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Stoicism is primarily rooted in the power of the mind. The Stoic Golfer employs mental strategies to overcome the many pitfalls and challenges facing the average golfer during a round. However, you cannot achieve these if you are full of crap food and drink. The Stoic Golfer diet for optimal performance can enhance your mental abilities. First up, you are kidding yourself if you think that you can utilise the power of Stoicism if you are a piss head on the golf course. By that I mean, if the game of golf goes hand in hand with lots of drinking alcohol. This is one of the key mistakes that drunks make, they allow themselves to be fooled with ideas about how their drinking doesn’t really affect them.

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Dietary Tips For The Stoic Golfer

If you have been a big drinker or have lived with one in a close relationship you will know what I mean. Same goes for drug takers who bring their highs and lows to the golf course. Stoicism will only work when your head, heart, and physiology are clear of chemical crutches. Stoicism is about accepting stuff in your life, not hiding from it or self-medicating to dull the pain. I, often, remind my readers of the fact that Marcus Aurelius was a battleground emperor, he was not some effete toga wearing type who stayed in the senate house.

Stoicism, appealed to Marcus, I think, because he understood the ever present dangers facing his men. Warriors do not flounce around half cut or if they do they don’t last long.

Eating Stoically For Best Results In Golf

Getting clear of the booze and drugs is the first step. The next stage involves ensuring that you are not filling your body with fast food and junk food. If you really want to play the best golf that you possibly can, then give yourself a fighting chance dietarily. I see people eating candy bars and lollies on the course during a round. I understand that they want to give themselves a lift and spark their concentration over the distance. However, sugar rushes and temporary highs take you up and drop you way down metabolically speaking. In my experience, this is not the way to go for best results. Snack foods can be a good idea but need to be made of the right stuff.

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The Stoic Diet Is ‘Suck It Up!’

Stoics are famous for sucking up what life throws at them. You could say Jesus of Nazareth was pretty bloody Stoic by dying on the cross. In fact, some ancient historians point to the influence that the philosophy of Stoicism had on those that developed Christianity and Christian thinking. The fundamental ethos, which sits at the heart of the game of golf is – play the ball as it lies! This is a Stoic principle. You don’t get to say to yourself, “gee, I don’t like where my ball is placed and it would make things easier, and I would feel better, to move it to a more amenable lie.” No, that would be cheating, according to the rules of golf. The Stoic Golfer must surrender to the reality of where his or her ball is placed and make the best of it. Feeling angry or bad about it, is not really going to help. In fact, it most commonly makes things worse.

Fresh Air & Slow Deep Breaths Are Stoic Gold

Taking plenty of deep, calming breaths is a great Stoic method for transforming these potentially frustrating moments on the golf course.

The simple things are often the best and too often we forget about them. You see, we live in an age of complaint, where we have been conditioned to whinge and moan about stuff that doesn’t go our way. You get on the golf course and the grass and the trees don’t give a shit. The game of golf doesn’t care that you’re not happy. The game of golf says, ‘STFU and get on with it.’ If you have been feeding your system with heaps of caffeine, sugar, and processed carbohydrates you are not going to be in the best space to deal with this rejection and indifference. Stoicism is going to be a bridge too far for you to reach. You are likely going to drown in your bile and outrage under the sheltering sky of the green cathedral.

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The Great Game Of Golf

Golf is a great game. There are moments out on the course when you launch a prodigious drive down the fairway and are slightly stunned in wonder. Few things in sport and in life are as inspirational as the well struck tee shot with a one wood. The reason for this is because it doesn’t always follow the script. If we easily and automatically smacked great drives as a matter of course the satisfaction derived would be substantially less. This is the natural balance at play in all things. Certain people enjoy challenging things. Not everyone plays golf. A lot of folk cannot handle the Stoic nature of the game of golf. The hard work it requires to master all the components of the game for maximum enjoyment. You have got to putt, chip, splash, pitch, play irons, hybrids, and fairway clubs well.

No other sport or game asks of its players to change gears more frequently back and forth with 14 different clubs in the bag. It is head spinningly difficult!

Drink Pure Water

This is why a good diet is so important for golfers to get the best out of themselves and their games. The number one most important dietary thing for the Stoic Golfer is to drink plenty of pure water before and during their round. Hydration again is simple, but blow me down, lots of golfers don’t stay hydrated whilst playing golf. I used to be a chef in hot and steamy commercial kitchens and drinking fluids, preferably pure water, was essential under the pressure of that environment. Now, the golf course is a much more pleasant place to test your mettle, but pressure, especially in competitive games, still exists. If you are not drinking plenty of fluids over nearly 5 hours of play you are crazy, in my opinion. 8 to 10 large glasses of water everyday is the basic requirement on non-golfing days in my book. Carry some chilled litre bottles of water with you, on warm days, whilst going about your business on the links for best results. Dehydration sends you into a reactive mode and your decision making will be poor. A Stoic sensibility is hard to maintain if you are not lubricating your system with pure water. Alcohol and soft drink are dehydrating, as well as full of sugar. Sports drinks are similarly often chock full of sugar and salt.

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Satiation Has Its Place Once The Golfing’s Done

Satiation is a wonderful thing in life! But is it on the golf course? To drink deeply of some sweet nectar has its place, but, perhaps, not while playing the game of golf. You see, Stoics know that too much of a good thing weakens the spirit. Addictions are built on such experiences. Golf is a Scottish game, meaning that it comes out of a dour and flinty consciousness. In the game of golf, there will be time enough for drinking when the playing is done. The 19th hole, the club house bar, can be a salvation for the battle weary golfer. On the golf course, during a competitive round, the Stoic Golfer does not stuff his face or consume litres of liquor.

