We all say it, of course, and many of us try to buy it with shiny new clubs.
But the harsh reality of recreational golf is that most of us are simply not willing to do what it takes to get better.
This is a universal truth in golf whether you play off 25, scratch or are in the world’s top 10.
The 25-marker who wants to be off 15 or the 2-marker who wants to be off scratch or Jason Day trying to get back to World Number One all face the same reality: to get from where they are to where they want to be is going to require effort. Genuine effort.
Not the 10 minutes on the putting green or 10 balls in the net before teeing off sort of effort, but real, sacrifice type of effort.
The sort of effort where you choose to practise golf over doing something else. The sort of effort you often hear top professionals refer to as ‘work’.
At that level, the sacrifices are real despite the lifestyle looking glamorous to those of us on the outside.
Marc Leishman once summed up the conundrum perfectly when talking about why Jason Day reached the top of the world rankings while he himself likely never will.
“I’ve seen Jason say no to a second beer at a barbecue,” Leishman once said. “I’m not that guy.”
It’s a small example of what it takes at the top level but is easily transferrable to the grass roots.
All of us know a golfer who makes the game look easy without ever working at it. Some are so annoyingly naturally gifted they can play off scratch or better without ever hitting a practise ball.
But what if they wanted to be better? Not better than you and me but better than they currently are? Then they’d have to work at it.
As golfers, we all have a plateau, the level we’ll reach relying purely on the natural ability we are born with.
For some, it’s double-digits while for others it’s much less but the plateau exists for all.
While it’s possible to go beyond the plateau, most of us never do because to do so requires effort, something we are simply not prepared to give.
All of which leaves us with a choice if we want to truly be happy with golf: accept the plateau and simply enjoy the game OR start making the effort to get better.
The unhappy golfers are the ones who exist between these two worlds; those who have reached the plateau, want to be better, but won’t do the work required to get there.
There are all sorts of legitimate reasons we can’t spend a lot of time working on golf but there are an almost equal number of opportunities to do so where we choose something else instead.
There is nothing wrong with that, of course, as long as you’re happy with your plateau.
If you’re not, you’ll either have to give up the game or make the sacrifices to improve.
Just another of golf’s fun little life lessons.
ALISON WHITAKER - JUDGING THE ROUGH
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