How old were you when you took up golf?
Many of us do it at a later stage. Was that you?
Now, how old were you when you took up baseball? I’d wager many of us have played on Pee Wee league teams.
If you can remember, how was your batting average in the first few years? How well could you throw from base to base, or from the outfield? Could you throw a mean slider?
I’m going to guess “not good, not as good, not as good and no” for the answers.
But that’s OK; we were playing to have FUN back then. We weren’t really comparing ourselves to our favorite players. We failed many times, but as kids we got over it quickly.
I’m always amazed at how many people I’ve seen get just so frustrated, when in reality, they’re more in the 2nd phase of their learning. By that I mean Phase 1 is learning to play in the backyard, Phase 2 is your first few years of little league, Phase 3 is school-age, Phase 4 is High School, etc.
The problem is, when we’re older, we’re more cognizant of our shortcomings. We still want to be like our heroes. Unfortunately, as an older beginner, golf is still like any other sport: you have to have your “growing pains”.
The Good News
You don’t really need time, per se, to improve. What you do need is QUALITY practice. Even if it’s in the backyard.
Hell, Johnny Miller and KJ Choi learned to play by reading and mimicking photos of Jack Nicklaus from his book “Golf My Way”.
With the rise of the modern pro, it’s really pushed the teaching pro into a different (and more expensive) stratosphere, when in reality you don’t need to constantly see someone.
You just need consistency. There are many teachers online that can help for free. You can learn alot from watching “The Golf Fix” or “School of Golf” on The Golf Channel.
Just stick with a few, to avoid problems/confusion with different terminology and/or swing “theories”.
I’d like to say “stick with ONE”, but I can’t in all honesty say that, because that’s not what I did.
I learned to filter out a lot of excess; if it was different terminology from what I was used to, I discarded it. If it was some janky swing “theory”, I’d forget about it. I wanted to take what I did and make it better- not learn some totally different way of doing it.
You can do that, too.
The best teachers take what you already have and make it better- not alter it to a point you no longer recognize it.
Worse, some will try to fit you into a “system” that they devised (stack and tilt, anyone?). Unless you have the time to treat it like a second full-time job, forget about doing that.
Hopefully, you’re asking yourself “why is that?” right now. Good! The reason is, if you take what you have and make it better, that’s less time you have to spend relearning- and creating muscle memory for- new swing movements.
In other words, you get better faster.