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PGA Tour Golfers and Required Silence


jetgolfer
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Why can any other professional athlete focus in a noisy environment? Field goal kickers, baseball players attempting to hit a ball at 90mph, but pro golfers need absolute silence!! I'm an avid golfer, and can appreciate the art of concentration, but it would do wonders for the PGA if those guys would show some nuts and just play.
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Why can any other professional athlete focus in a noisy environment? Field goal kickers, baseball players attempting to hit a ball at 90mph, but pro golfers need absolute silence!! I'm an avid golfer, and can appreciate the art of concentration, but it would do wonders for the PGA if those guys would show some nuts and just play.

Because in those other situations, the noise is almost white noise.  It is loud and relatively constant. The fans are not nearly as close. Some teams even practice with a lot of noise to train the players out of it. If all was silent, and the field goal kicker started his motion and someone yelled 10 feet away, "GET IN THE HOLE"!, I'm sure he would struggle.  Same for free throws and pitcher/batter situations.

The game of golf is generally played in a quiet setting. An abrupt noise will cause the body to flinch in a protective way.  Because 'golf is hard' that can really disrupt the swing.

Scott

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Because in those other situations, the noise is almost white noise.  It is loud and relatively constant.

This. That's why they generally have no problem hitting shots while an airplane passes over. It's a constant drone and therefor easy to filter out. Sudden or abrupt noises, like a camera shutter at the top of your backswing or a moron yelling something about your pants are much more distracting.

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Why can any other professional athlete focus in a noisy environment? Field goal kickers, baseball players attempting to hit a ball at 90mph, but pro golfers need absolute silence!! I'm an avid golfer, and can appreciate the art of concentration, but it would do wonders for the PGA if those guys would show some nuts and just play.

Until recently, silence was enforced in the PBA also. Though I understand not everyone agrees on the athlete status of bowlers. There are other activities which also require silence, like Pro Pool. I don't remember hearing noise and commotion while watching 9 ball tournaments.

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I think it's 90% mental and the rest is in their head.  They're just too use to the quite and let any little bit of noise bother them.

When people appologize for talking during my swing I usually say, 'don't worry about it, it doesn't bother me'.  However, someone yelling in my ear during a swing, that would bother me.

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I also find it odd that a pro athlete can't be mentally focused enough that they can't block out external noises.

Sometimes I'll play with people who are actively looking for excuses for their crappy shots but that's a topic for another thread probably.

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Good points. Have you ever heard an air horn go off before a field gaol kick? Not sure I buy the white noise theory. TPC Scottsdale # 16 for example. The guys focus and get it done, and there is not another hole in golf that is more fun.
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Good points. Have you ever heard an air horn go off before a field gaol kick? Not sure I buy the white noise theory. TPC Scottsdale # 16 for example. The guys focus and get it done, and there is not another hole in golf that is more fun.

Your fun is different than mine then, but that is ok too.

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The close proximity of player to public is a great point, as there is no other sport which you can get as close to the athletes. It's guys like bubba and poulter that stop at the slightest whisper that drives me crazy. It's almost as they are paying more attention to the gallery than that are the shot at hand.
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The close proximity of player to public is a great point, as there is no other sport which you can get as close to the athletes. It's guys like bubba and poulter that stop at the slightest whisper that drives me crazy. It's almost as they are paying more attention to the gallery than that are the shot at hand.

I agree some players are way more sensitive.

A bit off topic, but this inflatable bats in basketball bug me no end.

Scott

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Until recently, silence was enforced in the PBA also. Though I understand not everyone agrees on the athlete status of bowlers. There are other activities which also require silence, like Pro Pool. I don't remember hearing noise and commotion while watching 9 ball tournaments.

The only time you'll hear noise and commotion is during the Mosconi Cup but they still shut-up when a player is taking a shot...

"No man goes round boasting of his vices,” he said, “except golfers." 

-- Det. Elk in The Twister by Edgar Wallace

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I recall a story by Lee Trevino saying they played matches for fun where the opposing player got to shout distracting phrases while the other was over the ball. Said it helped his concentration for the real thing.

BTW, Arizona State University is the mecca of sports distraction routines. Check this out:

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Back in the day, there was a group of guys I used to play with that played a gotcha game. Rule of the game was, we could make all the noise we wanted to, but there was no touching the player hitting the ball. We all knew it was coming and it greatly helped our focus when hitting. What really screwed us up, was when the guys would get together and become silent. just the opposite of what we expected. Golfers can focus when a train goes by or something else that's a constant sound. It's when the silence is broken suddenly, that we have that reflex response and screw the shot up. That's what we've become trained for from when we started out playing. Could you imagine the tour allowing chatter before the player hits. Can you imagine folks yelling "Be the ball" or "Newnan" or breaking out in song "I'm all right". Could be fun though........

Hate crowned cups.

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Back in the day, there was a group of guys I used to play with that played a gotcha game. Rule of the game was, we could make all the noise we wanted to, but there was no touching the player hitting the ball. We all knew it was coming and it greatly helped our focus when hitting...

I've often wondered why the pros don't practice like that.  Have people talk while they putt, yell during their backswing, click cell phone cameras, etc., just to get used to it and learn to block it out.  Not condoning boorish behavior by golf fans at events, but the pros know there's going to be at least some noise no matter what.  I'd think if you spent enough practice time dealing with it, it would be a lot less bothersome during competition.

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  • 1 month later...
Respect also plays a huge role as well. Golf is one of the few sports where every athlete gets the same amount of respect from the fans while they play.

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I think if you want to throw off a free throw shooter of field goal kicker you make as much noise as possible during his preshot, then go silent as he makes the attempt. The silence will be distracting. I don't think its the noise in of itself that throws off a golfer, its the change from silence to the to noise.

Never use a paragraph when a sentence will do.

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I think there is a general white noise that is present during a PGA Tour event. It is not completely silent with a few thousand people standing around. The white noise is of course on a far lower level than a football game, but they seem to do fine with it.

I agree that it is the change from quiet to loud that causes the lack of concentration. My home course is directly in a flight path and planes take off all the time, the noise is really loud, sometimes even F-16's, which can even hurt your ears, but it is constant and therefore doesn't bother anyone. Our group goes along like nothing is happening.

Michael

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