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How much time do you really have to practice golf?

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Do you have the time you need to practice your golf?

I have had too many clients that come with the excuse, “I have no time with the golf training because of….” or “There are never enough hours in the day.”

Below, I have some statistics from SCB (Statistics Sweden) that shows the average time men and women, in the age span 20 to 64, spend on different facets such as labor, housework, personal needs, etc. I have only taken the statistics for workdays (Monday through Friday) because I think these days are toughest to find free time for practice.

Average women (Swedish) age 20-64 years, workdays:

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Average male (Swedish) age 20-64 years, workdays:

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These charts tell us that the average male and female have each day about four hours of “free time.” With four hours of free time, I think you can achieve a lot of quality golf practice. But in reality, most people will use their free time for activities other than sports. The research SCB did showed also what activities the general public spend their time on during the “free time,” see the statistics below:

Free Time Percentage Divided

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From this statistics we can easily see that most people use only 28 minutes per day for sports and 86 minutes watching TV. If you really want to be a better golfer, I would recommend changing your habits from watching TV to practicing golf instead. The only excuse to watch TV would be for the Masters at Augusta!

Of course, your day may differ from these statistics if you have children, are unemployed, a junior, etc. But the main thing is that you optimize your time for golf training if it’s important to you. The easiest way to do this is to monitor yourself on what activities you spend your time on. Then perhaps find some ways to get more time for golf. If you’d like to have a form to use for monitor your time, you can email me to receive it.

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Simon Selin PGA Club Professional in Sweden, extensive teaching experience coaching both amateur and professional-level golfers. Coached on the Ladies European Tour 2007-2010 TPI Certified Level 2 Golf Coach "Your swing should fit your body instead of your body to adapt to a type of a golf swing."

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Nick

    Aug 5, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    The Swedish life sounds awesome. I commute 2 hours (1 hour both ways), and work 9 hours. I have an hour lunch in that 9 hours that is sometimes work sometimes not, but rarely enought time to get to the course and back with much time especially if I’ll be sweating and need a change of clothes/shower. Best I can do is a bucket after work on a lit range and some hour long early morning practice sessions and rounds on the weekend.

  2. Brian

    Aug 5, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    When daylight permits, I play 9 holes at 7am every Tuesday and Thursday morning with 3 retirees (really solid golfers), including my father, then they continue playing 18, and I either head into work, or occasionally work from home. We usually play some form of a game to keep things interesting and moderately competitive. One evening a week I’ll play 3-4 holes once my son goes to bed, from 7:30pm-dark. I usually play devil’s golf, that is hit three balls, pick the worst shot, then play three balls from that location, and so on until the ball is holed. I try to play a full 18 every other weekend, usually 7am-10:30am so that I don’t feel like I’m neglecting my family, or occasionally a round with a more competitive crowd from 11am-4pm. I try to avoid the range unless I’m working on something specific with an instructor or warming up, but I do occasionally hit 1-2 buckets at the range and/or short game area on weekends that I’m not playing. I typically sign up for a six lesson package with my instructor every year, and take about one lesson a month during the season. I usually sign up for 3 events at my club (Club Championship, Member Member, and Member Guest), and 2 state am events every year.

    There are a few things that make this routine possible, and if any one of these things wasn’t true, I’d play significantly less golf.

    1) I have an amazing wife who supports my habit.

    2) I live in a golf course community. It takes me about 1 minute to walk to the club house, and 30 seconds to the 11th tee box.

    3) My wife is a stay at home Mom. Our son usually wakes up at 6am. I get him up, change diaper, and play with him for 30 minutes, then my wife wakes up and takes him on Tues. and Thurs. On other days, my wife doesn’t take him until 7am.

    4) My swing instructor is at a club about 10 minutes from my work, and he’s available during my lunch break, so it works out nicely for me to take an hour lunch break with a 30 minute lesson.

    This routine usually lasts from April-September, mainly due to daylight. I still play golf occasionally otherwise, but it’s not nearly as frequent or predictable.

  3. Chris

    Aug 4, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    According a book called the talent code approximately 10K hours or tens which ever-one came first. Interesting read. Most weekend golfs need to earn it like the ‘the chemist’ says. 4 hours is a great number and very doable. I still think amateurs still put to much effort into hitting it ‘long’ Get on the wedges and putting nothing like stuffing a 86 yard wedge into the pin.

  4. Corey

    Aug 4, 2013 at 6:49 am

    just setup one of those 6ft long, one cup, putting mats in front of the TV and do a little multi tasking

  5. Greg

    Aug 2, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Didn’t see “wrangling child” anywhere on there. That’s about 80% of my free time but i guess i could practice after i put him to bed at 830 till my 9 pm shower 🙂

  6. The Chemist

    Aug 2, 2013 at 8:27 am

    When I am playing my best golf I do this thing where I have to “earn my round”. By this I mean that for every 4 hours I practice I earn a round of golf. I’v found that I enjoyed golfing more because I was hitting good solid shots and making more birdies.

