How hard can it be to go from 10 to scratch?!


I love golf, but I'm sick and tired of being rubbish at it.

As a 10-handicapper, I realise that I am technically "above average" – the average handicap is around 14, I believe – meaning more than half of golfers are worse off than me. But that doesn't make me feel any better whatsoever.

I'm able-bodied, physically fit, and can, on occasion, hit shots as good as almost anyone.

So why should I need a 'well done for trying, here's 10 shots to help you out' allowance just to break even? Why am I stuck on a 10 handicap?

It's not through lack of trying. 

They say that practice makes perfect. I've read Outliers. I know that it's meant to take 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become world class at anything. But I practice plenty and seem to make no lasting improvements. 

I've watched videos, read articles, studied books, videod my swing, had the occasional lesson. None of it makes any difference. 

Some people might say I should stop worrying about it and just enjoy the game. They're probably right. 

But I can't. 

I refuse to accept that this is the limit of my potential. 

I have a secret. 

Deep down, there's a part of me that hasn't accepted that I can't be as good as a professional. 

In my head, I know it's silly. They're the world's best players for a reason. They were blessed with natural talent, were fortunate enough to experience a set of circumstances that nurtured that talent from an early age, and are now at the very pinnacle of the game. 

I, on the other hand, didn't pick up a club until I was 15, had a few lessons, played a lot, developed bad habits, battled to overcome them, got to a 10 handicap, and then, at the age of 21, pretty much stopped playing. I only started playing regularly again two years ago, after nearly a decade-long hiatus. I know that is hardly a recipe for greatness. I know I should lower my expectations. 

But here's the thing. If I accepted that I was only ever going to be average at golf, I don't think I'd be able to keep playing. 

It's the belief that I can be better – the constant strive for improvement – that makes me so addicted to golf. 

That's not me. It's Bernd Wiesberger. I didn't have any more pictures of me playing golf.

I am determined to get better. So much better. I will do whatever it takes. I want to get to single-figures, soon, and then keep getting down from there. I want to get to scratch. I can't promise I'll be content then, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. 

I've got an idea of how I'm going to do it. Next week, I'll share the first steps of a journey to what I hope will be greatness. 

Stick around. Maybe you'll learn something that helps you reach your targets. Maybe you won't. Maybe you'll just get to witness me have a golf-based breakdown. Who knows?

Follow me on Twitter, if you like. I'm @robmcgarr. Let me know if you're equally desperate to transform your game. Or, if you've already made huge improvements, let me know how you managed it. That might be more helpful, actually. 

Until next time, I'll leave you with this quote:

"Golf is like a love affair. If you don't take it seriosly, it's no fun. If you do take it seriously, it breaks your heart."

Arthur Daley