Why is the great game of golf so hard? Many professionals and people that play golf as a hobby get frustrated trying to improve their golf game week in and week out. Hitting straight drives with your drivers or long drives that allow you to improve may seem next to impossible. Why is this the case? You need to know several things about why golf is hard.
Golf is hard because different factors can influence your shot, such as the weather. You also need the athletic ability to coordinate your swing movements perfectly. Additionally, golf is a mental game, and players can go through many ups and downs in just one round.
Sometimes you watch golf and think that the ball is just sitting there waiting to be hit, so it can’t possibly be that hard. However, you may have noticed that even the best golfers struggle and the fact that not everyone is a pro at golf should tell you that it isn’t an easy sport to play.
What Are Some Of The Reasons That Golf Is Hard?
Here are some reasons why golf is not as easy as players make it look.
Golf Is A Mental Game
Looking at some of the greatest golf players of all time, like Palmer, Woods, etc., you will notice that they have all had their fair share of difficult periods. The question is, is it possible that any of those well-known players suddenly somehow lose their golf abilities? The answer is almost always no.
It is doubtful that they lost their ability to play golf, just like you never truly lose the ability to ride a bicycle. Therefore, this only leads us to one conclusion; golf is most likely a mental game. Players need to be balanced individuals to play well and win in golf.
Golf players, much like tennis players, need to have confidence in themselves and their abilities and skill. The game can potentially be affected when something is off. Golf can be considered a delicate sport when it comes to the mental aspect.
Read More: Why Golf Is a Mental Game
Golf Is Compressed In Terms Of The Flow Of Time
The first hardship in golf has to do with the flow of time. This is also known as Chronos, according to ancient Greek terminology. Apart from billiards, more commonly known as pool, although the games are not entirely the same, golf is just about the only ball sport where the ball is at rest before being moved by a player.
One shot in golf lasts roughly 0.5 milliseconds. During a full round of golf, a player is in direct contact with the ball for well under 1 second. Once the ball has taken off, it is gone. Golf is extremely compressed in terms of time.
One Round Of Golf Can Have Many Ups And Downs
Another thing that makes golf so hard is the quality of time, also known as Kairos, another term used by the Ancient Greeks. To put it simply, in our everyday lives, we all go through ups and downs and have good days and bad days.
Sometimes you wake up and feel focused and ready to tackle the day, but other times you feel tired and sluggish. Golf psychology tries its best to combat these – energy, mood, etc., fluctuations when you play golf.
I’m sure you have heard players in press conferences describe their last game as a rollercoaster. The truth is, one round of golf is long enough to entail both the highs, where you’re on top of your game, and the lows, where everything seems to be going wrong. It’s hard to control the kind of Kairos you will be dealing with at any given moment.
The Form Of The Full Body Swing Movement Varies Over Time
Playing golf usually requires you to use your whole body when you swing. This movement has multiple degrees of freedom. As with everything, changes happen, and with golf, there has been a variation in the form used now compared to the form used in the past.
This makes it difficult to be consistent with basic shots, let alone specialty shots, such as draws, fades, etc. The best players are usually those who can be flexible and adapt their game plan according to the changes that happen in the form used and any new golfing conditions.
But even the pros find golf hard. A study that looked at the performance stability of professional golfers on the PGA TOUR on a shot-by-shot basis found that golf performance is variable and chaotic.
There Is A Lot Of Freedom That Comes With Swinging
Since golf requires full-body movement when swinging, golfers have a lot of freedom to choose how to shape their shots. It is not uncommon for players to let go of all control. Therefore, it is only fair to say that just about every golf shot becomes a leap of faith.
Players are never entirely sure what will happen once that ball is airborne. Perhaps that is what makes golf so appealing, the unknown.
Many beginners consider lessons when first starting. If you’re wondering if golf tuition is worth it, check out this article, 7 Reasons Why Golf Lessons Are Worth It.
Golf Has An Endless Amount Of Surprises
Golf offers endless surprises to all players, regardless of their skill level. You may be aiming elsewhere, and the ball can betray you and go on its merry way. You only have to watch some professionals to see the occasional disaster.
I remember watching Sergi Garcia missing the cut at the 2018 Masters. He was defending champion and had a nightmare on the 15th on the first day when he dunked 5 shots in the water. He tied the highest ever score recorded, with an octuple-bogey 13.
Similarly, my only ace so far was a complete surprise as the pin was obscured behind the lip of a bunker, so I never even saw it go in the hole.
Too Much Range Practice Can Be Counterproductive
There are a good number of things that are counter-intuitive in golf. If you want to advance in golf, you have to be committed to practicing. For example, professionals go through thousands of balls to maintain and improve their skills.
However, according to the German golf player Langer, too much practice is counterproductive. You risk tiring yourself out and playing poorly when you do too much range practicing.
Many Factors Can Affect Every Single Shot
There are many variances involved in golf, making it incredibly hard. Many factors affect every single shot. These range from the mental state that the player is in on that day or when they step foot on that golf course, whether the slope of the fairway is down or up, the club selection that the player is using, and what the weather is like that day.
All of these can significantly impact the player’s game positively or negatively. None of them can be truly controlled and get in the way of having a great game and winning. Variance plays such an important role that even if you were playing at your home course and had a lot of practice, the likelihood of you hitting the same shot twice is slim to none.
Golf Requires A Fair Amount Of Athletic Ability
Let’s face it; golf requires a fair amount of athletic ability. When a golfer swings, a series of movements need to be timed perfectly to get that shot just right. You not only need the muscles to pull this off, but you also need good hand-eye coordination. Unfortunately, not everyone possesses these skills and abilities.
If you’re contemplating getting into golf as a hobby or you want to become a pro golfer, there’s no doubt that golf is a hard game.
You learn to appreciate the amount of work, skill, and mental stability that goes into playing golf once you put into perspective the different things that make golf so hard to play.