  7. Paul

    Aug 1, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    my practice is playing at 5:45 in the morning and taking my sweet time. replaying shots to learn and taking 3-5 shots from a bunker then moving to the next hole. when things get serious with friends then im ready to play.

  8. yo!

    Aug 1, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    i play about one round every 2 weeks, no practice in between
    im happy with shooting in the low 80s
    to break 80 would require way too much practice and not worth it especially since golf is just a hobby

  9. Rod

    Aug 1, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    Either this info is Swedish specific or grossly inaccurate. Most Americans spend over and hour commuting to and from work every day. If you work a 6.5 hour day chances are you can’t afford to play golf. When you think you have this tight of control on your schedule, life will teach you otherwise.

  10. MWS92

    Aug 1, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Would be interesting to see this for Americans. Pretty sure most people are at work a lot longer than 6.5 hours a day M-F. Whether or not they are actually doing work while there is irrelevant – they aren’t at a golf course or practice facility.

    • tocino

      Aug 1, 2013 at 3:57 pm

      I think the 6.5 hours is for actual labor. If you work a traditional 9-5 job, you have anywhere from a 30 min to hour lunch with 2 15 minute breaks and whatever other distractions that may occur during the work day that have nothing to do with actual “work” (i.e. water cooler talk, hitting on the hot admin assistant, bathroom breaks, etc…). In fact according to the stats i track for my phone reps, they really only work for 6 to 6.25 hours

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Opinion & Analysis

The differences between good and bad club fitters—and they’re not what you think

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Club fitting is still a highly debated topic, with many golfers continuing to believe they’re just not good enough to be fit. That couldn’t be further from the truth, but it’s a topic for another day.

Once you have decided to invest in your game and equipment, however, the next step is figuring out where to get fit, and working with a fitter.  You see, unlike professionals in other industries, club fitting “certification” is still a little like the wild west. While there are certification courses and lesson modules from OEMs on how to fit their specific equipment, from company to company, there is still some slight variance in philosophy.

Then there are agnostic fitting facilities that work with a curated equipment matrix from a number of manufacturers. Some have multiple locations all over the country and others might only have a few smaller centralized locations in a particular city. In some cases, you might even be able to find single-person operations.

So how do you separate the good from the bad? This is the million-dollar question for golfers looking to get fit. Unless you have experience going through a fitting before or have a base knowledge about fitting, it can feel like an intimidating process. This guide is built to help you ask the right questions and pay attention to the right things to make sure you are getting the most out of your fitting.

The signs of a great fitter

  • Launch monitor experience: Having some type of launch monitor certification isn’t a requirement but being able to properly understand the interpret parameters is! A good fitter should be able to explain the parameters they are using to help get the right clubs and understand how to tweak specs to help you get optimized. The exact labeling may vary depending on the type of launch monitor but they all mostly provide the same information….Here is an example of what a fitter should be looking for in an iron fitting: “The most important parameter in an iron fitting” 
  • Communication skills: Being able to explain why and how changes are being made is a telltale sign your fitter is knowledgeable—it should feel like you are learning something along the way. Remember, communication is a two-way street so also being a good listener is another sign your working with a good fitter.
  • Transparency: This involves things like talking about price, budgets, any brand preferences from the start. This prevents getting handed something out of your price range and wasting swings during your fit.
  • A focus on better: Whether it be hitting it further and straighter with your driver or hitting more greens, the fitting should be goal-orientated. This means looking at all kinds of variables to make sure what you are getting is actually better than your current clubs. Having a driver you hit 10 yards farther isn’t helpful if you don’t know where it’s going….A great fitter that knows their stuff should quickly be able to narrow down potential options to 4-5 and then work towards optimizing from there.
  • Honesty and respect: These are so obvious, I shouldn’t even have to put it on the list. I want to see these traits from anybody in a sales position when working with customers that are looking to them for knowledge and information…If you as the golfer is only seeing marginal gains from a new product or an upgrade option, you should be told that and given the proper information to make an informed decision. The great fitters, and I’ve worked with a lot of them, will be quick to tell a golfer, “I don’t think we’re going to beat (X) club today, maybe we should look at another part of your bag where you struggle.” This kind of interaction builds trust and in the end results in happy golfers and respected fitters.

