Are Your Golf Expectations Out of Line With Reality?

I don’t want to mix politics with business, but when thinking about topic of this blog topic, I was reminded of a George W. Bush speech where he talked about “the soft bigotry of low expectations,” and how certain groups are held back because the expectations are lower for them than for others. This got me thinking about golf performance and how often people’s expectations for their games are not in line with reality.
There are only three categories here, too high, too low, and just right. Here are some symptoms and prescriptions for the first two.

Why People Refuse to Take Lessons

From my experience as a PGA Professional, I have heard numerous reasons why people do not take lessons. I don’t call these excuses, because each is legitimate and understandable in its own way. It’s my job as a PGA Pro to make golf easier for you to learn. And the golf industry as a whole has been slow to adapt and change to the changes in peoples’ lives. Here are the most common reasons I’ve heard for not taking lessons:

What the TV Golf Commentators Always Get Wrong

Since the PGA Tour season has started again, it’s given us an opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with the broadcast networks’ teams of commentators, color-men, on-course reporters, etc. It’s very common to criticize them (and I will do a little bit of that below), but I will admit that doing live media is a very difficult job. Add to that fact that the on-air talent has directors constantly talking in one ear, makes it very easy to misspeak, or say things that on reflection, they wish they hadn’t.

But the most of the golf announcers continue to perpetuate misunderstandings about the game that not only demonstrates a lack of knowledge, but also hurts the average player / viewer as they try to play their own games. This always surprises me, since many of the people we see and hear on the networks are distinguished players and instructors. Here are three things I wish the announcers would change:

How to Solve the Stay-at-Home Rules Official Situation

At 2011’s first PGA Tour Event, Camillo Villegas was DQ’d for a rules violation that was spotted by a viewer on TV, who then tweeted it to the PGA Tour. Upon reviewing the tape, the PGA Tour determined a rule had been violated, and Villegas was DQ’d for signing an incorrect scorecard. While it was clearly a violation of the rules, something has to be done to prevent situations like this from happening. Here are my ideas from preventing similar situations from happening.

Why There Were Multiple Sub-60 Rounds on Tour in 2010

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in August, 2010 on

Twice in the past month, two players have broken 60 on the PGA Tour. Paul Goydos at the TPC at Deere Run shot a 12 under 59 in round one at the John Deere Classic and Stuart Appleby shot an 11 under 59 in the 4th round at the Greenbrier Classic last week.

There have also been a large number of sub 65 rounds, including Rory McIlroy’s 63 on day one of the Open Championship last month. How and why is this happening? There are numerous reasons, some routinely and obsessively discussed (club and ball technology), some regularly discussed (fitness and athleticism of the players), and some rarely discussed (agronomy and marketing). I’ll briefly touch on all of these, with special emphasis on the less commonly talked about factors, and include my thoughts on whether “classic” courses are becoming obsolete, and people’s strange obsession with par.

The Snowball Effect

We all know how (in our lives) one bad decision can breed others, or how one small white lie can lead to more & bigger ones. Such is true in the golf swing. One minor flaw in any of the core fundamentals will only compound and grow as you swing the club. This is the snowball effect—think of the cartoons of the snowball rolling down a hill getting bigger and bigger as it continues to roll. The problem (both snowball and golf swing) gets bigger and bigger the farther it goes.

Why Am I Not Gettting Any Better?

“Why am I not getting any better?” This is a question asked by golfers since the first game was played. We should take a look at how we learn, and the psychology of learning that applies to all tasks, including golf. Believe it or not, but there are only two ways that humans learn things–instruction and repetition. Unfortunately, there are no ways around this. (Despite the nearly unlimited number of quick fixes out there, like “learn a foreign language in one weekend”, and “buy this club and take six strokes off your game.” You get the idea.) If you think I’m crazy, I’ll get you two examples to prove my point.

New Year's Golf Resolutions for 2011

As 2011 approaches and we look forward to another golf season, here are a few resolutions that (based on experience) will surely be broken before I make the turn during my first round, along with some instructional commentary to help you keep your resolutions intact for the entire year.

1. I resolve to not make stupid mental mistakes on the course. These include going after sucker pins, leaving makeable putts short, attempting high risk / low reward shots, nor will I attempt any shot that I have not practiced since the George H.W. Bush Administration. (You’re going to make some physical mistake and hit bad shots, that’s a given. But the mental mistakes are completely preventable and the most infuriating.)

Golf Gifts People Really Want

It happens every year at this time; we all procrastinate and then scramble for Christmas gifts for friends, family, and colleagues. And there is no shortage of gift ideas for the golfer on your list. And while a gift card to Golf Galaxy will certainly be used, there are more unique, thoughtful, and inexpensive ideas that will make a lasting impression for your favorite golfer, or at least earn you some points with your boss or father-in-law.

Is it Nerves? Tips for Handling Your Nerves on the Course.

I frequently hear golf commentators on TV mention that “nerves” are getting to a player and causing bad shots. Is this true? Does it happen to you? It’s a hard question to answer, and asking players directly usually doesn’t help. Most players won’t admit to their nerves until well after the fact, but every golfer has experienced nervous pressure at one time or another. From the first time playing with your boss or father-in-law, to your first birdie or eagle putt, to breaking 100, 90, 80, or 70 for the first time, to winning the Masters, every player will be nervous at some point on the golf course. If you don’t get nervous, you likely don’t care about the results.