I’m sure everyone is familiar with that old saying ‘Practice makes perfect’. It’s a bunch of hooey, I’m here to tell you. I think we can all agree that no one ever becomes perfect at anything no matter what amount of practice time we allot. So, maybe, the saying should be ‘Practice can make pretty good’ or ‘Practice can make you a lot better’. But, then, of course, both of these lack the concise, verbal fluidity of the original saying. Somehow, your little league coach yelling ‘practice can make you pretty good’ won’t make a 12 year old want to spend extra time running bases or doing pushups in the outfield.
Now that we are all in agreement that there are limitations to results garnered from time spent practising, how, does this relate to golf? Very simply, in addition to some athletic ability golf requires an innate IQ or an inborn ability to visualize situations that may not exist to the same extent in other sports.
While everyone is limited by their physical ability in any athletic endeavor, you can often become proficient in many sports by the sheer amount and volume of effort put forth. Yes, there are always some intuitive aspects involved, but, they can often be overcome by power, strength or agility. Not so in golf. Literally, every shot requires a precise interpretation of how we will approach the situation. The lie, the wind, the grain, the slope of the green, green speed, pin placements, sand consistency, bunker positions, out of bounds, lateral hazards, etc. all factor into whether or not our results are what we intended. And, at the end of the day, some do it better than others.
When playing golf, I will often hear someone say that they ‘need to focus’ more or ‘get their head’ into the game. What they are really saying is that their course management or golf IQ is not up to the level they expect. This can be extremely frustrating unless we come to the realization that some people just ‘see’ golf better than others.
Is there an answer or a solution? Yes, there is. Sit back and enjoy the golfer that you are. Work on the areas that you are weak in and try not to put too much pressure on yourself. Let’s face it, none of us are going to be professional golfers. Heck, very few will ever approach shooting a par round of golf. But, that doesn’t mean we should stop playing. It merely means that we should accept who we are and appreciate the fact that we are alive and healthy and playing a game that we love.