You're Not As Bad As The Golf Industry Thinks You Are !
I ask golfers all the time, “What kind of handicap do you have?”. I get the same answer way too often – “I’m not very good.” Then they’ll tell me they play to an 18, or a 15, or even a 10 ! Some will act ashamed by their answer. Huh !?
Do you realize how damn hard this game is ? We have this little white ball that is less than 2” in diameter, and weighs less than two ounces, and our objective is to get it into a 4-1/4” diameter hole in the ground that is somewhere around a quarter of a mile away – in only four or five strokes !
And in between us and that hole are trees, long grass, water, bunkers . . . .seems to me that we are attempting the darned near impossible !
But we think we are “not any good” for several reasons.
First, we see the pros on TV do miraculous things with a golf ball. Well, we’re not nuclear scientists, brain surgeons, computer designers, etc., etc. either.
Those few hundred guys on tour have dedicated their lives to striking a golf ball – that’s all they do. They started with God-given athletic talent, then supplemented that with thousands of hours of practice, continual professional instruction, mental coaching . . . you get it. ?
How can you compare your recreational endeavor to a trained, committed professional ?
They’re good at golf, but not one of them could carry your briefcase or tool box or whatever for a day and even come close to what you do for a living either.
But to me, maybe even more influential on our self-worth as it applies to our golf games is the constant stream of drivel from the major golf companies telling us that we’re not any good.
Their subliminal message is this: “You have no chance of hitting the ball anywhere near the center of the clubface, so we’re going to make it as big and forgiving as we possibly can.”
Well, I think you are a much better golfer than you give yourself credit for being. I think most of your misses are not bad swings, or lack of talent, but simply because you were not set up properly, or you had negative thoughts creep in, or you went “brain dead” for a moment.
Engineering in the golf clubhead cannot help that.
If you’ve ever hit a good shot, then you can do it most of the time. It doesn’t take hundreds of hours of practice, but it does take a mental commitment to get your best out of each shot.
I’ll be addressing this topic more – playing YOUR best most of the time – in the weeks ahead, but in the meantime, please use our “Ask Terry” button to tell me what you’d like to hear about most.
Let’s make 2008 your best golf year ever !
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[ comments ]
Couldn't agree more....much of their marketing is centered upon the idea that we can improve only through new innovations in technology.....at some point improvements in technology will start to plateau but that would be bad for business if they don't convince the general golfing public about their "weakness"
Its very true regarding the mental side of the game. I play off 9 and many of my mates have better swings but play off much higher handicaps. They often ask for tips on the course about how they can hit the ball with more consistency or putt those short putts better. I have never given mechanical advise, that'd for our local golf pro. I will say "stop trying to do all the things you were told in the lesson, stop trying to hit the ball clean, stop trying to guide the ball straight into the cup. Do all that off the course on the practice fairway, at the range or in the lounge room. What you have today has to be what comes naturally. If you are hitting the ball a little left today, dont correct it if thats what is natural, aim a little right instead. Correct away from the course cause today is game day".
I didn't come up with this all myself either. It took me 2 years of playing of 16 and going backwards every round until I read Books from Dr Bob Rotella. I highly recommend these set of books to all golfers.
Stephen Jones says:
I heard Mark Allen (former Australian pro) make this type of comment a couple of years ago and it really struck a chord with me.
When I play my best it is clearly good enough. I just need to play my best golf more often and no new ball or club has ever helped in this regard.
I play off 18 but my records show that in any 10 rounds of golf at my course, I usually par every hole and birdie a couple - just not all on the same day, and usually mixed in with a couple of 7s. If I actually played my best golf for a whole round, I would shoot sub par.
Terry, great blog. I often have a read but this is my first comment.
Right On.... I dreamed of breaking 100, then 90, then 80, now 78-85 most rounds on most courses. Very happy except for paying my skins buddies too often. Zen n Yoga helped me w contentment and rythmn and willingness to give up some distance vs risk to keep ball in play. A good round = No Doubles now. Up-n-Downs are the real joy of golf 4me. Hope your wedges help there Eidolon... All 4! "Throwing Darts in the Heartland"
While technology does help lower your golf scores to a certain extent, practice will take it down even further. However, in my mind what most amateurs, and mid handicappers, can benefit from the most concerning their scores is course management. Think about this, seriously, close your eyes and recall your last round. How many times did you hit driver on par 4's or lay up for a full swing wedge on the par 5's? We're all leaving at least 5 strokes on the course because golf marketers are making us believe the longer you hit the ball the better you are. NOT ALWAYS TRUE. Play a few rounds with course management at the tip of your mind and see if you notice a lower score on your card. I know I certainly did.
This is an excellent point, Troy. There are countless times in a round of golf where we all make decisions that are really not "playing the odds". You've just inspired me to write on that topic, so tune in.
I think there's a difference between technology that helps the average golfer get better, and what I consider crutch clubs.
I don't have a problem with the square drivers we've seen over the last couple of years (although I don't personally play one). Technology that can help just about anyone hit the ball straighter can't be all bad.
Now when I see a major manufacturer mass market a chipper with the loft of an 8-iron, well then I start to think that we're all being treated like no talent hacks.
Unfortunately, the idea of going out and just having some fun seems to get lost in the marketing.
William Marshall says:
I agree. I certainly have lost some physical edge which I had in years gone by but still make enough good swings to know I can still do it and more than enough poor swings to know it is the mental sharpness and focus that makes the most difference in my game - not technology. But most of us keep hoping our new club(s) will fix our game but we keep pulling the wrong club for the situation and hit it to the short side of the green. So what is really needed by most of us lower scores after they own good equipment, properly fitted?
I won't deny that drivers have made us a bit more straight and a few yds longer. and that club manufactures after about 1998 added less loft to irons so that most could hit it further then add balls that more distance, but barring that maybe 2/4strokes per round is all most got. most technology is just hype for the most part. I took a bet that I could play a round of golf with my 1967 northwestern club/woods and still score a round just over what I play now. and how close was it, an 81 and on avg I score about 77. so all this hype is just that. but if it makes you think your better in your head, that is good enough and will change the way you play...
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