The golf world is advancing at an alarming rate. Instruction is now done with video and launch monitors. Golf club technology is far superior to models of the past, and golf fitness has become a thing ever since Tiger Woods started bullying golf courses with 300+ yard drives. It is no question that these advancements help, but why do golfers still have such a difficulty improving? From experience I have heard all sorts of answers. Some folks say that they started golf to late in life, while others complain that they don’t have the time to practice. Some practice all the time with no luck. Some fight nerves, while others blame it all on a swing flaw. Whether I am coaching an accomplished tournament golfer, or an average player who plays for fun, they all wish to improve in some fashion.
Accomplished players know that they must keep improving, and find that edge that pushes them past their competition. Average golfers wish to improve simply to make the game more enjoyable. Both types of player achieve greater success when they understand themselves better and become more self-aware.
Becoming a better player takes effort. It involves proper practice, guided through lessons, equipment that fits you, proper fitness, mental preparation, and of course, talent. However, until golfers develop self-awareness, the path to improvement may prove to be a difficult one. Golfers will be able to better manage themselves if:
- They understand how and why they make decisions
- They understand how they react under pressure
- Why things like slow play or no warm up may bother them
- How their own perspective affects everything, I/E how they react emotionally after each shot.
Through working with golfers at all levels I have realized that once golfers learn why things happen on and off the golf course, the ability to improve dramatically increases. Simple trial and error stops, and the learning curve is shortened. Lessons then become more effective and improvement comes much quicker. All golfers have strengths and weaknesses, but learning how to manage the strengths and account for the weaknesses is key. Learning one’s comfort area is crucial so they can learn to expand it. Great players are comfortable being uncomfortable.
Golf self-assessment tools are not hard to find. It is usually as easy as contacting a local PGA Professional, as most are equipped with some type of “Assessment Evaluation.” This is usually the best option, as many professionals become certified to conduct such evaluations. Some evaluations can even be done online through V1 mobile app technology. Another option I’ve found is www.golfscrimmages.com, which provides an easy self-assessment tool for golfers to use and understand without, or before seeking professional assistance. Regardless of the avenue, learning about yourself will only help in your quest to improve as a golfer.
Golfers, on average, are not scoring much better than they were 25 years ago even though instruction, equipment, fitness, and dedication have all improved. Improvement can only happen when the golfer understands why things happen to begin with. It’s impossible to fix things if one doesn’t understand why they are happening. If you are looking to improve your game this season, regardless of your ability level, self-awareness could be your key to success.
-Matthew Lindberg, PGA