Golf is like sex. Some people do it for years and never improve. But why? With input from GOLF Magazine Top 100 instructor Jon Tattersall, we’ve drawn up a list of the 11 reasons why you may not be getting better at life’s (second) most enjoyable pursuit.
1. You never practice
You know that whole 10 thousand hours thing? How it takes at least that long to master a skill? Do the math. Ten minutes once a month isn’t going to get you there.
2. You practice unproductively
Smacking drivers on the range until you’re blue in the face might give you a backache. But it’s not going to get you where you want to go. What you need to do is practice with a purpose. “Go to the range to get better at one thing, posture for example,” Tattersall says. “Once you’ve spent 30 minutes working on that and incorporating into your swing, leave the range.”
3. Your equipment isn’t optimized
“That includes your golf ball,” says Tattersall, who recommends getting your entire arsenal checked at least once a year.
4. You’ve got the wrong mix of clubs
News flash. You’ve got no business carrying a two-iron. You’re also probably not good enough to have more wedges than hybrids in your bag.
5. You don’t track your stats
You think you’re a great putter, and a middling driver. But are you really? Without knowing for sure, you can’t maximize your practice time, much less devise an optimal on-course strategy.
6. You’re not as good as you think you are
Two-twenty over water is not in your wheelhouse, but you always try it, because, well, your weakness is your fondness for the hero shot.
7. You’re too hard on yourself
On approach shots from 150 yards, the average Tour pro leave is 23 feet from the pin. But you somehow believe you should be knocking down the flagstick, so you berate yourself every time you don’t.
8. You ride a cart
You think you’re saving energy. What you’re really doing is losing touch with the natural rhythms of the game.
9. You think there’s a quick-fix
In a world filled with swing tips, you believe there’s a magic one that will solve all your problems. So you search, and search. You might as well be trying to track down Sasquatch, Tattersall says. “The tough news is it comes down to working on good principles long enough for them to become habits.”
10. You’re don’t hit it far enough
Sorry, but size matters. A good way to get better is to swing the club the faster to hit the ball longer. “Any good coach can correct crooked,” Tattersall says. “Getting the ball to go farther is a tougher task.”
11. You focus more on words than feel
You’ve gotten a lot of verbal instruction. But, Tattersall says, “Words don’t translate as well to performance.” Pay more attention to images and feels. It will free up your mind. And your swing.