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Why Do People Think Golf Is Easy?


adamgoodman
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I know it just appears to be hitting a little ball with a stick, but seriously, it's getting a tiny ball into a tiny hole using weapons that seemed very ill-designed for the purpose.

Every clueless person I've talked to claims it's hard to get "PGA Tour good" but being "decent" is easy, when they've barely picked up a club in their life.

Seems like too many non-players think they can pick up a club and be shooting in the nineties.

I introduced a friend of mine to the game who was very unpleasantly surprised with how difficult it really was (he had expectations like I stated above), but pleasantly he has stuck with it. (Good for him!)

Has anyone else had similar experiences?
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I think it comes from the type of person that can be good. For other sports like football, basketball, baseball, soccer, etc. you have to be young (20s or early 30s) and athletic to be considered a top player. In golf you have top competitors like Kenny Perry.
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Two part post:

1) To answer your question, people think golf is easy for a couple reasons. First, baseball used to be the American past-time, and the ball moves, and since a lot of people played baseball they figure trying to hit a stationary ball would be easier. Second, they see that historically the best golfers in the world are unathletic looking people. If you stood Jack Nicklaus next to Michael Jordan or Carl Lewis, some lay-person may think Jack was their lawyer. A casual person may think if THAT person can be the best golfer, surely I can be decent at it.

2) Similar experience to you and your friend: I have a former college football teammate of mine that wanted to start golfing with me cause he sees how into it I am. Unbeknownst to me, he goes out and picks up some clubs at the local Sports Authority for cheap. I happened to stop by his house the Friday before I went to go play a par-72 course on Saturday, and he said "I want to play with you, I just got a set of clubs." What a horrifying thought: he wants to play his first round ever with me on a busy Saturday morning on a 6700 yard par 72 course.

As luck would have it, I ended up playing in a tournament that Saturday, so I couldn't play with him anyway (the tournament was a last-minute entry that they accepted because somebody backed out). So I told him we'd have to do it Sunday, which allowed me to make a tee time at par 3 style course (par 30 on front 9). So I call him Saturday night and ask if he still wants to play Sunday morning, and the conversation goes something like this:

Him: I think I'm gonna have to cancel that bro.
Me: Why?
Him: I went to the driving range yesterday.
Me: ...and?
Him: Do you really want to know?
Me: 'nuff said.

Brandon
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If you have a strong MIND, you can get pretty decent at golf rather quickly. Not "one time out and I'm good"...but play a few rounds and go to the range for a little while...you'll be decent enough..>IF you have the mind for it.
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Really it wasn't hard because i started when i was about 13 years old, its different depending on the age. I was able to use pure hand eye cordinnation to hit the ball. But the major key was that first lesson, and there after, that alone dropped me from mid 90's to low 80's in a few years.
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Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

People think golf is easy because the guys at the highest levels of golf do not typically look very athletic. For every ripped-up "Camilo Villegas" type I can show you 20 guys with pot bellies, and another 20 super-skinny stick figures. As a group, pro golfers look like guys that get sand kicked in their faces. So the assumption is that if this nonathletic-looking person is able to play golf well, then golf must not require a lot of physical coordination.

In terms of fitness, things are changing, and the guys are a lot more fit than they were during Nicklaus' time. But guys like Perry and Cabrera are not rare.
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I've experienced quite the opposite... Everyone I know thinks golf is hard. I play football, basketball, ran track, and played soccer in high school. I think golf is the hardest overall because I can't use my natural size and speed and abuse my opposition.
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Two part post:

Pretty close, but in additon a lot of, guys primarially, who consider themselves athletic and tried golf briefly and did poorly knock it on that basis alone. If such people can't do it success must be based on something else than athletic ability. It is also because people define athletic skill to narrowly. It you are 6' 1" and make 50 percent of your 3 pointers are you really a poorer athlete than 7 foot and can't make a shot over 8' from the basket but can dunk with either hand. Is a sprinter a better athlete than a marathon runner? The possible comparisons are endless, and many people are proud of their ignorance.

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Really it wasn't hard because i started when i was about 13 years old, its different depending on the age. I was able to use pure hand eye cordinnation to hit the ball. But the major key was that first lesson, and there after, that alone dropped me from mid 90's to low 80's in a few years.

Well "a few years" doesn't make it easy right there.

