In my opinion, there are winners and there are losers (and not much in between). I remember a story about the great NFL receiver Cris Carter taking a young rookie, Randy Moss, under his wing the summer before his rookie season. Moss wanted to practice catching footballs, but it was Carter who convinced him that the greats work on their weaknesses, not only their strengths. So they worked on getting stronger, ran routes and worked on their endurance. Now even though they lost a pretty big game that year, the NFC Championship Game, Cris "All He Does Is Catch Touchdowns" Carter was a winner and he taught Moss to become a winner, as well.
The point is that I like to refer back to this with my students for many reasons, but the main one is taking a weakness and making it an opportunity. For example, if you are at a course with greens that are pretty much flat with the fairways, no elevation, you probably find that you can get the ball around the golf course without hitting too many elevated pitch shots. The opposite goes for people who play golf on courses with mostly elevated greens. These types of greens you can rarely chip the ball onto, as a ball that has been pitched with a greater trajectory is a more appropriate shot and typically will give better results on greens with elevation. What happens when you go and play somewhere else? Do you really want to be the golfer who shoots 10 to 20 shots above their handicap because their game, as a whole, is missing or is inadequate at a component? I would hope not.
If you take all of the aspects of your golf game and number them from one (the one you are the best at) to 10 (the one you are worst at) and then while practicing work hard at number 10 until you make it number one. At this point your old number one doesn't become number two, but rather you now have two number ones -- and then numbers two through nine. Once you've taken every part of your game and made it what you feel is your biggest strength, start all over again. The more frequently you do this the better your game will travel.
I remember an interview with Tiger Woods where he references that the toughest thing for him to work on are the fundamentals. Seems pretty fun that possibly the greatest player of all time works on the most tedious and menial part of the game of golf. I mean if you were to go sign up for a beginner golf class at your local park district you would probably spend the first two to three hours working on the fundamentals (grip, setup, ball position and posture). Even at the highest level, we need to work on the part of the game/trade that gives us the most difficulty -- no matter how menial.
This spring, as the golf bug starts to become more prevalent with you, I challenge each and every one of you to improve your biggest weakness. I bet you will find that it motivates you to keep it up all the way through your game and have all number ones. If you cannot figure out what to work on first start by charting your rounds and learn a little about your own golf game.
Like always if you have any questions you can contact me through my website JJAGOLF.com and remember you can always recognize a winner as they leave their finger print. Spring is almost here so get after it.
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