Good news: You can be a good golfer than you ever dreamed of. Even if you are just a 90-s shooter, breaking the 80s, shoot par, or even become a professional is not impossible. You heard it right, regarding talent, those golf-playing millionaires you see on TV do not have anything that you don’t have.
But you need to remember, if you want to be a good golfer, it will take a lot of effort, not just a lot of practice. It takes hard work as well as an understanding of what is useful when you are playing, what is not effective and why it is effective. It takes a lot of deliberate practice to achieve the skill needed to play golf without any problems.
The term “deliberate practice” was coined by K. Anders Ericsson, a renowned psychologist, who researched how people can attain mastery in their chosen field. For professional golfers or people who played golf for recreational purposes, deliberate practice is all about improving your skills by pushing your practice routine beyond your comfort zone.
Deliberately practicing does not mean you pound the ball mindlessly to build your muscle memory (muscles do not have memory, you need to train your brain to coordinate appropriately with your muscle). We’re talking about widening your skills and ability by putting your brain in something strenuous and demanding like you are in a golf boot camp. Practicing with pain and purpose will let you learn to put the ball in the hole better.
What separates world-class golfers from amateurs is the work ethic and their mentality. Professional players practiced swing by swing religiously, spending at least 12 hours per day hitting the ball. Professional golfers will get at least five to ten buckets of balls and start hitting them until they perfected their stroke.
Amateurs will hit one or two buckets of balls without any particular goal other than hitting shots for the sake of enjoyment. Professional golfers are all about practicing the rotation of their lower body, perfecting the stroke, and hitting the ball the right way. To put the deliberate practice into work, you need to do these drills to help you improve your game and increase your skills.
You’ve heard about the saying “It takes 10,000 hours to master a skill.” It comes from Ericsson’s study of people playing the violin at Berlin’s Music Academy in 1993. Data shows that brilliant performers who master their craft compared to high school music players or amateur musicians, that they are mostly the same regarding skills and talents.
The only difference between professional, master musicians and amateurs are the time they spent honing their craft and spending time doing deliberate practice. By the time people can be called experts, they already racked up at least 10,000 hours of practice time, while amateurs only totaled half of that.
The study also shows that the 10,000 hours practice rule is also applicable to sports and other professions not just in music. A lot of experts believe that the secret in improving your skills in golf is to find the right physical sequence in making the club hit the ball straight and hard. It turns out that what happens in your brain is very important than what is happening with your body.
To have an idea on what is the “10,000 hour rule, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outliers_(book).
Your body can play golf all day, but if your mind is not focused on doing certain things, there is no way your skills will improve. It reflects the 30 years of scientific research into great performance in any chosen field. Top professionals of every kind like jet pilots, brain surgeon, musicians, business leaders, and athletes attained mastery of their craft through deliberate practice.
You might think this is a little bit crazy, but most amateur golfers have as much inborn talent in golf as Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson. Every person was born in this world with the same innate ability to play golf. People are born with inherited genes from their parents that made them short or tall. Whether it gives you the physical advantage or not when playing golf, it still up for debates.
But there is no such thing as “golf genes.” Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, or any professional athletes are not born with talent in golf. What separates these professionals from the rest of us is that they have a lot of hours under their belt doing deliberate practice that they accumulated ever since they decided they want to play golf — these professionals practice their craft a minimum of 12 hours per day, seven days a week.
They practiced golf until it became second nature to them. Take, for example, if you and Tiger Woods started playing golf at the same age, spends the same hours on the golf course playing, and has the same mentality and goals in life, 100% you and Tiger Woods will have the same talent and skills in golf.
(What is deliberate practice? Click here to know more.)
But more importantly, it means that you can be a much better golfer than what you ever imagine. You don’t need to worry about accumulating 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. All you need to do is to practice at least 3 hours per day for the next ten years.