The Secrets of Golf

Golf is a difficult game.

I have enjoyed a great season of golf this year aside from one partial round of golf. I failed to stretch for that game and my back failed on me. Otherwise, I am back to my handicap of a couple of seasons ago namely a 5.1 index or roughly a 7. Which means that I should expect to break 80 if I am playing well.

To keep the game in shape I practice about 8 or 10 hours a week. Full swing, around the green and putting. I try to play at least one round a week.

I was asked by someone yesterday how long it should take for a beginning golfer to break 80. And, sad to say, most recreational golfers will never break 80 on a regular golf course. The average 18-hole score for the average golfer remains at about 100, as it has for decades, according to the National Golf Foundation. The National Golf Foundation also found that only 22% of golfers can break 90. Less than 6% can break 80.

Lee Eisenberg wrote a book called Breaking 80 which describes how difficult a challenge it can be to play golf really well:

To play between par and bogey golf you’ve got to be able to drive 233 yards on average, and make it to at least eight greens in regulation. Your average par-four approach club should be a seven iron, and your average par five approach club a nine. You need to average around 32 putts , and five one-putt greens a round. The average distance of your first putt ought not to exceed 16 feet. As I say, that kind of round is no joke. It would be as difficult to achieve as, well – what if the assigned task had been to learn to play the piano instead of master the golf swing? What would be the muscial equivalent of breaking 80? A guess: I would have had to be able to sit down before a packed house of strangers and whiz through a credible performance of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, Books I and II, without stopping and without sheet music.

The secrets of golf? There are four:

1. Start early
2. Have lots of natural talent
3. Practice constantly
4. There are no shortcuts

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