by Matt Stottern
If you play golf at any level, you’ve probably realized that it’s commonly thought of as the most difficult game of all. It’s also one of the only sports that you might play and enjoy for your entire life. Currently my youngest student is four, and my oldest is 98.
There are several factors that make golf the most challenging game. You can carry up to 14 clubs in your bag, and it takes time and effort to learn how to use them all and to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to execute the shots you desire. The full swing, pitching, sand shots and putting are all components that need to be learned and then improved. Then there’s the mental game, the physical game and the strategy of playing the course.
These are only a few aspects of the total package that it takes to play at your desired level, and not everyone wants to or has the time to improve. Some people just enjoy being outside with friends, trying not to lose more golf balls than they have with them. I can guarantee you, though, that as you improve your knowledge and skills, you’ll execute more shots the way you imagined them, and the game will become more fun than you can believe.
One of the biggest reasons that golf takes some time to improve is that most players work on their games only when they’re at a golf course or practice facility, which may be once a week, once a month or even only once a year. But when golf is practiced daily at home or at the gym, the improvement time frame will be dramatically reduced.
In nearly every golf lesson that I give, I try to inspire my students to do their homework. I give them a drill or a swing thought to practice and explain that you can make 100 swings in fewer than 15 minutes a day. If you make the time and find a space to make 100 swings a day, you’ll accomplish many things that will improve your game: You’ll train your body in the movements you’re working on. There’s no ball, so you can focus on feel and motion rather than ball flight. You’ll learn to swing without tension and increase your speed. You’ll get some exercise simply by making these swings. But if this seems excessive, start with 50 swings three days a week, and increase as the weeks pass.
Get something to work on in your swing by seeing a PGA professional, and do your homework. It will pay off quickly, and you’ll be so glad you found this way to improve your game. Hit them far and straight!
Matt Stottern is the PGA director of instruction and the director of the John Jacobs Golf School at the Peninsula State Park Golf Course. He’s spent more than 20 years teaching the game to golfers of all ages and abilities. He teaches at golf schools and offers private lessons in Arizona during the winter months. You can reach him at 480.620.5395 or [email protected].