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How to Begin To Improve In Golf

Oct 31, 2007
The first secret of golf betterment is an emotional one. You must have or develop the desire to improve. The strength of this "want" will determine one's persistence, and persistence is the secret of success
The desire to improve should be strengthened by being based upon strong needs. Great interest can thus be generated. Great interests produce other interests, which in turn produce others, like the branches, twigs, and leaves of a tree.

Ed Furgol, Bobby Cruickshank and others took up golf originally for reasons of health, and they can give testimony to the additional stimulus given to the development of interest when it grows out of real needs.

For those who have the highest ambitions, the undiscouraged young, the want to improve must be long-lasting. It cannot be discouraged by either minor or great defeat. It must be strong enough to endure much sacrifice. It must be concentrated. It cannot concern itself with the desire to achieve greatness in a variety of games. It must concern itself with the development of a passion for correct practice. Nothing will be lost because of great effort, for ultimately the final reward is suitably large, and the effort itself produces many pleasures along the way.

You Must Capitalize on Past Experience

A great deal of time can he saved if we absorb what is already 'pretty well known about the game. Each generation of golfers is better than the preceding one because use is made of the experiences of those who have come before us. Hence the individual can speed up his mastery of the game by sticking close to present orthodox form.

A description of this form is the stock in trade of the professionals, and should be acquired from them. It is true that there are good golfers who profess never to have taken a lesson, but most of these have been good imitators.

This does not mean that many lessons should be taken ad infinitum. Fewer lessons, spaced so that ample time is allowed for the learning to sink in, is the better way.

In addition, it is an excellent idea to obtain all the visual instruction one can. This can come from a study of still pictures, or films, or from observing professional golfers, particularly when they are practicing. Written instruction from golf books and magazines is also valuable, provided it is followed by the objective observation of your professional.

Otherwise, a misconception of what the author intended will bring about confusion in your golf learning. It has taken golf 500 years to develop the modern grip, stance, and swing. It is the height of folly not to take advantage of these discoveries.

In the early stages of lesson taking, it is advisable to spread the instruction time over many parts of the game. If, for instance, you had the good fortune to be able to take a series of lessons from someone of the caliber of Arnold Palmer, it would be best to obtain instruction in all broad aspects of the game, such as might be obtained from a playing lesson.

Generally speaking, it has been found that learning is tied together much better if one goes through the whole process than if he learns it piece by piece. This should be followed up with considerable practice before the next lesson. By "considerable", we would mean at least a thousand shots each for woods, irons, chips, and putts.

Why Practice is a Necessity

The greatest pleasure in golf comes from continuous improvement. This can only come about through correct practice. For those who aspire to creditable play, practice is doubly necessary. "Creditable play" implies a competitive element, in that one's ability becomes "creditable" if it is more skillful than that of others. Other things being equal, the practicer has the advantage.

We now have "practicers" in great profusion. Golf achievement at the highest level is virtually impossible without it. It is a necessity at the amateur level even if one's ambitions are relatively modest.

With the right attitude and plenty of practice, your game cannot help but improve.
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