“A golf ball can stop in the fairway, rough, woods, bunker or lake. With five equally likely options, very few balls choose the fairway.” – Jim Bishop
By Ian Hardie
In the article Why golfers almost always lose their golf ball if they start with ‘a new one’ I recalled hearing a quick conversation between a couple of golfers in a golf shop – one of whom was obviously considering buying a new golf ball before their game
The advice that they quickly received from the other golfer they were with?
“Don’t buy a new golf ball – you will only lose it if you start your game with it!”
As I outlined in that first article I found that advice to be quite fascinating but regrettably, it’s certainly not the first time that I have heard it over the years, however after spending some time considering just why it is that golfers will say that to other golfers
I’ve worked out that it this something that can conceivably happen to around 50% of the golfer’s in the world – depending on the location and the difficulty of the various hazards that the golf course they are playing on presents of course
Why do I say that this only applies to 50% of the golfer’s in the world?
Well if you think about it a bit, the best golfers in the world aren’t going to have that mind-set as they get all of their golf balls provided for free and the bulk of the better, competent and above average golfers around the world (who are often influenced by what they see the tour players doing) are aware that a new golf ball will in theory provide them with a better level of performance
Being what would be considered ‘better players’ their performance is an important thing for them – so they are quite happy to both buy and start their game with a new golf ball, which if my maths is correct
That leaves the other 50% of golfers still to be accounted for
It’s important to note that the group of golfers I have just talked about above also display two important facets of the game when it comes to the fate of their golf balls after they are hit
Firstly, to play at the level they do – their golf actions have been developed to a point where they are fairly consistent and as a result they are able to exert a degree of control over where their golf ball goes (most of the time)
Secondly, as these golfers identify themselves as ‘better golfers’ or ‘above average’ they do the things that better golfer’s do – such as warm-up fully before every game that they play
Which of course allows them to produce good shots right from the start of their game
Now before I go much further, let me point out that these are anecdotal observations gathered from over 30 years of experience in the game of golf and that obviously not all better golfers will buy a new golf ball to start their game with and warm-up like a tour pro does nor that a golfer who hasn’t got to that level won’t or shouldn’t buy a new golf ball to start their game with or doesn’t do any sort of warm-up before their game – so if you are in doubt as to whether you should believe any of this or not – read my disclaimer here
Right, so just who are the golfers who make up the 50% of golfers around the world who in actual fact may well easily lose their golf ball if the start with ‘a new one’?
Logically, they are the golfers who have a handicap that is higher than average, golfers identify themselves as not being very good at the game, golfers who think of themselves as being ‘just a hacker’, casual golfers who don’t play very often, golfers who play just for fun without any care of where their golf ball goes or what score they have and of course, those golfers who are new to the game
In short, this group of people that makes up around half of all of the golfers in the world currently have a couple of things in common
That can allow that new golf ball to easily get lost during their round!
Firstly, they have a less than consistent hitting action (if you want to know why I prefer not to call it a golf swing – you can find out here) which will have come about through simply playing the game and not ever taking some time to improve it, not playing often enough to be consistent or the fact that they are new at the game and simply haven’t been able to develop a consistent hitting action yet that would allow them to keep their new golf ball in play all the way around the golf course
Secondly, as this group are the golfers who have a handicap or scores that are higher than average, who will generally identify themselves as not being very good at the game, who think of themselves as being ‘just a hacker’, as a casual golfer who doesn’t play very often, a golfer who plays just for fun or are of course – just new to the game
You probably won’t catch them warming up before they play or if they do, not to the same extent as some of the better golfers would – which of course means, that within the first few holes of the round, they are indeed likely to hit a poor shot or two (possibly even more) and as a result lose their new golf ball
By the way, the golfers that make up this group are exactly the ones I was thinking about when I produced my Discover Golf program
It’s a program that is aimed at supporting and guiding players of any age, gender or experience level that are somewhere between starting the game of golf but yet to become a competent golfer – which is roughly 50% of all the golfers in the world
Ranging from those people who have never touched a golf club, hit a golf shot, been to a golf course or a driving range before – in other words – someone who is interested to start to play the game of golf but has had absolutely no previous experience
Through to people that have had some experience at the game of golf but are still struggling with getting to grips with the game – which encompasses virtually all players who are somewhere in their first few years of playing the game – as well as a significant amount of golfers who may have played for quite a few years but have never really had any guidance at the game
Usually they have played the game for some time but aren’t getting any better at it
In fact, most often these players are really struggling with the game of golf but either unwilling or too embarrassed to ask for help from anyone!
The aim of the Discover Golf program is to provide golfers with the closest thing possible to having their own personal golf professional standing beside them teaching and guiding them along the way to really learn the game of golf – without the hefty price tag that it would have if I was to do it in person!
You can find out more about the Discover Golf program here or if you have already heard about it and were just waiting for the right time to start it
If you know of someone else who could benefit from doing the program – please take a moment now to share this with them!
So, back to question of why golfers almost always lose their golf ball if they start with ‘a new one’ – am I suggesting that golfers should never buy a new golf ball then use it on the first tee?
Of course I’m not – I’m suggesting that if you or another golfer that you know happens to think like that – then what’s really needed