When I talk to people about golf, they seem to have this perception that it’s an easy sport to play. They also seem to think that it’s an extremely boring sport to play and watch. I disagree with them 100%.
The 10 reasons why golf is the hardest sport to master are listed below, these aren’t the only reasons. They’re just the ones that I could think of off the top of my head. Golf is hands down a very difficult game to play and master. I think most people find it hard for the majority of the reasons that I have listed below.
I believe people assume golf is an easy sport to play because “they” in most cases have never actually played the game. Maybe they stumbled upon the last day of a tournament on CBS and thought to themselves wow, that looks easy, I could do that no problem.
I mean think about it, what could be so hard about hitting a ball? I have heard that before no doubt. This blog post isn’t just for new golfers, even though they might get the most out of it. So give it a read and let me know what you think in the comments below.
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The mental game – I would say 99.99% of people that are eating food don’t think about choking on that food while they’re eating. It’s just something we can do without thinking about it.
Now, imagine every time you ate your food you actually thought about trying not to choke. I would say the chances of you actually choking go up, versus you not thinking about it and you actually choking.
Golf is like this in every aspect of the game, your mental game is most likely a major reason why your score is where it is today. Your mental game is why you nailed the center of that pond after having so many great drives.
Your mental game is why you top the ball when you were teeing off because your buddies were watching you. And your mental game is why you may think the game of golf is so hard…but it’s not impossible.
For those people that are regular players, you probably understand what I’m talking about. Golf is definitely no walk in the park even though some days it sure feels that way.
If you built your game up to a certain skill level and the only thing getting in your way is your thoughts, you need to focus on mental training.
I would suggest reading a book called Zen golf, this will probably answer most of your questions about the mental side.
Every golfer struggles with mastering the mental side of golf and I’m not trying to say I don’t hit the center of the pond every now and then.
There’s a reason why my dad told me to keep my eye on the ball and don’t think about anything else. He gave me this advice when I was a kid and I give the same advice to new players as well. KISS, keep it simple stupid.
He didn’t tell me in those exact words but that’s essentially what you meant.
Your Golf Swing – like I mentioned earlier in the post, some people think that golf is really easy to play. I’m sure this has happened to you before.
A buddy at work was talking to you about golf and you guys decided to go play together. Turns out all that talking that he was doing “how hard can it be” or “it’s just a little white ball, I can make it fly” was only because he had no idea what he was talking about in the first place.
Their golf swing was meant for a bloopers reel, but they thought their swing was identical to Tiger Woods. That’s understandable though, I remember when I thought my golf swing looked good.
Until I started doing video recordings of my swing and found out that it looked absolutely nothing like what a pros swing looks like.
There’s a reason why the pros all have somewhat similar swings. That reason is that it’s a proven method of hitting the golf ball proficiently.
The way your golf swing looks directly reflects your skill level, in most cases. But there are some people on tour who have some pretty unique golf swings, J.B. Holmes and Bubba Watson to name a couple.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with their swing fundamentally. They just have unique swings and I definitely enjoy watching them. And they definitely wouldn’t be on PGA Tour if they weren’t able to make it work.
I would say the golf swing is another major hurdle that most new golfers face and is a reason why golf is so hard. I don’t believe it’s the most important part of your game but a lot of golfers spend the majority of their time on the golf swing. I know I did, I was obsessed with studying other professional golfers swing.
You know what they say if you want to be the best at something you got a copy of the best person in that sport or activity. I agree with this to some extent, I mean, I tried to make my golf swing look identical to Tiger Woods.
Not the best idea by the way but it did make me realize that I was trying to compare myself to a god…almost.
My advice is don’t overcomplicate it. What I mean by that is if you are just starting out and all you want to do is enjoy the game of golf, keep it simple.
You don’t need to swing like Tiger Woods, you don’t need to swing like anybody on the PGA tour.
I think the reason why people think the game of golf is so hard is that they’re comparing themselves to these Pros. Some people may even give up the game of golf because there swing isn’t like a pros swing.
I believe you would be missing out on a lifetime of happiness and some disappointment, but not much disappointment. So don’t let the golf swing be the reason why you think the game of golf is so hard.
Too many hazards – This is very true, and if you quit the game of golf because of this reason and this reason alone, I could understand but please reconsider. I actually did a post on 16 crazy ways to lose a golf ball, check it out.
But that’s like saying you don’t like playing basketball, or football because it’s too hard to make it to the basket or to the endzone. it’s just what makes these games so fun, otherwise, why would we even play them? you need to I have these moments of disappointment because it makes the moments of achievement so much greater.
sure, you may lose a golf ball on 17 out of 18 holes but it’s the hole that you don’t lose the golf ball that you remember the most. You obviously lose fewer golf balls if your skill level is higher, but don’t let this be the reason you quit the game of golf.
It’s too long and tiring – This can be very true on those very busy days, like Father’s Day for example. When it takes you five and a half hours to finish 18 holes. If you’re out in the sun for five and a half hours walking 18 holes, yeah, that’s a hard round of golf.
You can burn 1500 to 2000 calories during an 18 hole round of golf if you’re walking. If you’re not giving your body energy you’re doing your own game a disservice. Sure, it’s a long game to play, but you need to be prepared and bring lunch or a snack. Don’t let the lack of energy be the reason you think the game of golf is hard.
I’m generally exhausted after I have walked 18 holes, I usually have zero energy left over and I usually have plenty of water and food. If you account for the warm-up bucket of golf balls and all the swings you take during the round.
