The definition of ‘avid’ golfer tends to relate to the quantity of rounds a person plays but I feel ‘avid’ is more a state of mind. My career and family commitments only allow me to play about 30 rounds a year. I say only because I reconcile the fact I wish I could play about 150. I suspect I’m not alone. I love the game. And as a ‘feel’ player, it had been frustrating for me to deal with poor results when I felt comfortable. I met my golf instructor in September 2011 at a Golf Association of Ontario tournament. He was caddying for one of my playing partners. During a hold-up on one hole (we were the third group to tee off, so we had some time on our hands) he came up and we started talking briefly. We ended the conversation with him asking me if I had ever taken lessons? Playing well higher than bogey golf up to that point made it a fair and honest question. After a post-round beer, I asked him if he had a couple minutes to talk…this was my three minute interview: I asked for an assessment of my game and what he felt I needed to improve. I loved the answer I got from him and signed up for lessons right afterward.
The analogy I liken it to, looking back over two and half years now, is learning a new language. I knew enough to survive but now I feel more fluent. For example, something as simple as playing with a square club face was something I was not familiar with. During my first lesson, after going through (for my first time ever) true fundamentals of the game, I hit an approach iron more crisply and pure than I ever remember. I was hooked! This past winter, I unlocked the importance of controlling ball flight and ‘working the ball’. Now I know what Hank Haney talks about when he states Tiger Woods needs to get back to hitting the 9 shots.
The game is more fun for me and I feel I have a level of skill and confidence to perform better. More importantly, I feel my ceiling for success is higher than it’s ever been. Last year I dropped to a single digit handicap for the first time in my life, down from almost 14.5 from when I met my instructor. With a winter of work on ball striking and fundamentals I am ready to drop below 10 again and stay there (currently 10.6 and moving down). Lessons only work well when complemented with practice time. And this year I have achieved success there.
I regret it taking me so long to seek the help I needed to become a better golfer. As an avid and passionate golfer I want to compete with myself to get better. I enjoy the challenges of the game more so now feeling I have the mental and physical tools to play better.
If you’re passionate about the game, contact a PGA of Canada teaching professional and invest in yourself and your game!
I can’t wait for my next lesson and the chance to improve each day. Thanks Brandon Hill for your instruction, patience, and ability to align your teaching to how I prefer to learn!