Throughout my three years of playing this game on a consistent basis I have learned three very important observations from people I have met while playing golf.
- Most golfers are really bad at hitting a small dimpled ball
- And those who say they can play well, typically can't
- Those who say little to nothing, typically can and will compete
Take, for example, the golf guy that says he is an 8 handicap but is really a 12. Typically I take the stated handicap then multiply by 1.5 to get the more accurate measure of a golfers ability. I give 1 point for the inaccuracies of the handicap system and another half point for ‘I am a better golfer than I think’ syndrome. In my opinion, the handicap system is flawed, giving inflated confidence to those who play on a regular basis and take the time to input scores.
Here is why…
Did you know that once you reach a certain handicap you can only post a max number on a hole? For example, my index is 9.4 but my max number on any given hole is a double bogey, which means if I shoot a 12 on one hole (which I have on occasion), I can only record my predetermined score of two over. See something wrong with that?
Back to “the golf guy”, who usually looks like he can play golf (PGA Tour Pro look-alike), speaks the right buzz words, then slices one down the right side about 190 yards with his driver, or worse yet, he tops it off the first tee. As the round progresses, statements like ‘I don’t know what I am doing today, I never play this bad’ or my personal favorite ‘It’s just not my day’. The bottom line is that we “golfers” are trying to hit a small round ball with a bent head, it's like trying to win a ring toss bottle game at a carnival. It’s harder than it looks.
Inevitably, the bad outweighs the good when it comes to golf, and all your golf sins surface throughout the round. No matter what handicap a player claims through personal assessment or through official handicap organizations, you can surely add on a few extra strokes for the overcompensation given officially or self assessed.
The solution to not suck at golf
It has now been about three years in my quest to reach par. I have yet to achieve my goal of a scratch handicap. My official lowest handicap was at 8.4 last summer; my index climbed when I decided to learn the proper techniques for the swing. It only took me three years to determine that I could not achieve my desired handicap on my own; I needed a team behind me. Seek help now, seek help often, and listen to a professional instructor.
There is hope for all us lackluster golfers. There is a path to improvement, which means making a commitment to the game of golf. A golfer will never improve if they play a few times a month with limited purposeful practice. The golf club manufacture that promises to give you an extra 10-15 yards is not the solution. Learning the proper techniques of the golf swing is the more appropriate path to increased distance and accuracy, ultimately leading to lower scores.
Now go out and suck less!
I leave you with a bit of levity...