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The 9 steps to making it on the PGA Tour - #4 is Critical!

The 9 steps to making it on the PGA Tour – #4 is Critical!

The 9 steps to making it on the PGA Tour – #4 is Critical!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

I have worked with many male and female golfers who aspired to make it on the PGA or LPGA Tour.  Let me tell you something.  Talent is just a tiny part of it! Many golfers are making a living on the PGA and LPGA Tours who have minimal talent.  But they have the desire, work ethic, and a sense of determination I see in very few young people today.  Most want it on a silver platter, and if it is too hot or too cold, they avoid the range.  They have no chance!  So, check out this article by Mark Donaghy of GolfWrx to see if you have what it takes!

The 9 steps to making it on the PGA Tour!

When Ty Tryon qualified for the PGA Tour at a very young age, everybody. Including myself, thought he was the next superstar.  It was not to be!

I’m sure we all know a top young amateur golfer with aspirations of turning pro. It may be the kid at your local club who hits the ball a country mile and has a short game that would make Seve proud. Or it might be a hot shot you’ve seen at a tournament, and followed his or her progress since they were knee high to a grasshopper.

Aspiring Tour Players.

You’ve watched them win local and even regional tournaments from high school into the top amateur ranks, and think they will be the next Rory McIlroy or Jason Day. So why do so few of these talented amateur golfers actually break through on the world stage? What is it about the transition from top amateur to professional golf that can act as a trap door for some, and a trampoline for others?

To find out, I spoke to Johnny Foster, who runs The Johnny Foster Golf Academy, a top Irish coaching academy targeting elite young players.

“Since 2004, my team and I have had the pleasure of coaching dozens of Ireland’s aspiring elite amateurs and professionals at our academy,” he said. “The walls have become decorated with pictures of players’ trophies and signed memorabilia. But for us, it’s the faces who aren’t there that raise our eyebrows. I often ask myself, ‘Do you remember this guy…where did he go? I was certain he’d make it.’

“On the other hand, I’ve scratched my head many more times when guys who were can’t-miss amateurs have been swallowed by the results-driven, unapologetic world of pro golf, seemingly unable to score as they did as amateurs just months before. Why is that? Did they lose their talent? Do pro golfers play to a smaller hole? I don’t think so. What I do know is that players who have made the successful transition have shared certain qualities.

The 9 steps to making it on the PGA Tour – #4 is Critical!

This is the biggest motivating factor in being successful in anything. Something has to drive golfers to want to be the best, and it has to be there at every point in their career. Complacency and lack of belief are desire’s biggest enemies, sapping drive and willpower.

We have all heard it said before: someone has a natural talent, or they were born with a club in their hands. Talent has to be grown and supported, however, for a golfer to reach the highest level. How many talented golfers have we heard of who never made it?

More precisely than just ability, professional golfers need the ability to score. All of the talent in the world doesn’t matter if you cannot simply get the golf ball in the hole. Scrambling, clutch putting and performance under pressure become extremely important when a career is on the line.

Johnny says: There’s only one common denominator among the players who are successful: their score. The top-25 on any given week will represent a variety of club manufacturers, listen to a multitude of coaches and probably be from a range of countries. In fact, on many occasions, the only thing they do have in common is that they have finished at the same score at the week’s end. So as much as myself or any other adviser tells you to “forget about the score and stick to the process,” you better have the potential to score at a tour standard or there’s not much point reading on.

The most important number a player can produce is their stroke average in relation to par.

Your diet can be pure and you can surround yourself with the latest technology, which will make you feel better, but in my experience the most important number a player can produce is their stroke average in relation to par. If you have the rare ability to manipulate numbers, I’d stick to lowering that if you can, rather than fixating on your angle of attack. If you are an aspiring player, ask yourself, “Is everything I’m currently doing geared to helping me reduce my scoring average?” This is a constant pillar of our philosophy; we tirelessly work with our students to reduce their scoring average in relation to par.

The 9 steps to making it on the PGA Tour – #4 is Critical!

4. Work Ethic

Along with having natural talent, there is no substitute for hard work and building a good routine. Fitness, practice, media/sponsor commitments, and travel all require hard work and good time management that needs to be engrained. Look at how seriously the modern-day players take their games these days: they train with fitness experts, work on technique with world-class coaches, and engrain their good habits with hundreds of balls almost every day. They say it takes 10,000 hours of focused practice to be world class. You don’t do that without hard work and a solid routine.

Learning a trade or a set of skills is a process that takes time, usually years.

Johnny says: Learning a trade or a set of skills is a process that takes time, usually years. So consider this when planning your assault on professional golf; “I’ll give it a go for a year” isn’t really a sound plan. How many surgeons or classic opera singers give it 12 months and eventually become successful? Remember, you’re attempting to reach the 0.01 percent of people in your chosen field. Your apprenticeship will take time, so make the financial and emotional provision for it.

You’re attempting to hone a very specific set of skills. From reading grain on greens to working with a professional caddy, allow yourself time to adjust. And be realistic with your deadlines. Look at your rate of progression over the past few years. Fair chance this trend is going to continue. As the saying goes, “An overnight sensation usually takes about 10 years.” The fact is that in all of the wins and trophies achieved by our clients, the vast majority were done so by long-term students who really valued and benefited from a strong player-coach bond.

To see the other steps needed to make it on the PGA or LPGA Tours, go here!

Source: Mark Donaghy  of GolfWrx

Pictures: GolfWrxRichard Hannam

Thanks for reading – The 9 steps to making it on the PGA Tour – #4 is Critical!

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