the putting green by leaning on your putter. You don’t damage a hole by standing too close to it, when handling the flag-stick or when removing a ball from the hole. These are not examples of golf etiquette.

You must leave the putting green as soon as the play of a hole has been completed. You fill your score when you get to the next tee, not whilst standing on the green. This thoughtful consideration is golf etiquette.

You must properly re-place the flags-tick in the hole before leaving the putting green. This also is golf etiquette.

You don’t talk or move whilst your partners are playing. Stand well back.

You must always rake bunkers after use, repair pitch marks, divots, ball marks and spike damage.

In taking your practice swings, you must avoid causing damage to the course, in particular the tees. This is another example of golf etiquette.

Win or loose, golf etiquette says you must shake hands on the 18th hole, and then head for the 19th hole.

Always be aware of golf etiquette on the course. Golfers are good people, but even good people can have problem behavior at times. If you see flagrant disregard of golf etiquette, the issue become what to say and how to say it. Judgment and tact then become part of golf etiquette too. Remember, golf etiquette is golfing success. Golf etiquette makes the game enjoyable for everyone.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, January 8, 2018

Get Your Golf Wisdom from These Famous Golf Quotes

Get your golf wisdom from these famous golf quotes:

Demaret, Jimmy

“Golf is based on honesty. Where else would someone admit to a seven on an easy par three?

McKenna, Mark

“The art of teaching is a difficult one to master or understand: the genius is seldom a good instructor; the best players, just because they have found the game easy to learn, find it hard to teach.”

Brown, Eric

“The thing that looks easiest in golf are usually the hardest - take putting for example.”

Daly, Arnold

“Golf is like a love affair. If you don’t take it seriously, it’s not fun; if you do take it seriously, it breaks your heart.”

Kingston, W.H.G.

“Few games show the character of a person more than does that of golf.”

Fergusson, S. Mure

“Golf is eminently a game of relaxation of mind, if not of body.”

Browning, Robert

“There are three ways of learning golf: by study, which is the most wearisome; by imitation, which is the most fallacious; and by experience, which is the most bitter.

Osanai, Mamoru, Japanese professional

“On the course, I learn about myself, the sport, the other competitors, nature, discipline and mind control. It is an enlightening experience.”

Stephen Lau

Monday, January 1, 2018

A Better and Happier You in 2018

A Better and Happier You in 2018

There is an old Latin axiom: “nemo dat quod non habet” — meaning, one cannot give what one does not have.

If you don’t have the wisdom to know your real self, you won’t have the wisdom to understand others, especially who they are and what they need. In order to understand others to have better human relationships, you must first and foremost have the wisdom attained through asking self-intuitive questions throughout your life.

Then, with mindfulness, you observe with a nonjudgmental mind what is happening to you, as well as around you. Gradually, you will be able to see things as what they really are, and not as what they may seem to you: anything and everything in life follows its own natural cycle, just as the day becomes night, and the night transformed into dawn. With that wisdom, you may become enlightened, which means you begin to know your true self—what you have and what you don’t have, and you were created to be who you are, and not what you wish you were or want to become. Knowing what you have, you can then give it to others. It is the giving, rather than the receiving, that will make you become a better and happier you in 2018.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Applying Zen Wisdom on the Golf Course

Develop a strategy before you hit the ball. Good preparation produces clarity of mind, concentration, and composure -- the ingredients of mental golf wisdom. In addition, it is a strong testament of your full commitment, which ensures golfing success and breeds self-confidence.

Clarity of mind enhances your mental image of your shot -- how it should be played, the target aimed at, and the path intended for the ball.

In mental golf wisdom, concentration frees your mind from any distracted thoughts that may arise from the self or from the environment.

Composure, a result of both clarity of mind and concentration, creates confidence and focus, which are necessary for mental golf success.

You should focus on sending the ball to a target, rather than targeting on hitting the ball. Targeting the ball is often a problematic perspective.

When you visualize the image of sending a ball to a target, you swing becomes more spontaneous, free from any self-conscious interference. Remember, a too self-conscious swing, due to the fear of making mistakes, often inhibits a free, full swing, leading to a poor shot.

But how do you visualize a vivid image of your shot?

Practice the Zen’s awareness of your sense perception to enhance your vivid image created in your mind’s eye. Fully utilize the power of mental golf.

Sit upright, your feet flat and your hands palm  down on your knees.

Turn your awareness to your sense perceptions, one by one.

Without moving your eyes, notice as much as you can within your field of vision.

Turn your awareness to your sense perceptions, one by one.

Without moving your eyes, notice as much as you can within your field of vision.

Notice their color and shapes.

Notice the extent of your vision by shifting your eyes up and down, left and right.
Gradually, shift your awareness to notice your bodily sensation, such as your breathing and heartbeats.

Remember, focusing on only one sense while letting the others fade into oblivion helps you deal with any distracting thought during your swing routine.

Before each swing, develop a good image of your ball flying to the spot you wish it would land, bounce, and roll to a stop in the right spot on the fairway. Even if the ball has landed at the place you least desire, avoid having a negative attitude about yourself.

