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Things That Take Almost No Talent to Do Correctly

iacas

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There are several things which take almost no talent to do correctly, and if you can do them, you can become a better golfer and stay a better golfer. These things should be touchstones of a sort, things you check on constantly, but again which take no (or at least not much) actual skill to achieve. These are things even beginners can do.

These lists are off the top of my head.

Tier 1: No Real Talent

  • Grip the club properly - in the base of the fingers, with the right number of knuckles showing for your swing.
  • Set up properly - weight over the right part of your feet, arms hanging almost vertically, ball position forward of center.
  • Learn the ball flight laws. You only have to learn them once.
  • Learn that bad shots happen, and don't require a change to what you're doing or attempting to do.
  • Change your grips when they get worn, slick, hard.
  • Get a video camera, alignment sticks, and a few other training aids. You don't have to spend a lot of money here.
  • Use decent clubs. Your muscle back 2-iron is probably not helping you much.
  • Wear sunscreen and sunglasses. Your skin and your eyes are important.

Tier 2: Minimal Talent

  • Grip the club firmly while remaining athletically "loose" with the rest of your body. Tension in the wrong places can be a killer. Loose muscles are fast muscles.
  • Learn what "start line" and curve your ball has on any given shot. You'll be miles ahead of the game when it comes to solving problems with your swing for the rest of your life.
  • Practice effectively. It doesn't matter if you practice for 10 minutes or 10 hours a week, if you can practice effectively, you'll squeeze as much out of that time as you can. Nobody practices perfectly, but 90% effective is better than 30% effective. Nobody hits perfect shots when practicing, either, but you can make changes when practicing properly.
  • Learn the Shades of Grey and your Shot Zones.
  • Play quickly. Play without fear - golf is just a game we play.

Tier 3: Some Talent

  • Learn to putt with a backswing and downswing that are about the same size. If your ball goes too short and you feel you have to make a huge stroke, just swing it faster, but keep the through and backswing lengths the same.
  • Learn to hit a chip shot with some forward shaft lean and without throwing the trail wrist. I'm amazed at how few people can do this, even if they're just hitting a shot onto a range with no real target, solely trying to "do" this motion.
  • Learn how to make partial swings, particularly with wedges.
  • Learn how to have a "B" swing for days when things are not going well.
  • Develop a ball flight — it's okay if it changes as you continue to improve — and apply the bullet point in the section above to play it.

I allotted myself 15 minutes to write this post and come up with what I could come up with, and that's it. Please add your own in the comments below.



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Tier 1: 

  • Clean your clubs. Don't get upset the ball didn't spin as much as you wanted it to when your grooves are full of dirt and grass.

Tier 2:

  • Learn how to read your lie. Don't try to hit your fairway wood over a forced carry when the ball is buried in deep rough.

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Play without fear - that is a great concept.  Stepping up with confidence allows us the mental framework to give us the best chance to hit a great shot. Stepping up with fear and doubt or playing prevent defense seems to backfire. 

And always, always, play quickly. I can play with anyone, as long as they are quick. 

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3 hours ago, djake said:

It takes no talent to be a nice person.

You maybe paired up with someone you have never meet or is new to your Club.  They don't know anyone and that person is taking a huge step out of their comfort zone to meet new people by playing golf.  By being nice to that person for 1 round of golf can make such a tremendous positive impact in their life.

Remember: Life is hard, golf is hard, being nice is easy

It was a big step out of my comfort zone to play golf with strangers -- but it was what I'd need to do if I wanted to play golf back when I started, since I didn't have many friends who played nor friends who lived near me, so gathering a foursome was going to be quite difficult.  The large number of people who were very nice to me when I was starting were a huge help in keeping me involved with golf. 

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Tier 1

Take appropriate care of the golf course.  Replace divots, fill divot holes with sand mix, repair ball marks (properly), rake bunkers (when rakes come back).  

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Tier 1:

Start a daily stretching routine. People always talk about fitness but often neglect stretching/flexibility. Not only will positively impact your golf game it also will help you feel better in your day to day life. 

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Tier 1:

  • Count ALL your strokes.
  • On that note learn the rules. At least the lion's share of them. I can't tell you the number of folks who I've played with who don't know OB is a stroke PLUS distance. 

Tier 2: 

  • Repair your ball marks.

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Tier 1

-get to the course at least 15min before the tee time (give yourself time to stretch, loosen up swing, and make sure you have appropriate supplies for the round)

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After you set-up look down the line at a target before you take your swing.  (Seems obvious, but sometimes I don't do it)

Edited by No Mulligans

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Tier 1:

-Get a good night’s sleep the night before a round, especially if you’re walking. You’ll feel a lot better throughout the day.

Tier 2:

-Know what to eat/drink on the golf course to keep your energy up. For example, I take water, green tea, and peanut butter crackers. Simple.

Tier 3:

-Know how to strategize your way around the course. Don’t hit shots that are out of your capability.

-Develop a solid short game. I devote about 60% of my practice time to short game and putting, and I’ve reaped the rewards. 

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7 minutes ago, dagolfer18 said:

-Develop a solid short game. I devote about 60% of my practice time to short game and putting, and I’ve reaped the rewards. 

