Manage Your Expectations

Golf is a fickle game. You can emulate the top professionals by playing on some of the same courses, score comparatively with the handicap system and everyone can hit that wonder shot.

Watching golf tournament broadcasts, though, give you a false reality. Aside from feature group coverage, where you see the warts and all golf that is the norm, other players that make it on to the coverage are performing wonder shots that out lie the normal statistics, be it a crushing 330+ yard drive, hitting a 200 yard approach shot to a couple of feet or holing a 30 foot putt.

The average often has expectations to be as good as the pros, without the commitment, practice, or skill levels of the stars and yet the reality of the professional game are not as good as most people think.

Don’t get me wrong, the pros are great. They are on another level. If you add the pressure and course set up their accomplishments are even greater but why does the average Joe beat themselves up when they don’t pepper the pin from 115 yards? Did you know that even pros miss the green completely from this distance 1 out of 5 times?

Putting is another key part of the game that is misrepresented on the TV. Based on Trackman data, I made a make rate calculator that shows the make rates of pros from whatever distance you input. Did you know that the pros are only 50% make rate from 8 feet?

To this end it is very important to keep your feet on the ground and not expect the world, especially if you compare to the stars of the game.

There is some great data available now through the likes of Arccoss or ShotScope that enables you to compare your stats to similar ability players. Data collection is a great way to see where you need to practice also. I use GolfPad tags to record my details.

If you look at these details, compare against yourself you are going to realise that it is not reasonable to expect to

  • Play like Tiger
  • Hit a great shot every time *
  • Hit every fairway
  • Hit every approach to with 20 feet
  • Hole every putt

Manage those expectations, don’t beat yourself up. Avoid the sh*t (big scores) and think about why you play golf: whatever your reasons I am sure having fun is one of the main objectives. And remember:

Golf is not a game of good shots. It’s a game of bad shots.

* Ben Hogan