In golf, as in life, you have to make decisive decisions. How do you shape your shot? Do you hit the ball firmly, sending it through the break and past the hole, or hit the ball softly, making the putt fall off below the hole? These are some of the crucial decisions you may have to make on the fairway.

Your decision and the action that entails are determined by both your conscious mind and your subconscious mind.Your conscious mind is the thinking mind that plans, while your subconscious mind is the mind that coordinates your body movements. Your planning mind sends a message to your coordinating mind, giving your body an image of what your body is supposed to do. Unfortunately, if you do not make a decisive decision, your coordinating mind receives “two” different images, and thus becomes “confused,” rendering improper bodily movements that may derail your shot.

So, be decisive. However, it does not mean you should go ahead and hit the ball anyway. Avoid the anyways, such as having the wrong club for the shot and hit it anyway, feeling too close or too far from the ball and hit it anyway, or the ball is teed up too high or too low and hit it anyway. These anyways suggest only inadequate commitment on your part. These anyways do not reflect mental golf wisdom.

Once you have prepared mentally for your shot as best you can, with a vivid image of the outcome, you mustcommit to it with your body. However, it is important to remember that commitment does not guarantee successful outcome: it only gives you the best chance of success.

Therefore, pre-acceptance of the outcome, whatever it may be, is essential to golfing success. Why? Because golf is a game of percentages. You can still score well with good misses. So commit to your shot -- giving it all the best you can do -- even if it misses. And learn to be forgiving of yourself for those misses too!

In addition, pre-acceptance prepares you for any negative repercussion of stepping into the unknown future.

Just take your best shot and deal with the outcome.

Commitment is essentially an expression of your unconditional confidence in your golf. Commitment is not something that can be taught: it is acquired through pre-acceptance. Having dissipated your fear of undesirable results, commitment often comes as a second nature to you.

Right before the swing, your mind may become distracted with “internal conversations.” Do not fight them. Remember, your thoughts are not you, and you are notyour thoughts. Just empty your mind, or let your random thoughts come and go, without being perturbed by them. This is mental golf. Train your mind to treat your thoughts objectively. This is mental golf wisdom. Learn to relax to play golf, not playing golf to relax. Relaxation is attained through awareness and meditation. This is also mental golf wisdom.

Practice awareness, in particular, your awareness of any tension.

Lie on your back, close your eyes, directing your awareness to each part of your body, beginning with your toes, your feet, your ankles, your legs, your fingers, your hands, your arms, your shoulders, your lower and upper back, your neck, your mouth, your nose, your ears, your eyebrows, your eyes, and finally your hair on your head. Awareness is mental golf wisdom.

Repeat the awareness practice while sitting down. Then do it while standing up on the golf course, starting at the top of your head, your scalp, face, jaw, and neck, then to your shoulders, arms, and hands, your chest, upper back, lower back, belly, pelvis, legs, thighs, knees, calves, feet and toes.

The only tension you need is to hold your posture and hold onto your club for mental golf success.

Practice your awareness until you master it. Do it before each shot. Tension tends to build up in your jaws, shoulder tops, hands and deep belly.

In addition, enhance your awareness of your body’s center of gravity, which is the source of movement and energy. When you make the swing, you will feel your body’s center of gravity located a few inches below your navel. However, note that your state of mind affects your body’s center of gravity. That is, if your mind is full of distracting thoughts and tension, your body’s center of gravity will shift accordingly towards your head.

To diffuse any tension before and during your swing, learn to breath deeply and fully. Correct breathing enhances your mental golf.

What is a deep and full breath?

Stand with good posture, close your eyes, breathe gently and slowly through your nostrils. Visualize your breath filling out your lungs and the rest of your body.

Here is an illustration of putting Zen wisdom on the golf course.

Stand approximately eight to twelve feet behind the ball. Look straight at your aim line. Make a decision on how you will swing the ball. Conjure up a vivid mental image of your swing and shot.

Take a full and deep breath, inhaling gently and exhaling through your nostrils. Upon completion of your exhalation, approach the ball.

Walk mindfully by directing your awareness to the feeling of your body, as well as the ground as you walk. Meanwhile, continue to breathe slowly and fully.

Take your stance. Make your transition into the takeaway: you need to feel set, clear of distracting thoughts, and ready to swing from your body’s center of gravity. Take a last look at the target. Do not rush, but do not delay. Stay in the flowing tempo -- only you know what you feel best and what that tempo is like. If you feel yourself out of flow of the tempo, take a time-out, go back behind the ball and begin your approach once again.

For a perfect golf swing, your body and mind should be synchronized in the present moment, thereby instrumental in preparing you for mental golf wisdom. Remember, your mind not only directs your body but also gets feedback from your body. Learn to trust your swing and enjoy the game.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, December 11, 2017

Applying Zen Wisdom to Mental Golf

Applying Zen Wisdom to Mental Golf

How is Zen wisdom applicable to your mental golf?

Apply Zen wisdom to mental golf, so that you have a different perspective on the game. You play golf for enjoyment and personal growth. You measure your success on the process, rather than the outcome.

