How to Have a Good Golf Game

Golf is much more than just hitting the ball, finding it and hitting it again. It is a constant learning process with unforgettable experiences. Golf offers you independence, but ultimately it always comes down to how well you know your limitations and the confidence you have in your ability. You must have the heart and head to play and the courage to accept the consequences. There are no shortcuts. Although there are many factors that contribute to success, golf requires patience and practice, as there is no comfort zone. Patience and practice pay off. Golf is a never-ending journey full of learning and discovery.

Golf is a tough sport. You are going to need to work on and try to perfect your technical skills. To become a professional golfer, you can start at any age. “As long as you have passion to play the game, you can fulfill your dreams” (Wright 4). The good news is that anyone has a shot at becoming a pro golfer. The bad news is that the game is extremely difficult to play at a professional level and the competition is fierce. To become a professional golfer requires putting in hours of practice. A young golfer should start playing on various local courses on a regular basis. One needs to take golf lessons and a have a teacher analyze their form and give them pointers for improvement. According to Wright a lot of players accept “the idea that they will have good days and bad days on the greens and therefore don’t work at it. In fact, study and practice produces results” (*). There is, and always will be, room for improvement. You also need to develop the appropriate mental and physical traits (10). You must practice the game every day and devote a lot of time to it. The golf swing will always be a work in progress regardless of how good it is.

The goal is to be your best every day. Once you start feeling confident in your golf game, it is time to get out there and compete. To further your golf game, you should consider going to a golf school. If you are in high school, see if there is a school golf team or club to join. To see how you stack up against the competition, you can enter amateur events. “Check with your local golf courses for more information about amateur events coming to your area” (Keough42). In amateur events, you can play against other golf amateurs. By doing well in some amateur events, that can give you the needed confidence to take your dreams to the next level. The first steps towards playing against the pros are beating fellow amateurs (44). Start by playing tournaments at your local golf courses, then state and national junior events. Success in those events leads to recognition for college scholarships, and so can good high school golf credentials be a very important factor.

Of all the many factors opening the door to golf, college golf is a terrific developmental ground. Robert, Bell, a student at the University of Minnesota, started his college golf career with this Division I School. “After visiting the campus and seeing the training facilities, I found that they had the program to best fit my needs.” It can have an enormous impact on a golfer’s career since you do not have to pay to play golf, and you do not have to pay for lessons at the driving range. You also get regular practice time with your team, access to weight training and the opportunity to compete at a high level. “Many professional golfers matured at the college level, on their school’s dime. Even Tiger spent two years at Stanford” (Elling 15). If you do not play college golf, you can still refine your skills at the amateur level and prepare to turn professional. ‘The technical skills are important to making it on the PGA, but what separates the best is the mental side of the game” (Green 21). If you are a golfer who loves the challenge and has the ability for making big shots in tournament play, you might have the tools to make it. If you play this game long enough, eventually you will face some challenges. It is how you handle those challenges that will define who you are as a competitor.

One of the biggest things to do is when you feel you are well above and beyond your amateur competition, is to go to Qualifying School. When starting out on a career to become a professional golfer, every golfers dream of success. The vision may be clear, but without a plan it is just a dream. Becoming a PGA Tour Golfer does not necessarily required going to college of winning past tournaments. What you must do however is qualify. “Each year there is what is called Qualifying School that covers six grueling rounds of tournament style golf where only a small number of players make it to the tour” (Duunbar 19). Anyone can go for it, but it is extremely difficult. According to Dunbar “The only other way to qualify for the tour without going to Qualifying School is through special exemptions” (21). Each tournament has a committee that set aside a few special exemptions for players they would like to attend their tournament. One final avenue to becoming a professional PGA golfer is known as the Club Professional. Each course around the country has a resident Professional. Gaining membership to this section of the PGA is done through apprentice program. A golfer must work under an established golf professional. Over time, and after fulfilling certain requirements, a player is recognized as a Golf Professional as well. “Qualifying School is held every year by the PGA Tour and allows amateurs to compete for a post on the pro tour” (25). When you continue to have success against top amateurs, this gives you the opportunity to explore your professional options.

