A few years ago, I published a blog post that was a reprint, with permission, of the best piece I have ever read about how much practice it takes to get good at golf.
The answer is essentially what Ben Hogan told Gary Player when Player said he practiced all the time. Hogan said, “Good. Now practice more than that.”
I read an obituary a few years ago of Bob Kurland, who played professional basketball in the 1950s. He was one of the first truly big men in the game. Kurland realized if he developed a hook shot from close in, no one would be able to stop it.
So the story goes that he went to the gym and started practicing. The first 100 or so shots didn’t come close. The next hundred showed promise. By about 300 shots, he started to connect.
That’s not too much for you to do, either, if you want to.
A few days ago I was cruising around Wikipedia, reading the entry for Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim. He worked his butt off to get where got to.
He said, about composing, “Well, I can do that. Because you just don’t know. You think it’s a talent, you think you’re born with this thing. What I’ve found out and what I believed is that everybody is talented. It’s just that some people get it developed and some don’t.”
You have the talent to be good at something in golf. Very good. Decide what you’re going to be good at, and put in the work to get there.
How much work? One more time.
I picked up this line recently, but I can’t remember from where. It goes like this: An amateur will practice until he (or she) can do it right. A professional will keep on practicing until he can’t do it wrong.
The next time you practice chipping for ten minutes and a few shots get close to the hole and you’re about to call it a day, think about how good could you be vs. how good are you allowing yourself to be.