Fly-fishing and Your Mental Golf Game

Fly-fish and Golf

Fly-fishing and Your Mental Golf Game

What do pro golfers do to get away from it all? Go ahead and guess. If you guessed fly-fishing, you were right! Pro golfers like Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mark O’Meara, Paul Azinger, Nick Faldo, Nick Price, Ben Crane, and Jack even Nicklaus get caught up in fly-fishing fever. And as you’ll soon see, fly-fishing and your mental golf game go hand in hand…

Chris Santella, a writer for the NYTimes.com golf blog, talks about the prominence of fly-fishing among pro golfers:

The two sports share more than their ancestry. Both tend to appeal to those with contemplative, even analytic, temperaments. Both can arouse a powerful, even obsessive, fascination among the faithful, as well as a never-ending accumulation of gear. The connection between golf and fly-fishing first struck me 10 years ago, when a fishing guide recounted a day when he had taken Tiger Woods and Mark O’Meara out on the Deschutes River in Oregon to cast flies for steelhead.

As my friend recalled this special day on the river, I noted that many golfers I know fly-fish, and vice versa. Perhaps it’s the outdoor setting, pitting man against an indifferent if not inimical nature, be it in the form of finicky trout or gaping bunkers. Perhaps it’s the similarity of the motions of swinging and casting — the fact that the ball or fly goes farther when you move smoothly. “There’s never a locker room on tour that doesn’t have a fly rod in there,” said Davis Love III, a 20-time winner on the PGA Tour and the captain of the American Ryder Cup team. “Some of the guys will bring rods around with them on their practice rounds to make a few casts.”

So what’s the link between fly-fishing and your mental golf game? Pro Nick Faldo puts it like this: “Fly-fishing is like golf in that you don’t get a second chance, especially when casting to a bonefish. You quickly learn to get everything right — cast, line position, drag. One thing wrong, and ‘bogey!’ — you lose the fish.” And echoing his words, pro Ben Crane said: “[…]  You still have to be very focused. Where’s the fish holding? What’s the depth of the fly? Is it the right fly? In golf, saving one stroke a day can be huge; the difference between 72 and 71 can be $5 million. Likewise, in fly-fishing, little details can mean catching more fish. Out on the course, golfers tend to go all-in. The best fly-fishers also go all-in.”

What’s the message? Both golf and fly-fishing are mentally demanding. They require that the player be completely focused and immersed in the game in order to play on the highest level. Just like golf is primarily a mental game, so too is fly-fishing. That’s probably why the pros take such a liking to it! What are you doing for your mental game? Check out Golfersmind to give your mental game a boost: http://www.golfersmind.com/mental-golf/

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