Your left brain gives instructions like “Elbows in,” “Line the ball up with your nose,” “Keep your knees bent,” “Turn your waist,” “Follow through,” “Watch out for the water hazard on the right,” “Not too tight a grip,” “Don’t make the same stupid mistake you just made,” “Now turn your left shoulder, hit the ball, and don’t slice it.”
Your right brain visualizes the shot and where you want the ball to go. It integrates muscle memory that is learned from good instruction and experience. It senses distance and the energy needed to swing the clubs. Harvey Penick, the professional golfer and coach, said the most important thing for a successful golf shot was to “take dead aim.”
Golfers often describe being in “the zone” when they play their best games. “The zone” of golf is the zen of golf where the right brain and the left brain are perfectly synchronized. It is a state of relaxed attention where you accomplish more with effortless effort. When the left brain dominates for any of us hackers, we are doomed to disaster. Even the pros can get left-brain lockup.
How many times have we seen a pro golfer choke on the final holes when the left brain clicks in with “You only have a two-stroke lead,” “Now don’t make any fool mistakes,” or “Be sure you clear that water hazard on the left and don’t hook.” Golf is actually very biblical in that “what you fear the most comes to pass.”
When we can trust our natural abilities with relaxed attention, we do our best work, whether on the golf course or at our job or at home with our families.