At this point, finding sponsorship support becomes very important, because breaking into professional golf is very expensive. When you feel ready to take your game to the professional level, you should begin the process of getting your PGA Tour card. Once you register with the PGA Tour and pay the registration fee, you begin the qualifying process. “About 1% of the people who register for a PGA Tour card get a card each year” (Forsyth 39). It is a long and difficult process. You have to finish at the top of various events over the course of months. Mr. Forsyth points out that, “it takes most people multiple attempts, if ever, to get onto the PGGA tour” (41). Even after obtaining your PGA Tour card there is no guarantee you will remain on the tour. Each year requires you to play well enough to keep your PGA Tour card. “There are various ways to retain your card, such as being in the top 120 players or finishing in the top ten in a major” (42). One of the major rewards of the game is that every round begins with a new scorecard. Every time you walk onto the course, you play with the thought that this is your day to be the champion. With all the benefits of this career, it is clear why professional golfers say, “Play golf for a living and never work a day in your life.” (44). Golf is one of the few professional sports where you can control your own future. Even if there are no educational requirements, it would still be best if you finish a degree in college so that you have some sort of back up if you do not make it on the tour. To be a Golf Professional will surely take a lot of hard work.

Some golfers believe that you must have some sort of natural talent to have chance of becoming a pro. In a book called The Golfer’s Mind Dr. Bob Rotella states, “if becoming an expert means joining the PGA Tour then it is believed that a very minute percentage of us will actually make it, no matter how many hours it is.” This side of the issue believes that while most PGA pros have spent the better part of their lives playing golf, they still possess an underlying talent that separates them from the rest of the pack. “For every guy on tour there are probably 50 guys that did the same thing growing up but did not have the talent to take it to the next level” (Sotzek 112). According to Sotzek, “it comes down to the fact that talent by itself can be wasted without practice, work ethic, and desire, but at the same time desire, practice, and work ethic are all pretty useless without some natural talent” (114). While most professional athletes have a great work ethic, it is still their natural talent that gets them to the top of their game. The opposing views of the natural talent argument by Dr. Bob Rotella states “that is an excuse for those that lack drive, motivation, mental fortitude, dedication and the ability to sacrifice. All of these things can be learned and for many professional athletes are learned at an early age so it appears to be natural ability” (27). If you read any story about a top golfer, you will realize that they spent the majority of their life practicing their skills because they thrive on competition. That is the sacrifice you have to make. So after all is said, both sides of this argument agree on is that golf is a game that cannot be mastered. Most golfers continue to play because of the love of a challenge.

Playing great golf is much more than developing solid fundamentals and sound technique. It is about keeping all things perspective. A lot of players accept that idea that they will have good days and bad days on the golf course and therefore they do not work at it. In fact, study and practice produces results. The golf swing will always be a work in progress regardless of how good you are. The goal is to have a swing that is sound and works with every club in your set and holds up under pressure. The true essence of golf is capitalizing on opportunities and minimizing mistakes. It is a thinking man’s game t o a great degree. Every shot is your responsibility. As long as you have the passion for the game, you can fulfill your dreams. Dreams do come true. If you do become a professional golfer, you will have a chance to earn big money and at the same time, play the sport you really love. If you do not like to work inside and if you love the outdoors, you will surely enjoy this kind of profession. Often times, you will also be traveling from one place to another together with your competitor’s sand so you can also gain many friends. Many young golfers set their hearts on playing on tour, but plenty of other opportunities exist in professional golf far beyond the golf course. PGA professionals are top class players but are also experts in other areas of the golf industry form running golf courses, to coaching and teaching. Becoming a professional golfer is a full-time job that requires commitment and love for the game. A golfer can become mentally tougher by learning from past experiences, because the game is a constant learning process. The approach to achieving a golf goal is to formulate a game plan and proceed systematically. Along the way, there is a need to assess and reassess strengths and weaknesses honestly. It takes time and effort to pursue a career on the PGA Tour, but the end result will be worth it.

Bill Carlson

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