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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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What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done for golf?

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Golf, like many hobbies, can drive people to do some crazy things—whether it be to play a course on your bucket list, purchase a club you’ve been looking for, or drop everything just to play with your buddies.

As a purely self-diagnosed golf junkie, I have gone out of my way to do all of these things on many occasions, and I have a feeling a lot of others here have some stories to tell similar to these.

The Long Trip

Let me start by saying that I’m not a “Bag Tag Barry” or really a bucket list course kinda guy. Yes, I have courses I want to play, but at the moment the highest on the list starts and ends with the Old Course at St. Andrews – because, simple – it’s St. Andrews. Beyond that, my “hoping to play” list pretty much the standard classics.

But it doesn’t mean that I haven’t gone WAY out of my way to play, especially when you think about the recent 1600-plus mile journey I just took to Sweetens Cove to play in the First Annual “Oil Hardened Classic” run by Eternal Summer Golf Society.

Sweetens has been on my radar since I first heard about it, and if you are at all interested in course architecture I’m sure it has been on your radar for a while too – great piece on it here from WRX Featured Writer Peter Schmitt (You’ve Never played Anything like Sweetens Cove).

Sweetens Cove

When I first heard of this event, I knew it was something I HAD to do. I’ve been playing persimmon clubs (not to be confused will full hickory) for a couple of years now and in case I haven’t made it clear in the past—I love blade irons. To be able to play with a bunch of other “golf sickos” made this something I really wanted to do, and to let you in on a little secret I’ve been hiding for a while, before this I had never done a real “golf trip” before.

Problem: Being in the Great White North puts me a long ways away from South Pittsburg, TN and a golf trip like this with air travel and a rental car was out of the question. So what’s the next best thing? load the car up with a bunch of old wooden clubs, some blades, three golf bags, lots of balls, gloves, enough clothes for a few days, a cooler, and a passport: BOOM my first golf trip.

I-75 was my route for an entire day. 14 hours total with stops: It was an easy drive to Chattanooga, where I filled up on BBQ and stayed the night. From there, it was a simple 40-minute drive over in the morning and with Sweetens Cove in Central Time (just across the line, I should add), I even got a much appreciated extra hour of sleep. The golf course was ours for the whole day and beyond the for fun scheduled matches it was a playground. Groups of 12 people playing the same hole, three-club mini loops, trying out impossible putts on the rolling greens—we did it all.

A few years ago, if you had told me I would drive 28 hours round trip to endlessly loop a 9-hole golf course with persimmon clubs and a bunch of “strangers,” I would have probably called you a total idiot. Now, I can’t imagine not doing it again.

Speaking of long golf trips, how does a 2,700-plus mile round trip to play Cabot Links and Cliffs Sound?

It started with an already planned two-week road trip, Toronto, Boston (to see Fenway), Portland, Halifax then finally to Inverness, Nova Scotia home of Cabot Links—and at the time, only open for “lottery bookers” and resort guests Cabot Cliffs. We had times booked for the links course but Cliffs was another story. Since I’m not one to take no for an answer, and although staying at the resort was well beyond our road-tripping budget, I had a little tip that if you call very early the day you are hoping to play they could potentially find spots for players when resorts guests cancel. Cliffs was still under preview play and tee times were 20 minutes apart so the chances we’re slim but a 5 a.m. alarm and some not-so-subtle begging and bartering got my wife and I an afternoon tee time on the best new course in the world!

It was an amazing experience made even better by the beautiful weather and fun we had that day. I have, still to this day, never had an experience like that on a golf course.

The Must-Have Wedges

I’m an obsessive club collector and builder. There I said it. Not only do I love clubs, but I love the idea of making things, or taking things that are considered less desirable and making them better than ever before.

This all stems from a piece I wrote this spring about a HUGE used club sale about an hour from where I live, Check it out here: Hunting Used Clubs at Fore Golfers Only

Although I did get some fantastic deals at “The Sale,” as the locals call it, there were a few wedges I could not get out of my head after visiting the accompanying retail store after the sale. As I was driving home, in a bit of a snow storm, I couldn’t help but think about the potential of the raw Nike Engage wedges I left behind. I wanted them for a number of reason including the fact that I hadn’t had the chance to work and grind on raw wedges in a while and these were the last Mike Taylor-designed Nike wedges before Nike decided to shut the doors and Artisan Golf was born.

By the time I realized I had to have them, it was already too late to drive back and they were closed, so first thing the next day, I called and asked if they 1) Still had the two exact wedges I remembered seeing  2) if they would hold them for me until the Monday morning after the sale—the only chance I would have to get back there in the next month. Why did I need them when snow was still on the ground? Because I’m a nut!

Monday rolled around, I got out of bed bright and early during another not-so-fun snowfall to shovel the driveway, gas up the car, and drive three hours round trip to pick up two rusty used, Nike Engage wedges for the grand total of $120. But when I finally got the chance to work my magic, it’s hard not to say the effort was worth it.

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