That's almost twice as much time as you should;  your game, and your scoring, is likely worse off for it, not better. 

Tier 1:  know how to efficiently allocate practice time.  Absent a glaring weakness, almost two thirds should be spent on the full swing.

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It takes very little talent to manage your time.  Show up at the course well before your tee time.  Have your ducks in a row before you reach the first tee.  Be ready to play your shot before it is your turn.  Watch the shots the other players play.  Take note of where they land.  Update the score card when you've got a few minutes.  Take more than one club when faced with a hike.  Stuff like that that.

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1 hour ago, dagolfer18 said:

-Develop a solid short game. I devote about 60% of my practice time to short game and putting, and I’ve reaped the rewards. 

Yeah, already addressed, but no.

Just before a tournament, sure, shift the balance to short game a little. But overall, 60% is much too much.

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Tier 1

  • Not only do bad shots happen, but bad holes happen (especially if you are new to the game) - treat each hole as a brand new do-over, i.e. leave the past (hole) behind.
  • Be a motivational coach to your playing partner(s) - everyone needs encouragement! 

Tier 2

  • Keep a notepad in your pocket to document what clubs you played on a given hole - helps you to remember why you had a birdie, bogey, dbl bogey, etc.  

Tier 3

  • Maybe its implied under the "B" swing, but have a "go to" club that you feel 1000% comfortable with.  On the days that you need a confidence builder, that go-to club can be key to getting your "groove" going. 

 

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3 hours ago, WillieT said:

Tier 1

  • Not only do bad shots happen, but bad holes happen (especially if you are new to the game) - treat each hole as a brand new do-over, i.e. leave the past (hole) behind.
  • Be a motivational coach to your playing partner(s) - everyone needs encouragement! 

Tier 2

  • Keep a notepad in your pocket to document what clubs you played on a given hole - helps you to remember why you had a birdie, bogey, dbl bogey, etc.  

Tier 3

  • Maybe its implied under the "B" swing, but have a "go to" club that you feel 1000% comfortable with.  On the days that you need a confidence builder, that go-to club can be key to getting your "groove" going. 

 

I feel like I would put each of these in a different tier.

 

Tier 1

  • Keep a notepad in your pocket to document what clubs you played on a given hole - helps you to remember why you had a birdie, bogey, dbl bogey, etc.  

Tier 2

  • Maybe its implied under the "B" swing, but have a "go to" club that you feel 1000% comfortable with.  On the days that you need a confidence builder, that go-to club can be key to getting your "groove" going. 

Tier 3

  • Not only do bad shots happen, but bad holes happen (especially if you are new to the game) - treat each hole as a brand new do-over, i.e. leave the past (hole) behind.
  • Be a motivational coach to your playing partner(s) - everyone needs encouragement! 

 

It takes no talent to take notes on the course during a round.

I'd say it takes some talent to understand your most comfortable club, and when is the time to use it as a confidence builder without giving up too much on that hole.

And this is probably where I have the biggest difference of opinion.  To say it takes no talent to stay mentally engaged, positive, and properly focused during a round undermines how powerful the mind is and the effort required to properly train and sharpen one's mental skills.

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3 hours ago, bweiss711 said:

And this is probably where I have the biggest difference of opinion.  To say it takes no talent to stay mentally engaged, positive, and properly focused during a round undermines how powerful the mind is and the effort required to properly train and sharpen one's mental skills.

I agree that the mental side of this game can be extremely taxing on all fronts.  What I had in mind when I penned it was that the first thing my son and I say to each other each time we play, "We're here to have fun."  That does not take talent, but I will admit to "keep saying it" when the round is going to down the tubes fast DOES!    

Tier 2 or maybe 3

  • Glean the clubs in your bag as those you never hit are just adding weight and taking up space.  Park them till the time comes your game tells your its time for them to return.  Fewer clubs mean making better shot choices, better shot choices mean making more GIR's and nGIR's.  

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32 minutes ago, WillieT said:

I agree that the mental side of this game can be extremely taxing on all fronts.  What I had in mind when I penned it was that the first thing my son and I say to each other each time we play, "We're here to have fun."  That does not take talent, but I will admit to "keep saying it" when the round is going to down the tubes fast DOES!    

 

I feel like that illustrates the point entirely.  Golf is filled with ideas that are much easier said than done.  Its easy to say on the first tee "We're going to have fun." But it is much harder to actually keep that mindset for an entire 18 hole round.  To me, that's no different than standing over a 12 foot putt and saying "I'm going to hit it down my intended line at the correct pace."  Easy to say, harder to execute.

I interpret this blog post as trying to isolate some helpful concepts that actually are just as easy to do as they are to say.

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Regarding Tier 3:

"

  • Learn to hit a chip shot with some forward shaft lean and without throwing the trail wrist. I'm amazed at how few people can do this, even if they're just hitting a shot onto a range with no real target, solely trying to "do" this motion.
  • Learn how to make partial swings, particularly with wedges. "

I have learned to practice this properly through instruction with video. Find a good instructor in which you can have these movements evaluated/critiqued. Both in person instruction (if available) and definitely video. Sometimes my perception was not reality. Video combined with instructors critique (draw the lines and emphasize areas of concern) greatly improved my understanding and IMO helped me progress steadily. 

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