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What Makes PGA Tour Players Freaks of Nature?

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I think the point is at some point you get diminishing returns on your practice. Lets say I'm a scratch golfer *getting close :)* and I start hitting 10 buckets a day and practicing my short game for several hours a day at some point I'm going to see little if any additional improvement. You can practice 24/7 but everyone will hit some kind of wall at some point. For most people that's around scratch. For the elite it's +6 to +10.

I can totally agree with the fact that people will hit a wall. I understand that. But you can't just say that a 5 handicaper given the same resources that a pro has, could never, ever make it on the tour. Is it highly unlikely? Yea. But by no means impossible. Everyone is different, one 5 handicap might have a higher ceiling than another. You never know until they are given that chance. But because most have to hold down a regular job to support themselves or a family, they will never know.

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I agree with that to some degree. You know what it really makes me wonder though? What if Tiger Woods hadn't picked up club until he was 24? How many rounds do you suppose it would have taken him to break 100,90,80,70? I think what you are missing is that there is such a thing as prodigies. Kids, and adults for that matter sometimes have otherworldly talents that almost defy reason. Sometimes these are realized and sometimes they aren't. I think the majority of the best golfers in the world have some prodigy like aspect to their games. I personally don't think it would take 24 year old Tiger long to realize that he was unnaturally talented at golf.

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For you musicians out there, it's the same as being a "bedroom guitarist" versus getting on stage in front of people.

The analogy between a practice round and real competition stroke play versus playing an instrument, the piano for example, in front of a couple of people you know versus a big audience, especially if you know in the audience there are people who know a thing or two about music, is eerily similar.

Some professional musicians who audition take the same drugs to combat anxiety that I would guess golfers would as well. Both take them because their livelyhoods depend on it.

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I agree with that to some degree. You know what it really makes me wonder though? What if Tiger Woods hadn't picked up club until he was 24? How many rounds do you suppose it would have taken him to break 100,90,80,70? I think what you are missing is that there is such a thing as prodigies. Kids, and adults for that matter sometimes have otherworldly talents that almost defy reason. Sometimes these are realized and sometimes they aren't. I think the majority of the best golfers in the world have some prodigy like aspect to their games. I personally don't think it would take 24 year old Tiger long to realize that he was unnaturally talented at golf.

I think you are right when you speak of age, not in the fact that they are all prodigies. I think if you start playing early enogh it just becomes more natural to you. Just like speaking another language or even playing music, the quicker you are submerged the higher you will perform in what ever given area.

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I think you are right when you speak of age, not in the fact that they are all prodigies. I think if you start playing early enogh it just becomes more natural to you. Just like speaking another language or even playing music, the quicker you are submerged the higher you will perform in what ever given area.

Definitely.

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I think you are right when you speak of age, not in the fact that they are all prodigies. I think if you start playing early enogh it just becomes more natural to you. Just like speaking another language or even playing music, the quicker you are submerged the higher you will perform in what ever given area.

Yea but your missing the point, First off I said prodigy like. If some people are prodigies are some aren't there must be something intermediate there. You mentioned speaking another language and playing music those are perfect examples. Child prodigies with music learn instruments in months and are virtuoso before they hit 10. Its not just that they were exposed to it at an early age or practiced a lot theres more to it than that. The language things even crazier it's like something out of Phenomenon. Now imagine the equivalent of a person learning golf at the rate that a 7 year old learns 12 languages or an 8 year old masters piano.

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Yea but your missing the point, First off I said prodigy like. If some people are prodigies are some aren't there must be something intermediate there. You mentioned speaking another language and playing music those are perfect examples. Child prodigies with music learn instruments in months and are virtuoso before they hit 10. Its not just that they were exposed to it at an early age or practiced a lot theres more to it than that. The language things even crazier it's like something out of Phenomenon. Now imagine the equivalent of a person learning golf at the rate that a 7 year old learns 12 languages or an 8 year old masters piano.

I disagree, I think exposure at an early age where it is actually taken seriously has a major effect. When I started playing golf, I went to see how far I could hit the ball and never practiced. Tiger spent his entire life hitting golf balls, until recently of course. The point is kids learn at a faster rate because they do and don't question. They are shown a proper method and they just execute it. For example take a 24 year old who is learning the game of golf. He goes to his lesson and on the range he starts hitting it relatively pure. Two weeks later he comes back and his swing in no way resembles how he was instructed to swing just two weeks ago. He was probably hitting well but thought he could hit it better if he tried a few different things. Now he is back to stage one shanking the ball again. Additionally adults naturally have more on their minds, they can't focus on the game like children. I think if you truly want to be great you have to start early and take it seriously. As a adults we constantly have to understand why we are doing what we are doing and I believe it takes away from the focus of just doing that activity with a free mind. Of course the student has to have geniuine love of what they are doing also.

