I think I am safe in saying that as serious players most of us think we don’t play as well as we should. When I’ve played rounds with friends who aren’t as serious, they often ask how to get better and I’ll offer the usual comments about taking lessons, getting fitted, working short game, but the conversation usually concludes with, “you get out of this game what you put into it.” Tonight I was reminded about the advice I usually dispense.
On occasion if I don’t have enough time to engage in a normal practice session, I’ll grab a wedge and my bag shag and head out to the adjacent school field for a few swings. This evening was one of those times and after hitting a couple dozen flip wedges (the first four flew straight right), I left frustrated and mad at myself for the lack of commitment on my part to enough play and practice to remain effective.
I have played this game seriously for nearly 40 years and am still searching for the right golf-life balance. Back in my 20s, I worked a couple of years as an assistant club professional and along with the 6-day 60-hour work weeks came an inordinate amount of play and practice. You worked your 10-hour day and then played or practiced after work until dark – I was totally hooked. On your one day off, you played golf. We were open every day of the year except for Christmas and New Years, and my unhealthy addiction was constantly fed. The sport was a true bus driver’s holiday and was well in excess of what a normal human could enjoy from a game, and was the only time in my life that I was burned out on golf.
So what is the optimal amount of play and practice you need to get to the point of satisfaction? Can you ever get comfortable or are we like nomads constantly wondering in the desert? I’ve long since given up getting to scratch from a 5-handicap, as the workload would be enormous for a desk jockey with a day job. Right now I’d be happy to maintain the 5, but feel it starting to slip. In essence, I’m still searching for my optimal amount of play and practice but I know 30-40 rounds per year and one day of practice per week is not cutting it. Golf has always been a game of adjustments, and the key is to get enough frequency to mitigate the big momentum swings. Lately every time out I’m fighting a new fundamental fire with the problem being exacerbated when I take additional time off.
Anyone out there have any suggestions for a balanced approach?