The signs of a bad fitter

  • Pushing an agenda: This can come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Whether it be a particular affinity towards certain brands of clubs or even shafts. If you talk to players that have all been to the same fitter and their swings and skill levels vary yet the clubs or brands of shafts they end up with (from a brand agnostic facility) seem to be eerily similar it might be time to ask questions.
  • Poor communications: As you are going through the fitting process and warming up you should feel like you’re being interviewed as a way to collect data and help solve problems in your game. This process helps create a baseline of information for your fitter. If you are not experiencing that, or your fitter isn’t explaining or answering your questions directly, then there is a serious communication problem, or it could show lack of knowledge depth when it comes to their ability.
  • Lack of transparency: If you feel like you’re not getting answers to straightforward questions or a fitter tells you “not to worry about it” then that is a big no-no from me.
    Side note: It is my opinion that golfers should pay for fittings, and in a way consider it a knowledge-gathering session. Of course, the end goal for the golfer is to find newer better fitting clubs, and for the fitter to sell you them (let’s be real here), but you should never feel the information is not being shared openly.
  • Pressure sales tactics: It exists in every industry, I get it, but if you pay for your fitting you are paying for information, use it to your advantage. You shouldn’t feel pressured to buy, and it’s always OK to seek out a knowledgeable second opinion (knowledgeable being a very key word in that sentence!).  If you are getting the hard sell or any combination of the traits above, there is a good chance you’re not working with the right fitter for you.

Final thoughts

Great fitters with great reputations and proper knowledge have long lists, even waiting lists, of golfers waiting to see them. The biggest sign of a great fitter is a long list of repeat customers.

Golf is a game that can be played for an entire lifetime, and just like with teachers and swing coaches, the good ones are in it for the long haul to help you play better and build a rapport—not just sell you the latest and greatest (although we all like new toys—myself included) because they can make a few bucks.

Trust your gut, and ask questions!

 

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Podcasts

TG2: TaylorMade P7MB & P7MC Review | Oban CT-115 & CT-125 Steel Shafts

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Took the new TaylorMade P-7MB and P-7MC irons out on the course and the range. The new P-7MB and P-7MC are really solid forged irons for the skilled iron players. Great soft feel on both, MB flies really low, and the MC is more mid/low launch. Oban’s CT 115 & 125 steel shafts are some of the most consistent out there. Stout but smooth feel with no harsh vibration at impact.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Improve your transition for better wedge play

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In my opinion, one of the most misunderstood areas of the golf swing is the transition from backswing to downswing, but I don’t read much on this in the golf publications. So, here’s my take on the subject.

Whether it’s a short putt, chip or pitch, half wedge, full iron or driver swing, there is a point where the club’s motion in the backswing has to come to a complete stop–even if for just a nano-second–and reverse direction into the forward swing. What makes this even more difficult is that it is not just the club that is stopping and reversing direction, but on all but putts, the entire body from the feet up through the body core, shoulders, arms and hands.

In my observation, most golfers have a transition that is much too quick and jerky, as they are apparently in a hurry to generate clubhead speed into the downswing and through impact. But, just as you (hopefully) begin your backswing with a slow take-away from the ball, a proper start to the downswing is also a slower move, starting from this complete stop and building to maximum clubhead speed just past impact. If you will work on your transition, your ball striking and distance will improve, as will your accuracy on your short shots and putts. Let’s start there.

In your wedge play, your primary objective is to apply just the exact amount of force to propel the ball the desired distance. In order to do that, it makes sense to move the club slower, as that allows more precision. I like to think of the pendulum on a grandfather clock as a great guide to tempo and transition. As the weight goes back and forth, it comes to a complete stop at each end, and achieves maximum speed at the exact bottom of the arc. If you put that picture in your head when you chip and putt, you will develop a tempo that encourages a smooth transition at the end of the backswing.

The idea is to achieve a gradual acceleration from the end of the backswing to the point of impact, but for most golfers, this type of swing is likely much slower than yours is currently. I encourage you to not be in a hurry to force this acceleration, as that causes a quick jab with the hands, because the shoulder rotation and slight body rotation cannot move that quickly from its end-of-backswing rotation.

Here’s a drill to help you picture this kind of swing pace. Drawing on that grandfather clock visual, hold your wedge at the very end of the grip with two fingers, and get it moving like the clock pendulum–back and through. Watch the tempo and transition for a few moments, and then try to mimic that with your short or half swing tempo. No faster, no slower. You can even change how far you pull the club up to start this motion to see what happens to the pendulum tempo on longer swings.

An even better exercise is to have a friend hold a club in this manner right in front of you while you are practicing your chipping or pitching swing and try to “shadow” that motion with your swings. You will likely find that your transition is much too fast and jerky to give you the results you are after.

If you will practice this, I can practically guarantee your short-range transition will become really solid and repeatable. From there, it’s just a matter of extending the length of the swing to mid-range pitches, full short irons, mid-irons, fairway woods, and driver–all while feeling for that gradual transition that makes for great timing, sequencing, and tempo.

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