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PGA Pro's are not freaks. They have pounded hundreds of thousands of golf balls learning, and trusting their swings. Trevino is a great example.

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In full shots it's 99% hand/eye coordination. These guys are wild west sharpshooters and gunslingers....really. They can make last millisecond adjustments in the downswing to pull shots off if they are out of position. It doesn't hurt to have some strength either obviously.

Putting is the other 75% of the game, don't see many swing videos of putting though....Some have the ability...while 99.8% of us don't.

Like I said .... wild west gunslingers of 2010 is the best analogy I can give to non golfers in the classic bar argument ......"are golfers athletes?"

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Alot of people are making my point for me.

No, they're not.

They're really not. You've never apparently been around top-level talent. Maybe this is one of those things you kind of have to be around for awhile to "get." I don't know...
I'd love to see PGA Tour golfers compete against each other in different sports other than golf.

Off-topic and irrelevant.

The freaks are good at every sport they play, the hard workers are only good at the games they've worked hard at.

I never said anything like that. Some are just good - freakishly good - at hitting a golf ball.

Trevino is a great example.

... of a freak. He put the swing together himself. That alone makes him a freak. His determination sets him apart again - also "freak"ish.

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Some professional musicians who audition take the same drugs to combat anxiety that I would guess golfers would as well. Both take them because their livelyhoods depend on it.

Heh, I've been playing live shows since I was about seventeen... and I -still- need to have the occasional pre-show barf.

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Pros are not 'gods', nor are they 'freaks' - they are atheletes.

If you have atheletic ability and have played in your youth-young adult years and have put in 10,000 hours of practice, you can become a top competing pro - maybe not pga tour pro, but a really friggin good golfer.

To become that PGA tour pro, you just have to be able to make those shots under pressure and at that point it's all mental game.

There is NOTHING freak like about these PGA tour pros. The majority of the people on this board have other things to tend to in life that prevent them from treating golf as their primary focus in life.

It's the same as tennis, basketball, soccer, and any other sport. If you put in the hours, you can become a pro and if you have the talent, or just the SLIGHT edge, you can compete on the top level.

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Pros are not 'gods', nor are they 'freaks' - they are atheletes.

I don't think a pro golfer has to be an

athlete . I sure as hell don't think John Daly is an athlete, and I doubt many people do. In fact, I don't think golf requires much athletic ability at all. I see golf as more of a skill that is acquired by a combination of natural talent and repetition. You can't seriously say that some pros aren't 'freaks' of nature. Look at Tiger, sure he practiced his ass off, but he had a natural ability as soon as he picked up a club. Or, take a look at Pele, you can't tell me he wasn't given the gift of ridiculous soccer skills right from birth. I think a good deal of the success that these pros enjoy can be attributed to their 'freakness'. And, I also don't buy that if anyone puts in 10,000 hours of practice into any sport that they could become a pro in said sport. I, for one, could practice my entire life at soccer and still not even make a college team. That's because I don't have the natural foot-eye coordination that all soccer players do have. I have fantastic hand-eye coordination, and I'm athletic, so I would agree that I could become a pro at certain sports from decades of practice. But there are some sports that certain people will never be extraordinary at, no matter how hard or long they practice.

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Pros are not 'gods', nor are they 'freaks' - they are atheletes.

Many are both freaks and athletes.

Almost all on the PGA Tour are the former.
If you have atheletic ability and have played in your youth-young adult years and have put in 10,000 hours of practice, you can become a top competing pro -

Fixed that for you. BTW, you agree more than you don't.

There is NOTHING freak like about these PGA tour pros. The majority of the people on this board have other things to tend to in life that prevent them from treating golf as their primary focus in life.

Wrong. Hey, look up Bruce Lietzke. The guy played less golf than you and yet competed at the PGA Tour level and won a fair number of tournaments.

It's the same as tennis, basketball, soccer, and any other sport. If you put in the hours, you can become a pro and if you have the talent, or just the SLIGHT edge, you can compete on the top level.

That "slight edge" is what makes them freaks.

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Just skimmed the whole thread. Where I think it goes wrong is in failing to understand that golf involves a whole collection of athletic and intellectual skillsets, not just eye-hand coordination or fast-twitch muscle fibers. It involves proprioception, visualization, depth perception and angle perception, muscle memory, flexibility, durability. Plus experience with wind, a couple of dozen species of grasses and forbs, conditions of dryness and dampness, and memory for all of this which only comes with years in the sport and playing different courses under different conditions. Is golf the most complex game ever? Surely it is. The only thing that limits its complexity is that the ball is at rest when struck -- fortunately for most of us!

And as the thread seems to be heading, discussion of "freakhood" comes down to theories of nature versus nurture. Some are prejudiced one way or the other. I think there is overlap, so that one who is not genetically gifted can by determination and struggle come close to the summit, or at least, I hope it might be so.

