To ‘cart’ or ‘not to cart’, that is the question: whether ‘tis nobler in the mind……
I wonder what Shakespeare would opt for?!? Riding a motorized cart playing golf is not always a ‘given’ despite the fact that it has been made customary. To ‘cart’ or ‘not to cart’ presents an opportunity for a conscious choice. We only spend a fraction of our time preparing for and hitting golf shots while playing a round of golf. So, the question is, “How do we experience the totality of the time we spend playing golf, and where are we in the remaining time of a 3-4 hour round when we’re not hitting a golf shot?”
It may not be readily recognized, but walking enables you to BE somewhere – present to the experience, whereas riding is related to trying to GET somewhere – missing much of the experience. The benefits of walking include golfers’ intrinsic satisfaction from the likelihood of playing better golf and the resulting continued involvement with the game, being more present to each present moment while playing golf, appreciating the natural environment, and enjoying the physical and social stimulation it would provide. The benefits cannot be adequately explained, but only experienced by each individual. We can be ‘hypnotized’ by the standard protocol of cart riding, or we can make a conscious choice as to how we want to experience the 3-4 hours on the golf course. It’s much about awareness!
I believe we play golf both for the challenge and for the quality of the experience. If we believe that FLOW is a desirable experience, we’ll cultivate the circumstances for Flow – such as walking. So, what is Flow? Flow is present moment awareness – attending to each moment as it streams, unobstructed, into the next without feeling a need to try or accomplish. Flow just happens – when we prepare the circumstances to invite its appearance. The more often we experience it the more easily we’ll recognize it, cultivate it, and benefit from it.
While riding in a cart, Flow is elusive, time blurs, and each present moment just ‘flies by’. The habit of riding a cart may be a reflection of today’s fast-paced society enamored with speed rather than quality of experience. Relating golf to life, when we are enamored with speed and ‘efficiency’, the essence of each moment gets lost. In this mindset we miss living in the NOW, always trying to GET somewhere instead of BEING somewhere – present to ourselves and present to the experience.
My hope is that more golf facilities will encourage some type of walking for the long-term benefit of the game, the golfer, and each facility; and that more golfers will have the opportunity to experience being fully present to each moment that walking a round of golf can provide. The likely outcome will be an improved and more satisfying golf game, useful exercise, joy and satisfaction in attending to self-improvement, and physical, mental, and emotional well-being while playing the game of golf. Play, have fun, be present, and improve your golf game and your life!