by: B.J. Hathaway
Supposedly it’s bad lack to even speak golf’s most notorious dirty word, the s***k and I suppose writing it could bring down the wrath of the golf gods. But alas there is another dirty word, a word so foul among some golfers that the mere utterance brings a scowl or instant change in conversation. The word is not score, quadruple, or fat but that awful little word called practice.
To a point, I understand the reluctance of some people to practice especially this time of year. Augusta in summer is about as pleasant as working in a steel mill with the heat and humidity we have. Fortunately AGI is located at a great facility with a shelter and fans to keep cool. But even then some folks just don’t want to work at getting better. For me that’s always been a bit of a mystery because of my involvement in other sports it became apparent that most of us are not born athletes but with some effort we can become better than average.
Over this last year I’ve read just about every book about Ben Hogan that is available and his practice sessions are legendary. Now here was a man who loved to practice, so much in fact that when he could no longer play his wife spoke about how much he missed it. When asked if he needed to practice he said, “oh yes definitely I need to practice because there’s at least ten things I need to work on.” But, you say, Mr. Hogan was a perfectionist and he enjoyed hitting 1200 balls a day and I don’t have time for that.
I would agree, we are all busy and highly distracted. I would also say we live in an age where people expect instant gratification and if something isn’t “easy” we move onto something else. I think part of what is missing in that logic is that the allure of golf is that it constantly presents a new challenge. If we could all shoot 64 every day, golf would soon lose it’s appeal and we would seek a new challenge.
Maybe another part of the problem is that we watch the Pros on television and they make it look so easy and effortless but when we pick up a club it may as well be a pitchfork. What we fail to realize or perhaps even know is that those guys and girls spent hundreds of hours (more like thousands) over many years to reach a point where it looks easy.
The point of my lecture is this: perhaps you hate practice because you don’t know how to do it right. And it’s not your fault, there is not an abundant supply of great information on how you personally need to practice. The good news is that we are offering supervised practice and that some of that can actually be done at home, in the air conditioning! We can design a practice routine suited to your specific goals that can guarantee a performance gain and you won’t have to hit those 1200 balls a day.
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