Probably tests could be devised to examine children and adults and calculate the relative potential skill level of each. So that, instead of taking our children (or ourselves!) to golf teachers, we would take them first to testers, who would then advise us if we were wasting our time or not, within a specified level of confidence. Same thing with other sports. And the confidence level will never be 100%. Do we really want to do that? If we do not, then all we can do is let matters take their course.

Athleticism, btw, is not one skill. It also is a collection of different skills, and even top athletes in any single sport have their own unique blend of aptitudes. Take pro centers in basketball: they can all jump, move and react quickly while having considerable endurance in their legs, have quick hands, good eye-hand coordination, and they will be tall, but there is a lot of variation anyway. If you had examined their muscle fibers for percentage of slow-twitch versus fast twitch when they were teenagers, the results would probably be all over the map.

Fortunately, some of what used to be regarded as innate aptitudes can be changed. You can develop new neural-muscular connections, multiply your mitochondria, possibly even grow new brain cells and change between Type 1 and Type 2 muscle fibers. So let's not be too quick to judge.

Just because a kid is uncoordinated, totally unsuitable for a sport does not mean the kid cannon and will not change. Teachers and parents must always beware of pigeonholing and being judgmental.

In the past, successful, even famous, pro golfers were not necessarily overall athletes, or even very athletic. If you are an older fan, I'm sure you can make out a list of horribly unathletic professional golfers, some of whom still play in the senior tour.

The game is different now. There is no stigma in being a professional golfer, or in being a college grad who makes a living playing golf. There used to be. And the living is so much more appealing, for the elite few. Snead told stories of the tour in the 1930s, where golfers "rode between tournaments four to a car, and slept two to a bed." No more! [Can you picture John Daly sharing a regular size mattress with Vijay or Tiger, and both playing the next day?]

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An innate ability to pick up a golf club swing it over their shoulder, and hit it squarely on a little white golf ball. And some great, yet changeable, muscle memory. But, I suppose back to the original topic.

I heard that as well, but it was my uncle who told me it was a number something like 90% of golfers never break 100. This is kind of sad considering if you take an extra stroke past the GIR to get on the green you can still 2 putt every hole and shoot 90. I'm assuming those people have never been fitted, read a golf book, got a lesson, or spent multiple days a week at the practice facility/on the course.

I've shot 40-41 a handful of times and 39 once this year and I just started playing multiple days weekly this year. Before i played with my dad on occasion, just need to string two together in one round maybe I can break 80. That's my goal this year. But now i just can't seem to stay away from the course. I've never been fitted which is a shame but being fit for new clubs/shafts right now is not something I can afford. Some PGA Tour Players are "freaks of nature" physically but most are not. Just look at them. They aren't huge muscular guys who build their games around power. Sure, they have a lot of it, but it's not mostly from muscle strength. Their are many guys out on tour who are skinny but can still keep their legs strong to the ground and create good coil. What makes them fantastic and separates them from even the lower handicapers is their ability to make every shot feel the same through an extremely consistent routine. They think about how the shot should be played from behind the ball, turn off their mind, and get into routine mode. No thought, just swing. They MIGHT think quickly "club to 9 oclock" for a half shot or however they are used to playing that distance. But other than that no conscious thoughts.

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Just skimmed the whole thread. Where I think it goes wrong is in failing to understand that golf involves a whole collection of athletic and intellectual skillsets, not just eye-hand coordination or fast-twitch muscle fibers. It involves proprioception, visualization, depth perception and angle perception, muscle memory, flexibility, durability. Plus experience with wind, a couple of dozen species of grasses and forbs, conditions of dryness and dampness, and memory for all of this which only comes with years in the sport and playing different courses under different conditions. Is golf the most complex game ever? Surely it is. The only thing that limits its complexity is that the ball is at rest when struck -- fortunately for most of us!

hahahah great points that's hilarious

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Nice topic.

To be honest it's a combination of both hard work and natural talent.

You guys remember when Michael Jordan switched to baseball? No matter how hard he worked he wasn't going to be great like on the basketball court.

But to say they are just merely freaks of nature is an insult to the players themselves. People seem to forget Tiger logs in around 9 hours of practice a day.
It was common for Nick Faldo to practice 12 hours a day.

Vince Carter is definitely more athletically gifted than Kobe Bryant but what separates the two is Kobe's insane work ethic.
I think Phil has just as much natural talent than Tiger. The difference is one of them is in line for Krispy Kreme while the other is down at the driving range.
Players in all sports who solely rely on their natural talents usually diminish with age.

The great players are damn hard workers not just natural talents. Period.

See the rise of Koren women in the LPGA? Are they naturally talented? Yes, but they have pretty much been breed to live and breath golf since they stepped out of the womb.

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