Taiji and Golf
by Professor Hang Chang Chieh
I have been a regular weekend golfer since 1984 and I have learnt Taiji under Master Rennie Chong since 1998 when I turned 50. But it did not occur to me that these two different exercises could be related until Master Chong recently indicated to me that I might improve my golf swing using Taiji principles. On reflection, I then realized that while most golfers complained that their games got worse with age, I was able to maintain the standard of my golf game even when my physical strength became weaker with age. My regular Taiji practice has indeed strengthened my legs and stamina, which in turn enabled me to enjoy walking and playing the 18 holes, 4.5 hours game in the hilly golf course at the age of 65 - I could happily report to my family every Sunday after my golf game that I have again passed this "outdoor treadmill" test!
Over the last one year, I was sufficiently intrigued by Master Chong's remark on improving my golf swing that I decided to test his theory. I recalled that I have better appreciated the meaning of "song" in Taiji - relaxing the muscles while maintaining the posture, which enables taiji movements to become more natural and smoother. I applied this finding to my golf swing, by relaxing my arm muscles and allowing my body and waist to lead the turning during the upswing of the golf club; this has resulted in a less hurried down swing and a more impactful strike at the ball. I could nowadays hit the ball longer and straighter, and my golf game score has consistently improved much to the surprise of my regular golf partners. They insisted that I must have gone for secret training under a special golf coach!