CARLSBAD, Calif. -- The Chopra Center is the centerpiece of the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa just north of San Diego. Here, in addition to exceptional golf, tennis, dining, luxurious rooms and suites and of course yoga, you can find your path to wellness and harmony. The center was co-founded by the one and only Dr. Deepak Chopra, author of 80 books and more than 20 bestsellers.
Now, there's a new holistic approach to golf that anyone serious about improving their game might want to consider. It's called Beyond Performance Sports, and the sessions dedicated to golf cover every aspect of playing the game, from exercise, diet and the best instruction to an incredible approach the mental side of the game.
Most recently, Chopra, a renowned pioneer in mind-body medicine and personal transformation who is also Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism, introduced this new program and his Beyond Performance panel of experts to visiting media. After he spoke for a while, he handed the mic over to Dr. Peter Mackay, a board-certified chiropractor and member of the Titleist Performance Institute.
"Just the resonance of that voice is healing," said Mackay, after listening to Chopra explain a few concepts to us how the program helps golfers and all athletes for that matter get the mind out of the way to allow for peak performance.
How the program works
Mackay is one of several experts in his field who are contributing to Beyond Performance Sports. He has treated world-class athletes from all major sports, as has many of the others on the panel. It's just one aspect, of course, but what sets this apart is that no aspect, especially the mental side, is left uncovered.
Omni La Costa is offering three- and five-day immersion programs, formerly offered only to elite athletes, now available to anyone with the means and dedication to see how this could not only improve their golf program but their overall well-being and life.
It breaks down into several categories: well-being and flow; psychology, process and performance; mind body; physiotherapy and bio-mechanics; technology and metrics; and nutrition. The expertise and technology is all encompassing.
Of course it starts with Chopra's teachings and philosophy. Summing it up in one paragraph would be impossible, but let's just say playing golf his way might evoke images of Chevy Chase's character in Caddyshack, "Be the ball."
Or this case, it's about becoming one with the game and your surroundings. Chopra, in fact, has written a book on playing golf on better plane called, "Golf for Enlightenment -- The Seven Lessons for The Game of Life," in which he explains an approach that certainly parallels golf lessons with life lessons.
Most elite athletes, of course, already have this mental approach. The problem, Chopra says, is when golfers focus on the outcome, not the process.
"It’s about the getting the mind out of the way," he said. "The mind ruins it."
Basically, to play your best, he says, you need to lose your sense of individual. When someone is in the zone, there's no sense of time, there's an enrichment of experiences and you certainly stay in the present. This is just the beginning, though. Because without good technique, fitness and nutrition, a great state of mind will only take you so far.
The best at what they do
So to complete this program, Chopra has assembled some of the best in the business.
One of the higher profile coaches in Beyond Performance is Tom House, considered by many to be the father of modern pitching mechanics. House, also a founding member of TPI, is renowned for his work with the best pitchers in the game, including Nolan Ryan, whom he coached through his sixth and seventh no-hitters as a member of the Texas Rangers. House transcends baseball, though, and also coaches golfers and other athletes. His insight into the physical aspects of athletics in invaluable.
"If your idea of getting loose before a round of golf is to hit balls, you're doing it all wrong," is one of House's many insights into how golfers routinely sabotage their preparations. To that end, he has some specific exercises designed to wake up the muscles before you play.
Other experts in their field besides Chopra, House and Mackay teaching the program include: performance coach Jason Goldsmith, who has worked with six major champions and three currently in the top 10 as well as athletes in several other sports; Dr. James Meshing, a leading expert and author in nutrition, anti-aging, fitness and wellness; Poncho Machala, as a successful serial entrepreneur and business leader who co-founded "Jiao," a leading wellbeing platform along with Chopra.
In addition, the program utilizes the latest in technology, including My Swing, RobGolf Pro and Focus Band.
My Swing uses sensors on the club and the body to create an avatar of the golf swing, which can then be compared to the ideal swing for that particular golfer. Using tones, it's also invaluable as bio-feedback tool to accelerate learning and feel.
RoboGolfPro is a machine that can help golfers reproduce their perfect swing over and over again. Through repetition, it helps golfers learn in minutes or hours what used to take months or years or perhaps even never, and feel an ideal golf swing. For some golfers, it's a swing they've never before experienced, thus not only accelerating but perhaps teaching something that might have been unattainable before for many players.
And Focus Band, which gained notoriety through Jason Day and his most recent success, is a device used with an smart phone that measures brain waves and helps golfers find the "zone" of playing without conscious thought. In other words, it allows golfers to reach a state of consciousness that allows for unencumbered motion and peak performance. As part the Beyond Performance Sports program at La Costa, each participant receives a $400 Focus Band.
Not inexpensive, but perhaps well worth it
Three days is $4,500; five days is $6,500. To put in perspective, though, it might do you far more good than spending $3,000 on a set of clubs.
Program attendees also get discounted room rates: $229 for single occupancy or $279 for a room shared by two. They also get 10 percent off all food and beverages.
Dates of the Beyond Performance Program are: Nov. 10-14, Dec. 1-5, Sept. 8-12 and Oct. 20-24.