‘For some reason, I felt a immense sense of calmness inside’. The words of European Tour winner, Ross Fisher, after his seven shot victory, at the London Club. Why is it that winners never say they were experiencing inner turmoil, and contradiction?
As if, the inner state of calmness, is commensurate with excellence and success. Ross’ thoughts, ‘for some reason’ also suggests that this state, was not one he deliberately created. That it happened upon him, almost by accident.
But isn’t this nearly always the case, with ‘zone-like’ experiences? You cannot demand it. It happens upon you, when everything is in place. Curiously, Ross Fisher, had done no pre-course preparation at Ash. His first hole drive on Thursday, was his first glimpse of the course.
Which suggests, that he was totally free of expectation, upon himself. No pressure. No demand. Happy and confident with his game. And that this absence of pressure and expectation, created the conditions, in which calmness could prevail.
Calmness is a state of quiet, that means you don’t over react when things go wrong. And don’t get over excited, when things go right. It’s a neutral state, that allows you to rise above the ebb and flow of emotions. Calmness causes a sense of perspective, and gives you the feeling, that all is well. And that nothing is going to disturb this equilibrium.
It allows your game to flow, with the minimum of fuss, and the maximum of clarity. Of course, it’s not always the lack of pressure and expectations, that can cause this state of calm. Sometimes, experiencing intense pressure, can increase focus, and lead to a deeper state of quiet and calm.
It doesn’t mean that you don’t play aggressively. But that aggression comes from good, clear decision-making, not frustration.
If Ross Fisher, tries to induce that sense of calm, that served him so well at the European Open, then he will get frustrated. It will happen again upon him, when things are right. Which is when the player is happy with their game. And is not beating themselves up, for what they should be doing.
Golf is meant to be played in a state of calmness. But because of the demands players put on themselves, it is not the norm. It’s no surprise, therefore, that more tour professionals are seeking answers from the philosophy of Buddhism. Where calmness and acceptance are the order of the day.
A golfer who negotiates their round, in that state of calm, will handle most of the challenges, a tough golf course, can throw at them. As Ross Fisher proved, on a rain-lashed Sunday, at the London Club.