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I think the people that think golf is easy___
a. have never played (maybe they've been to a driving range...but not played a round)
b. their only exposure to golf is watching the tour on TV and for the most part...those guys make it "look" easy. Even though we know better.
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A lot of people have their only experience with golf by what they see on TV. And watching golf on TV makes it look really, really easy. The top players in the world make the game look effortless(except during the U.S. Open) when they are playing their best and leading a tournament. We all know that TV does not really do golf any justice as to how hard a shot is or how difficult it is to read that triple breaking 40 foot putt. This gives the guy sitting at home on his couch the false belief that he can go out and learn how to play like the pros with a little bit of practice. We all know that is not the case.

Until you actually try to play the game, you cannot really make an educated comment as to how hard it is. My wife always though it looked pretty easy too, until I grabbed a cheap right handed 7 iron and drug her to the driving range to try and hit some. She quickly learned that truth about how hard golf really is.
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Upon looking at a professaional golf swing on TV, it really doesn't look that hard to msot people. It just looks like they're picking up the club to the side and swinging out.

Not until they actually get a club in their hands and that motion that they thought easy almost seems impossible to replicate.
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Football: A group of men kicking a piece of leather around a field.

Any sport can be reduced to sound simple and indeed pointless but it is becoming more skillful that is the hard bit.

If a beginner golfer dropped from 28 to 12 HC in a year of concerted practice you might say they make it look easy compared to the progress of others but there is always another goal, a better player to beat or a problem to fix.

Nobody I know who has actually played golf has found it in any way easy. In fact it is an extremely punishing sport because if you look at football, you miss one chance and score another all is forgiven but in golf all your wayward shots count.
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Nobody I know who has actually played golf has found it in any way easy. In fact it is an extremely punishing sport because if you look at football, you miss one chance and score another all is forgiven but in golf all your wayward shots count.

I was thinking about exactly this recently. Golf is different from most other sports for many reasons, but this is one of them. There are no re-dos, there are not make-ups, there are no "best of"s. My former sport was basketball, and the mentality in that sport is "shake it off, because you'll get another chance in a minute". Not in golf. You flub a chip and you have to deal with your new lie. Not only did you lose a stroke, you have to get yourself out of the position you put yourself in. Nothing is ever not recorded toward your score.

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the pros on tv make it look easy. I never thought it was easy even before i started playing but it has proven to be difficult to stay consistent. Hitting good shots one day and and looking like a decent player and shanking them the next. Golf requires so much precision to hit accurate shots that im surprised i ever hit good shots. Just a fraction of an inch off is the difference of a nice straight beautiful lofted iron shot and one that goes straight right into the trees.
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A lot of people have their only experience with golf by what they see on TV. And watching golf on TV makes it look really, really easy.

Not only do the players make it look really easy, but keep in mind that the culture of TV Golf (except major tournaments) is to only cover the guys who are in contention and doing well. You rarely see highlights of the guy who is struggling to make par, and instead see the highlights of the guy sticking it within 8 feet of the pin or draining 40 foot birdie putts.

I was thinking about exactly this recently. Golf is different from most other sports for many reasons, but this is one of them. There are no re-dos, there are not make-ups, there are no "best of"s. My former sport was basketball, and the mentality in that sport is "shake it off, because you'll get another chance in a minute". Not in golf. You flub a chip and you have to deal with your new lie. Not only did you lose a stroke, you have to get yourself out of the position you put yourself in. Nothing is ever not recorded toward your score.

Good point. I actually had to articulate this recently, and came to a similar summation. Basically, I've been dating a girl who plays a lot of tennis. She played college soccer and is overall pretty athletic. She plays golf with me, and is pretty good for a beginner. But she gets very frustrated with it. Upon meeting her and her tennis instructor, they started talking about why Golf is so frustrating for them, and it clicked for me: the penalty in golf is proportionate to your mistake! And it doesn't end until you correct it.

Think about it. In tennis, you can hit the worst shot in the world--over the net, out of bounds, over the gate, into the next county and you still basically only drop one point to your opponent. In basketball, you can play the worst defense in the world and typically only give up 2-4 points on one possession. In golf, if you hit the worst shot in the world in a hazard 2 fairways over, you have to go play that ball/stroke until you can get it into the cup. Putting up a snowman is always just one really poor shot away, and it can ruin an entire score if you don't mentally stay with it. If your goal was to shoot 80 that day, you know that it's all but lost. In football or hockey if you make an egregious error, you can still dominate the rest of the match and that error won't necessarily manifest itself in the final score. Not that way in golf. Brandon
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