Golf and Nature: A Winning Partnership

We know San Diego's own Phil Mickelson gives Nature a thumbs up. Golf and Nature

San Diego enjoyed a red hot day for sports last Sunday. Between Fernando Tatis Jr. of the Padres smoking another grand slam out of the stands and golfer Phil Mickelson winning the US Open, it was a good day to be on the couch enjoying their accomplishments.

We know San Diego's own Phil Mickelson gives Nature a thumbs up. Golf and Nature

We know San Diego’s own Phil Mickelson gives Nature a thumbs up.

You don’t have to be a big fan of professional golf to know and like Phil Mickelson, who’s from San Diego. He didn’t escape to Texas or Florida like most other golfers to evade California taxes. He and his family still call Rancho Santa Fe home. His win last week made history. He is the oldest person to win a major golf tournament at age 50. The runner-up wasn’t even BORN when Phil won his first tournament!

Those of us in Phil’s general age range truly appreciate what it must take to compete at the highest levels of his sport. Golfers today train hard in the gym, have nutritionists and physiotherapists, and review their swings on video. They want to stay fit as long as possible to remain in competition. And there’s even a tour for golfers over 50, the Champions Tour. Top players include Hale Irwin, who’s 76, and Bernard Langer, who’s 63. Jack Nicklaus is still playing at age 81.

How would you like to go to work everyday where Nature is your office? Photo: Jan Alexander Golf and Nature

How would you like to go to work everyday where Nature is your office? Photo: Jan Alexander

But I can’t help but think there’s another reason golfers are able to compete long after other athletes retire. They do their work every day surrounded by Nature. On a daily basis, they get up early with the sun, walk on the grass among the trees and flowers, breathe the fresh oxygen from all those plants, and see green everywhere. They hear the birds and cross paths with some critters. Yes, even gophers and alligators!

Many golfers talk about their relationship to Nature in their sport. Tom Watson, who has been the top-earning golfer five times and won eight championships, says “No other game combines the wonder of nature with the discipline of sport in such carefully planned ways. A great golf course both frees and challenges a golfer’s mind.”

"Happiness is a long walk with a putter." Greg Norman

“Happiness is a long walk with a putter.” Greg Norman

Golfer Greg Norman of Australia said, “Happiness is a long walk with a putter,” although Mark Twain said, “Golf is a good walk spoiled.”

It got me thinking about Phil Mickelson and his accomplishments: Nature deserves some of the credit. The science of biophilia tells us human beings have a natural desire to be close to nature. Scientific studies by the dozens tell us light, fresh air, and proximity to plants makes us healthier, less stressed, more focused, and more productive. Nature helps keep Phil and other golfers healthier – maybe even younger!

If golfing inspires people to love, appreciate, and experience Nature, we’re all for it. Photo: Gerhard G.

Phil Mickelson’s office is the golf course. It’s the ultimate enrichment of someone’s life with plants. This is what we are dedicated to every day at Good Earth Plant Company.

Even the US Golf Association gets the connection, and as more people realize the importance of preserving our environment, it is getting involved as an organization that oversees a lot of open spaces. It produced this video for Earth Day 2021.

Sure, it would be great if we could all work outdoors in perfect weather every day, and maybe even take some walking breaks with a putter in our hands. But what we CAN do is to keep up the effort to make more indoor spaces and especially workspaces more like Nature. Let in the natural light through windows and skylights. Improve fresh air circulation. Move people outside into collaborative spaces on patios and rooftop gardens. Even restaurants are realizing the wisdom of hanging onto all our outdoor dining spaces in San Diego created because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic presents a golden opportunity to rethink the workplace of the future.

When we need to work inside because of tech tools or weather, Nature needs to come inside with us as much as possible. Adding plants and moss walls is an easy, cost-efficient way to make this happen.  As we rethink office design after a year of working from home, there has never been a better time to throw out the old rules and consider ways to start fresh.

One of the greatest golfers of all time, Arnold Palmer, said “I believe golf can solve the world’s problems and stop war.” This might seem like an exaggeration, but since I believe plants can solve the world’s problems, I’m with Arnie’s Army all the way. Finally, everyone can agree with this wisdom from the legendary Ben  Hogan: “As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.”