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Scratch golfer in 2 years practicing 3 hours per week?


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My son plays in junior golf tournaments and occasionally we talk to the players he is playing with. It seems like the top players in the tournaments always say they have been playing golf for about 2 years and when asked how much they practice they usually say they play once a week and then either see a coach once a week or practice for about 1-2 hours once a week. This is not just one or two kids who have said this, it has happened a lot. These kids are winning with scores that are even or under par. It is a pleasure to watch these kids do so well and I would recommend that anyone who wants to see some really good golf go to a junior tournament, but when I read the posts on here people say it takes lots of practice and years before someone reaches scratch. So, still being somewhat new to the sport, are kids just more natural athletes and are able to become scratch or better in 2 years or we being misled?

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I became scratch in around 2.5 years, but i practiced a lot. I had never even held a golf club of any kind until i was 16. So i had to spend a lot of time practicing short game so i could catch up to my peers.

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Being under par may or may not make them a scratch golfer. I am guessing you are seeing a lot of CR 68 type course but I am making a lot of assumptions on what you mean by junior. That being said, you are seeing selection bias. If you take 5000 kids, you will find the 10 that are really good at golf at the top of the leaderboard. But yeah kids tend to learn muscle skills easier than adults. Think about how many kids hit a baseball ok with pretty low levels of technique work an teaching.

Originally Posted by Golfing Dad

My son plays in junior golf tournaments and occasionally we talk to the players he is playing with. It seems like the top players in the tournaments always say they have been playing golf for about 2 years and when asked how much they practice they usually say they play once a week and then either see a coach once a week or practice for about 1-2 hours once a week. This is not just one or two kids who have said this, it has happened a lot. These kids are winning with scores that are even or under par. It is a pleasure to watch these kids do so well and I would recommend that anyone who wants to see some really good golf go to a junior tournament, but when I read the posts on here people say it takes lots of practice and years before someone reaches scratch. So, still being somewhat new to the sport, are kids just more natural athletes and are able to become scratch or better in 2 years or we being misled?

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You can do it if the three hours are really, really focused, highly supervised practice sessions.

Quite honestly the best thing you could do if you wanted to accomplish this goal was to find a local instructor who is GOOD (most are not), and work with him to put together a plan that includes hours of supervised practice with lessons mixed in from time to time.

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How old?  That seems like terribly little practice and playing time.  I graduated high school in 93; played junior golf starting when I was 12.  I had a group of friends who all played golf at the same club near my house.  During the summer, the assistant pro was basically my babysitter.  We rode our bikes to the course at 0730, played 27 or so holes, and spent the rest of the day on the chipping/putting area.  Helped that it was right next to the swimming pool, so we could watch the older girls laying around in their bikinis.  I would ride my bike home at 4:30 or 5:00.

I won a few tournaments, but I was only one of maybe 15 guys on our junior circuit who were in the winners' club.  And we all spent pretty much every waking moment on the golf course.

During the school year we only played on the weekends (one round with the buds, one round with our dads).  Pretty much every weekend was like that until high school.  Once in high school (on the golf team), we were at the golf course every weekday by 3:00, and we played at least nine holes every day, and spent at least an hour a day putting, chipping, and hitting balls.  Weekends we were at the course the entire time--the only non-golf activity was usually church on Sunday morning.

It's easier for junior golfers to go low these days.  I was playing with persimmon heads, forged blades, and steel shafts.  Graphite shafts and metal woods were out there, but I didn't get any of these things until I was a sophomore in high school.  I was using dad's old clubs, as were most of my friends.  Seems like now every kid has the latest technology, and it helps.

But I can't imagine that the practice routines for kids have changed that much.

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Originally Posted by k-troop

How old?  That seems like terribly little practice and playing time.  I graduated high school in 93; played junior golf starting when I was 12.  I had a group of friends who all played golf at the same club near my house.  During the summer, the assistant pro was basically my babysitter.  We rode our bikes to the course at 0730, played 27 or so holes, and spent the rest of the day on the chipping/putting area.  Helped that it was right next to the swimming pool, so we could watch the older girls laying around in their bikinis.  I would ride my bike home at 4:30 or 5:00.

I won a few tournaments, but I was only one of maybe 15 guys on our junior circuit who were in the winners' club.  And we all spent pretty much every waking moment on the golf course.

During the school year we only played on the weekends (one round with the buds, one round with our dads).  Pretty much every weekend was like that until high school.  Once in high school (on the golf team), we were at the golf course every weekday by 3:00, and we played at least nine holes every day, and spent at least an hour a day putting, chipping, and hitting balls.  Weekends we were at the course the entire time--the only non-golf activity was usually church on Sunday morning.

In other words, very little of that time was spent in a structured fashion. You did what I did (though a bit less) - just goofed around at the golf course all day, every day. That's not the same as dedicated practice. I've had five-minute practice sessions that are more meaningful and useful to me than some guys will get in an entire week or month of practice sessions.

So, I just want to re-iterate what I said above: three hours for two years is over 300 hours. If that's dedicated, good, structured practice, I think he can get to scratch, sure.

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Erik, agree--just seems odd that the kid is a golfer, trying to get to scratch and win tournaments, and only playing for a few hours a week.  Most of the kids I knew who wanted to compete were completely obsessed with golf.

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Note: This thread is 3175 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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