HOW LONG AND WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GET BETTER?

It is absolutely amazing how emotionally attached golfers become to playing the game of golf and improving their scores. However, most golfers are unaware of what it takes to improve and how long that process may last. As we watch the PGA, Nationwide, and LPGA Tours on TV, it appears that the game is so easy for the professionals who play it for a living. How difficult can it be to swing a club and make a golf ball go where you want?

Anders Ericsson, a Swedish researcher, explored all aspects of skilled performance in a variety of activities and measured practice in relation to those skills. Specifically, he measured the time and characteristics of practice. He determined that every expert in every field of endeavor is the result of around ten thousand hours of committed practice. He defined committed practice as “working on technique, seeking constant critical feedback, and focusing ruthlessly on shoring up weaknesses” (Coyle, 2009).

One must understand the difference between “beating balls” and “committed practice.” Should you decide to embark on the journey of reaching your potential in the game of golf, here is the scenario:

  1. Find a coach (preferably a PGA professional who is an expert teacher), and develop a strategy for improvement.
  2. Determine how much time and money you can dedicate to practice (if you do “committed practice” 4 hours a day every day starting today, it will take you almost 7 years to reach your potential).
  3. If you cannot dedicate this amount of time and money to “committed practice,” enjoy the game as you play it now, and seek to improve in small increments under the direction of your coach.
  4. If you really want to improve your scores, practice twice as much around the greens as you do on your full swing. This also saves money, as most facilities don’t charge you for use of their practice greens, while they do charge for practice balls on the range.

If you have questions/comments concerning improvement, practice techniques, or specific aspects of your game, contact Dr. Eric Wilson, Executive Director of Golf Operations at Keiser University College of Golf at ewilson@keiseruniversity.edu.