BY SARAH CLARIDGE
IN a former life – actually in the 1990s – I wrote six articles for Lady Golfer magazine and in recent years a few that made it into the PGA Professional magazine read by only golf professionals.
Given the current Covid-19 pandemic, I feel compelled to pick up my laptop again.
The characteristics I have embraced and love about my West Cork friends and colleagues is their sense of fun, their social interaction and their sheer determination to win. However, the world is in crisis over Covid-19 and the social interaction is being stifled by ‘social distancing’ – and rightly so.
GAA, rugby, soccer and team sports are being curbed by the spread of this infectious disease. How will we cope? Well, two things come to mind.
The first being the fact that golf will almost certainly be the most positive and beneficial sport that we can play without restriction, as long as we don’t linger around the flagstick or the 19th hole!
Imagine, we can drive to the golf course with no other humans on board, then park up, get those clean clubs ready and it’s off to greet your friends in a socially distancing way – click heels, dab elbows or bum bump – and you’re on the way to the first tee.
Now, I’m quite sure that you all know how far ten feet is, as you sink putts that long all the time, so make sure you keep that distance away from your friends whilst on the course and you’ll be enjoying the benefits.
So, what are the benefits? The first is ‘getting away’. Whether that’s from the constant barrage of social media, news and just your friends and family obsessing over Covid-19, the golf course peace will be a welcome rest.
Of course, there’s the 639 muscles you use every time you swing a golf club, the 10km in steps that burn off 800 calories per round and the benefits of problem-solving and strategy to the brain as you craft your way around the course.
Just remember this, that allowing to stretch your eyes into nature and breathing that amazing West Cork air has scientifically been proven to heel the soul and clear the head.
Lastly, as I did say there were two things! Unfortunately, I had to postpone the Mind Factor workshop with Dr Karl Morris on March 12th at Skibbereen Golf Club – it’s now scheduled for October 8th – but, very timely, he mentions in his book, The Lost Art of Playing Golf. about gaining the ‘Skill of Gratitude’.
Karl writes that a 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following terrorist attacks on September 11th. Recognising all you have to be thankful for, even during the worst times of your life, fosters resilience.
When we embrace the feelings of gratitude, we release into our systems a whole different bunch of chemicals. Our cortisol levels drop, stress reduces and our sense of wellbeing increases.
- Sarah Claridge, Professional at Skibbereen Golf Club, will be introducing something different to her coaching products by introducing ‘Play golf with the Pro’ golf lessons on the golf course to follow Covid-19 distancing advice. Skibbereen Golf Club green fee rates are: €20 for 9 holes, €35 for 18 holes and if you play golf with a member, 9 holes are €10 and 18 holes are €20. For more information call or text Sarah on 083-8524917.