I have probably read almost everyone of these posts and I like that alot of people feel like it is doable and strive to achieve it. The fact is that a huge number of us will fall short. I have played in the same group with a legit 2 handicap and the pro playing off of a +2. Though their overall games didn't seem much different than mine when the scores were tallyed up I shot 77, the 2 handicap shot 68 and the plus two shot 65. I got waxed by 9 and 12 shots respectively. It just reinforced to me the fact that I have a really long way to go. The 2 handicap is one of the best amatuer golfer's I've ever seen and routinely shoots under par for consecutive rounds and is always around par for any given round and he talks about how hard it is to get to scratch because those last few points require consistency on a whole different level.
Just think about that....the two handicaps low round is 4 under and the +2's low round is 9 under (that is probably the same difference as a 36 handicap and a scratch golfer) . How many times do most people even play with another amatuer golfer that shoots even par let alone under par. My friend is the only amatuer that I've ever played with that I have seen shoot under par, or under par in consecutive rounds.
If you can shoot even par....you better be real real consistent from day to day. If you can shoot under par, then you don't have so much pressure because you can better deal with the ebs and flow of a typical golf season. For now I'm just trying to keep myself shooting in the 70's for as many rounds in a row as I can then I'll look for the next step. My low score is 1 over for 18 and 1 under for 9 holes but I know I don't do it day in and day out.
In my honest opinion, off of shear numbers, until you have:
1. Shot within 3 strokes of par for 18 holes you do not have any chance of being having a handicap less than 3
2. Shot under par for 18 holes you do not have any chance of being a scratch golfer.
3. Really really gone low (5 or more shots under par) you do not have any chance of being a plus handicap
If your potential isn't better than your handicap then you won't be able to maintain it even if you got there. You'll never hear a scratch golfer say their personal best score is even par. Just my take on it. There are so many variables that have to line up within a given round to shoot just even par that I just try to keep it in perspective and allow my personal talent to show when I tee it up and see what happens.