Apply Zen wisdom to your mind, which is the main asset of mental game. Enhanced golf equipment, sophisticated training aids, state-of-the-art videos for swing analysis may result in appreciable improvement of your techniques, but the mental golf wisdom holds the key to your ultimate golfing success.

Apply Zen wisdom to any difficult golf situation you may find yourself in. Mental golf wisdom decrees that you stay in the present, keep focused, clear you mind of any distraction, and do not get down on yourself after a poor shot or round.

If you are in a hazard, focus only on "getting out of it," and hence the outcome would become insignificant.

In Zen wisdom, emphasis is always on the process, never the outcome; it is always in the present, not the future.

Apply Zen wisdom to your attitude and mentality. How can you learn or improve if your mind is already full of your own opinions and thoughts? Empty your mind first! Have the beginner’s mentality: learn from everyone andeverything, and there is always more to learn. Settle and center your mind and body to change any unhelpful habit or behavior detrimental to your golfing success. The right attitude and mentality to learning and improving are part of your mental golf wisdom.

Empty any thought of having already accomplished some golfing success, otherwise you may lack motivation to forge yourself forward.

Remember, your mind has the potential to be as big as the universe. The more you empty your mind, the bigger it is. Do not just focus tightly on the hole: let your mind go beyond. This is mental golf wisdom.

Apply Zen wisdom to control your thinking and your thoughts. In addition to “always in the present moment,” Zen wisdom is also about awareness, about action with awareness. In Zen, awareness and mind are synonymous. Awareness is like a mirror, reflecting all your thoughts, perceptions, and feelings, but they are only reflections. Likewise, you have thoughts, but you are not your thoughts, because your thoughts are not your mind which is merely a reflection of   In Zen, awareness and mind are synonymous. Awareness is like a mirror, reflecting all your thoughts, perceptions, and feelings, but they are only reflections. Likewise, you have thoughts, but you are not your thoughts, because your thoughts are not your mind which is merely a reflection of those thoughts of yours.

Changing the thoughts can change the self: this is essence of mental golf wisdom.

How can you separate the thoughts from the self?

You identify with awareness, not your mind which is only a reflection of that awareness. As thoughts arise, you just let them come up and go by; you do not purposely invite them nor do you consciously dismiss them. Just let them be, because you are not your thoughts. With this perspective, your thoughts are merely words or images coursing through your mind, with no more tangible reality than those pictures flashing on a TV screen.

That is exactly what happens during a meditation: you focus on something, whether it is a thought or an object, and everything else may come and go, and your mind stays focused.

Apply Zen wisdom to perception of your true self, which is basically good. Give yourself the self-confidence that you rightly deserve. You do not need to prove yourself that you could be Tiger Woods. You do not evaluate your performance based on how you play your golf shots; if you do, you may come up with quick fixes and patch-up jobs, only further undermining your golfing success. Mental golf instills self-confidence into you.

The self-confidence engendered by Zen wisdom, however, is different from the “false” self-confidence based on unrealistic goals, or dependent on only positive results.

The Zen self-confidence is totally unconditional: your swing becomes free and spontaneous, and you play without anxiety, fear, self-doubt, and frustration. Your action becomes spontaneous, and so is the outcome. The self-confidence inspired by mental golf is unadulterated and unaffected.

In addition, Zen self-confidence is enlightening: you recognize some of your self-defeating habits and behavior that may hinder your golfing success. Do not analyze or change your swing; instead, change your perspective of how you should apply mental golf to the game for golfing success.

(More next time on applying Zen wisdom on golf course)

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Friday, December 8, 2017

More About Zen

Zen means waking up to the present moment. In other words, you perceive this very moment exactly as it is, and your thinking should not be adulterated by preconceived ideas, opinions, or notions. This mindset is the groundwork for mental golf.

To illustrate, you ask yourself the simple question: “WHAT are you doing?”

“I don’t know” may be the Zen answer, instead of “I am working at my computer,” because the former comesbefore the thinking, which will give you the obvious answer: “I am working at my computer.”

Once, you perceive the nuance and subtlety of “keeping everything moment to moment,” then you will become enlightened, and everything will be as clear as a crystal to you.

Remember, each moment remains with that moment; so, whatever you are doing, just do it -- the moment before and the moment after this moment has absolutely no bearing on this very moment.

If you are interested in the Zen philosophy of love, life, and death, you can read my novel, Forever Yin and Yang, which is a haunting tale about unrequited love, life and death, and Nirvana, which is the ultimate truth of Zen wisdom.

Stephen Lau

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Wisdom in Living

This is a completely updated website on how to live your life as if everything is a miracle.

The journey of life is long and unpredictable. We all need wisdom to guide us along the way so that we will not get lost; even if we do, we may still find out way back to where it will eventually lead us to our final destination.

This new website may provide you with wisdom as your compass and roadmap on your life journey.

Wisdom in living comprises seeking God's wisdom through understanding human wisdom in order to live a meaningful and purposeful life, even in the golden years. The ancient wisdom of Tao holds the key to applying these principles of life and living in this modern world.

Stephen Lau