The canny golfer stays sharp in readiness for whatever vicissitudes may be thrown her or his way. Do not dull the senses when duelling with nature with a small dimpled ball.

Eat & Drink Less For Better Results

The Stoic Golfer diet for optimal performance on the links eschews over consumption of anything but fresh air via slow deep breaths. It highly recommends liberal amounts of pure water to keep the golfer well hydrated. Snacks are tolerated if they contain the right ingredients. Sugar, in the artificial sense, is out. No lollies or candy bars please. Fruits are good, like bananas, apples, pears, mandarins, melon, stone fruits etc. Nuts and dried fruit mix is recommended also. Vegetable crudites with dip can be another snack option.

In my own experience, I am not a fan of gobbling down a burger or its equivalent after 9 holes. Although, plenty of golfers do and swear by it. We all have unique eating habits and digestive rates. Personally, I find that my game goes to shit for a couple of holes directly after eating a biggish meal. Digestion and fine motor skills do not coexist simultaneously inside my body, it seems. I look at the leading professional tournament players and do not see them stuffing their faces in the main during a competitive round of golf. What I want to achieve is maintaining my concentration and energy levels without sending my body into temporary stasis during the round. Small snacks get this job done. I tend to celebrate post round with a more satisfying meal at home.

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Walking Is Good For Your Golf

Walking is the way the game of golf was designed to be played. It goes without saying that some older and infirm golfers need to travel by motorised cart. The advent of motorised golf carts is an American thing and is more about making money than anything else. Modern human beings are physically weaker than their forebears. If you don’t actually need to use a motorised golf cart, then don’t. You play better golf when you walk to your ball and assess the situation from this vantage point. Marcus Aurelius would look at us today and shake his head in consternation at our shape. The Stoic Golfer understands the importance of the natural rhythm inherent in walking whilst golfing.

Exercise is an essential part of the golfing experience. To really immerse yourself in the golfing experience – walking is a must.

A Fit Golfer Shoots Lower Scores

Staying physically fit and healthy is a vital aspect of achieving your optimal performance on the golf course. If you truly love your golf, then you will do everything in your power to promote peak fitness. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of green leafy vegetables and minimising processed foods is a recipe for success. The more you outsource responsibility for your health into the hands of factories and strangers the less likely you will consume the right stuff. Learn to cook and to prepare your own healthy meals. A Stoic warrior is not unnecessarily dependent upon others. Roman soldiers were responsible for their own food and mess experience. These hardy legionnaires wore hob nailed sandals and marched thousands of miles through deserts and wild lands. They lived on cereal gruels and rarely ate meat, except on special religious days when they sacrificed beasts to the gods. They were the true Stoics, enduring and well drilled. Shield and gladius in hand they defeated armies far vaster than their own. Similar to the competitive golfer, they were required to execute under pressure.

Fail on the golf course and we have to live with the temporary shame of stuffing up. The Roman soldier, when he failed, was beheaded or gutted by his barbarian opponent.

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The Scottish Game Is The Stoic Game

When I think about those Scottish forefathers of golf I think about kilts and cold days on the links. Small balls for sure in the game of golf. Useful terms to consider as you make your way around the golf course during your round.

Austerity – the wind swept links are no place for the lush.

Rigour – the integral nature of the golfer demands this stuff, no matter the bad breaks that go against us.

Steeliness – the Stoic Golfer has great resolve despite the ups and downs inherent in the game of golf. Don’t ride the emotional roller coaster.

Thrift – the Scottish game is built on thrift, on the economy of the least number of strokes. The canny golfer uses smarts to get around the links.

The Stoic Golfer diet for optimal performance is similarly frugal and reserved. Don’t waste your energy during a round of golf – don’t be a spendthrift in the game of golf. Don’t blow all your tickets early on and having nothing left in the tank coming home. I like to remain measured in how I walk the course, to and from my golf ball when surveying the lie of the land. I suppose this stuff can get easier to do as you get older because we are all on the clock one way or another. It can take the form of a subtle mindset designed to optimise your resources.

Diet is a Greek term meaning – way of life.

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  • Take lots of deep, slow breaths of fresh air during golf.
  • Drink plenty of pure water to stay hydrated throughout your round.
  • Walk the course if you are not infirm or too aged to do so.
  • Healthy snacks like fruit or nut mix are better than burgers.
  • Don’t over consume any foods or manufactured drinks.
  • Eat a balanced healthy diet with plenty of leafy greens.
  • Avoid processed foods, fast foods, and junk food.
  • If you drink, save it for the 19th
  • Cut out candy bars & lollies during your round.
  • Cut out sugary drinks and sports drinks too.
  • Stoic Golfers don’t do drugs.
  • Moderation is the Stoic way in everything.
  • If you smoke you are killing yourself.
  • Meditate on the Scottish virtues, which formed golf.

Purify Your Psyche & Body To:

Develop a strong, clear vision for your golf game.

Let go of distractions and focus on the present moment.

Cultivate a positive and resilient mindset, even in the face of adversity.

Harness the power of visualisation to improve your performance.

Deal with setbacks and failures with grace and determination

Find joy and fulfillment in the game of golf, no matter your level of skill.

Robert Sudha Hamilton is the author of The Stoic Golfer: Finding Inner Peace & Focus On The Fairway