A sorry start to my
attempt to be average

What a miserable start to my competitive year. Despite a promising round at the Old Course at St Andrews the previous Monday, I finished with 16 points in the singles Stableford back home in Glamorganshire.
I do have a bit of a medical problem to worry about but that’s no excuse for my abject failure to keep my swing slow and fluid. A series of jerks and judders sent the ball scurrying all over the place and the more I tried to keep my head down the more it shot up just before impact. And impact is hardly the word to describe the meeting between my club-face and the ball.
All you say about my score was that it was consistent — eight points each half. I finished joint last with Dafydd who also slunk home with the same score. I haven’t seen Dafydd to discuss our disgrace but he is my financial adviser so he is used to dealing with low numbers.
But before I brace myself for another tough season, an interesting statistic has caught my eye. I have long maintained that there are more hackers in the world than any other sort of golfer and from America a comes news that the average score for a round of golf is 100.
That figure comes from no less an authority than their National Golf Foundation and they say it hasn’t changed since the old days of hickory shafts. So much for all that advancement in equipment. Club and ball technology seems to be progressing every year — and so do the prices.
An estimated $4 billion dollars was spent in the US on drivers, putters and other golfing tools during 2011. That’s a big increase on the $3.4 million spent during 2007 and this was despite a decreasing number of people playing the game these days.
There were 25.7 million golfers in America in 2011 which is a drop from the historic high of 30 million in 2005 when Tiger Woods was on the rampage. I suspect his fall from grace might have something to do with a lessening of the game’s appeal.
But back to the point. We’ve never spent more on clubs and balls — and I expect the figures here mirror those of the States — and yet we hackers are still not getting the ball in the hole quick enough.
Mind you, any improvement in clubs tends to lead to the courses being lengthened and toughened up. What’s the point of giving us better weapons if you then stiffen the defences of our courses?
Still, my forlorn ten year quest to break 100 in a medal is suddenly put into perspective. When I eventually bust that ton, and this year may be the year, I will be able to claim a place in the top half of the golfing fraternity. I will be an above-average golfer.
Considering my many natural frailties, that will be a triumph — although Professor Anders Ericsson disagrees. His research shows that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be great at something; regardless of how much innate talent you possess. I can’t agree with that. Just a look around your own club. Some players have a natural aptitude for the game and if you don’t share that it is very difficult to acquire no matter how much you practice.
There’s no doubt that expert tuition and extra practice can make a difference. But not everyone can retain advice for long and it is easy to slip into old mistakes. It is wrong to think of hackers as stubbornly lazy, although some do fit that description, because some of us are desperate to improve.
My son says I’ll never play the game well because I have a lack of hand-eye coordination and nu muscle memory. I distinctly remember having a muscle when I was in the army but I’m determined to improve.
I am quite impressed with this quote I read last week from an American:-
‘Golf isn’t for everyone. It’s not easy to learn and it is impossible to master. It’s expensive, time-consuming, intimidating, and humbling. Its rules often defy common sense and some of its traditions are downright primitive..’
It makes you wonder how the hell we manage to get so much fun out of it.

3 thoughts on “A sorry start to my
attempt to be average

  1. Peter, In an article I read recently in a well known golf magazine, it was stated that the pros were hitting the ball an average of 30 to 40 yards further, however the average amatuer had perhaps gained about 5 yards and then only when he managed to put his best swing on it.

  2. Yet again Master,a brilliant column. As for your quest for the Holy Grail (breaking the ton) if I can help in any small way please call.By the way,today,I spotted Jon Dodd giving putting lesson. As for your minor health problem my thoughts are with you,cheers Bob B.

  3. Peter, Never mind the poor scores, what you have is a positive, ‘Never give in ‘ attitude and the ability to raise a smile. While you were away Mike raised the biggest laugh when he turned up in shorts on the coldest, wettest,windiest April day this century having forgotten his waterproof trousers were not in his bag. Take care. Max

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>