Also walking up and down hills while either carrying or pulling your golf bag, that takes a lot out of you.
I hate the sand trap – Yes, I know, this is a hazard but I wanted to separate this one specifically because us regular golfers hate them so very much. This is just like those situations in life where you don’t like to do something but you know you have to do that “something” one day. Almost like receiving a random quiz in class, you know they’re coming but you don’t really know when. Nobody really likes them but everybody deals with him.
I literally didn’t understand how pros hit out of the sand trap so easily for the longest time. Until one day I was watching Henrik Stenson playing out of a deep bunker, I was watching how he moved his body. His knees specifically and how he moved them during the swing. I noticed how he transferred his weight and had his knees pointing near the direction he wanted the ball land.
I applied a similar technique to my own sand trap skills and it actually made it easier to get the ball out. I was pretty shocked that I hit a very flush sand shot, so where my playing buddies.
I don’t think playing out of the sand needs to be so stressful. Just tell your buddies “look out, I don’t want to hit you in the head”. If they don’t give you plenty of room, that’s on them, it’s not like you can control what comes out of the trap.
The rules – I’ve been playing the game of golf since I was about 7 or 8 and I mean playing on the course. To be honest, I’m not going to make this that long because I don’t know all of the rules of golf. I know just the right amount of rules that make it fun for me to play on the weekends.
You don’t need to know all the rules as a new golfer. All you need to know is move as fast as you can while playing the best golf you can. If a playing partner calls you out on something, just tell him you didn’t know. or tell them you’re just playing for fun and exercise and worry about their own game.
I’ve been playing golf with a Cambodian buddy of mine for 5 years. I guarantee you he couldn’t tell me how many strokes he gets penalized for hitting it in the water hazard. But every time I play with him I know he’s enjoying the game of golf. Those rules are just guidelines to him, which is fine, it doesn’t bother me.
Playing in extreme weather – Well, extreme may be an extreme word to use because nobody really plays golf in below freezing temperatures…or do they? I’m 100% guilty of this, do I regret it? Not at all!
Yes, bad weather can make the game of golf very hard to play but you can’t expect a perfect 70-degree day with slight overcast every single day. No matter if you’re playing in 100-degree heat or 45-degree cold with sporadic downpours of rain.
The only thing you can do is prepare for the weather in advance. This may seem obvious but you would be surprised how many people show up to a round without tee’s or balls. I’m guilty of this myself! You can easily buy these items at the clubhouse, this is how they make decent money too, they count on golfers forgetting to bring things.
Bring your sunscreen, bring your rain jacket, bring your beanie, and for god sakes bring your clubs! Just show up ready for whatever because the unexpected rain cloud will show up one summer day and you will need your sunscreen and your rain suit.
First Tee Jitters – Everyone that’s played golf gets these feelings, actually, I would say everyone feels something similar before starting any sports game. Basketball, baseball, football, you name it, someone feels a little jittery before the game starts. This feeling can be amplified with golf though because it’s just you and there are three other players watching you.
This is what makes golf so special though, this type of pressure can turn boys into men pretty quick. You could also say it can turn men into little boys too, it’s not easy to tee off with people watching you.
You almost have to trick your mind into thinking that these people are there to help you. I mean, I have asked my playing partner to keep an eye on my ball in case I hit a bad shot. This isn’t really implying that I’m a bad golfer, it just takes the pressure off me a bit because there’s always the chance that I could shank it.
This touches on number 1, mental golf, first tee jitter can make the game hard but I honestly believe you can move past it. With enough practice and mental mind hacks, you can tee off like a pro.
The Ball Never Goes Where I Want It To Go – This is certainly frustrating and can take many months or years to figure out. I mean, if you pick a spot where you want the ball to land, it should land in that exact spot, right? Maybe if you were playing EA Sports Tiger Woods golf, but in the real world, it can be so hard to get that ball to do what you want it to do.
There are many factors that affect where the balls end up. Even Tiger Woods wasn’t perfect in his prime but he was probably getting upset because he missed his target by a yard or two.
It’s relative based on the type of player you are and how well you are playing that day. If you are new to golf, don’t beat yourself up over it, it takes a lot of practice to hit your targets consistently and course knowledge.
Again, if you are new to golf I would suggest you spend some time on the range before even setting foot on the course. Don’t think it’s something you can just buy the gear and expect to be decent at. It takes a lot of practice, you need to put the hours in if you want good results.
You add reasons 1 – 9 and you get to number 10 – That’s right, all the reasons I mentioned combined. Think about it, and that’s not even all the reasons why golf is so hard. I’m sure there’s way more out there.
I mean, you’re dealing with a lot compared to other sports. I think one other reason golf so hard compared to other sports is the amount of time you have in your own head. What I mean is, you have so much more time to make a decision compared to other sports. All the other sports are so fast pace, they are making decisions really quick because they have to.
Golf though, you can change your mind ten different ways and still not be sure. That’s because we have more time to think about our decision. And when we miss a shot we blame the golf gods…
I know, I said 10 reasons but I wanted to put one more in the line up because I know it’s a valid reason why golf is so hard. Putting, this is where you should be practicing the most and where they say the money is made but most players don’t. Putting is a given though, how could you ever miss a target that’s one foot away?
I hope you enjoyed the post and got something out of it. If you have a reason why golf is so hard, I would like to hear it, put it in the comments below.