Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | June 19, 2009

Golf and Taoism

The entire game of golf is one big taoist metaphor. I took up the game many years ago, took lessons, tried my hand at it, and was horrible at it. I didn’t know tai chi then, and I haven’t been on a golf course since learning tai chi. I would, someday, like to get back on a golf course to see if my tai chi lessons and body mechanics would make my game any better.

So, first taoist golf lesson: play it as it lies. The golfer hits the ball, and wherever he lands, he’s got to take his next shot from there. In life, sometimes we land on the fairway, and the next shot is fairly easy. Sometimes it’s in the rough and we have to power it out. Sometimes it’s in a sandtrap and we have to finesse our way out. Sometimes it’s in the water(I’m very familiar with that) and you have to take the loss.

Next few lessons: relax. Let the club hit the ball. Don’t tense up or force the shot. Be natural. Swing. What is tai chi except learning how to swing? Keep your head down. Focus on the here and now, be present. If you’re thinking about the next shot or the next hole, you’ll muff the present shot.

Courtesy and protocol. Rules.

There are 18 holes. There are “par” scores. What is the lesson in these. I have to think on it more. Mulligans or no mulligans? In the pros, there are no mulligans or do-overs or gimme shots.

Now if only the universe would be kind enough to yell “fore” when a misplayed shot is headed toward our head to give us some warning like they do in golf…or does it? Maybe we just need to learn how to recognize the language the universe uses to yell FORE!



  1. Great blog Mike. I’m sure our visitors would love to discover your site too. Add a free listing at Tao Directory if you like.

  2. Glad to see that this site works well on my iPhone , everything I want to do is functional. Thanks for keeping it up to date with the latest.

  3. Interesting. I’ve recently thought many of the same things re golf & Taoism.

    I’ve never played on a real golf course before, only on small par 3s and miniature golf. Still, I think you’re on to something. I think it would be a grand experiment!

    Who knows? Maybe I’ll give it a try one day. I think the biggest lesson I would utilize from my Taoism is to not get caught up with the scoring. I would hit the ball and not stress about the outcome — just find it where it landed and hit it again.

    • I’m wondering now if a taoist would even try to get it into the hole or just go about the course doing his thing and if it went in the hole fine, if it didn’t fine. This also reminds me of a scene from the godfather. Was Hyman Roth being taoist when he told Michael, “I’m going to take a nap. When I come out, if there’s a bag with a million dollars on the table I’ll know we have a deal, if there’s not, I’ll know we don’t.” Ha! There’s a subject for a book–the Tao of criminal gangsters!

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