“I dreamed one night that I had 17 holes-in-one and one two. When I woke up the next morning I was so goddam mad.” – Ben Hogan
By Ian Hardie
In the post Should you expect constant improvement in your golf I talked about a conversation that I had with a golfer, who had recently made a decision that I suppose almost all golfers make during their golfing career:
To work on their golf game in an effort to improve their skills – with an expectation that by doing so they would lower the average score that they had each game as a result
I’m sure most golfers have decided to do just that at some point in their golf career
Unfortunately though, most golfers actually end up getting worse average scores rather than better ones when they attempt this – so the point I was looking to illustrate was fairly simple
Should a golfer expect to get constant improvement in their skills at the game and as a result a lower average score – simply by spending more time on it?
To help you see what I was talking about I used an image that illustrated the basic ‘path’ that most golfer’s think their golf will take
Once they make the decision ‘to work on improving their golf game’
That path was represented by the two arrows in the image, the top one being the time that the golfer spends ‘working on their game’ and the bottom one being the golfers ‘average score’
The point that they both start from is whatever skill level at the game and average score the golfer has when they decide ‘to work on their game’
You would have noticed that both arrows were effectively going in a constant direction driven by the ‘time’ spent by the golfer looking for improvement and in actual fact could be represented like this
Constant Improvement in Skill + a Lower Average Score = Time Spent working on golf
Wouldn’t that be great if it was the case?
If you were some sort of computer or machine – I think that could possibly happen…………..
But I’m guessing that you are not either of those things
You are (I expect) a human being that has a few challenges to overcome when it comes to improving your golf – that aren’t directly related to the game
The first of which is that you are trying to improve your skills at the game with a body that isn’t even remotely constant and in actual fact:
Almost 99% of what makes up your human body – is made up of only six elements – oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium and phosphorus
Did you realise that was the case?
Not only are you a loose collection of those elements (illustrated by the image at the top of this post) most of the time your body is actually involved in a constant process of regenerating nearly all of your cells or in some cases degenerating instead
That’s going to make it difficult enough to play golf consistently but it gets worse
The daily performance of your body is also being influenced by things like the effects of your food and drink intake, the sleep levels that you get, your age, your current level of fitness, any short term sickness or infections that you are battling, as well as long term illnesses, plus any birth defects and past injuries that you carry
Not to mention the effects of everyday life – things like relationship or family issues, work stress, your self-image, your immediate environment, financial issues…………………
I could go on with a pretty big list couldn’t I?
Each and every one of those things combined – mean that nearly every time that you go and try to work on your skills to improve your golf – you are effectively using a different body or at the very least one that is operating at a completely different level than last time!
Add to all that, the fact that golf is a game that you might get to play or work on for a few hours a week at best and that the state of your body on any given day is a pretty variable thing
It doesn’t sound like much of a basis to produce constant improvement – does it?
And that’s exactly right – you won’t ever get constant improvement in golf!
Which wouldn’t be that much of a problem except for one thing – most golfer’s seem to create an expectation in their mind when they make the decision to improve
This difference between what the mind thinks should happen and what the body is able to produce due to it being involved in a constant process of regenerating or degenerating nearly all of your cells, causes the golfer
To experience a blend of the two ideas – something that I call ‘Plateau improvement’
Which I’m going tell you all about in ‘Should you expect constant improvement in your golf – part three?’