Why is golf such a fickle game?

Steve_V

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Hello,new to this forum and just started playing the great game 6 months ago, got addicted sadly..

I was just wondering why even professional golfers can just lose form completely or suddenly start winning or contending most weeks after doing nothing for years?

There are horrible examples like that of Ralph Guldahl in the states in the 1930's who was incredible for 4 or 5 years, then wrote an instruction book and apparently just lost all ability to play. We all know about poor old Ian Baker-Finch as well, but on a less well -known level what ever happened to Paul Way?

On the opposite side, we have Steve Stricker rising to number 5 in the world rankings after losing his card and not come close to winning anything for 6 years and remember when Mark O'Meara won 2 majors out of the blue when he was 41 then just settled back into a gently declining career path?

In most sports people say form is temporary, class is permanent, but in Golf you can aparently lose or gain 'class' seemingly from nowhere.

Sorry for rambling, and for concentrating on 'professional' players on an amateur forum but I can see why weekend hackers games would fluctuate. Touring Pro's basically do nothing else except practise and play golf, yet a lot of their games are hugely inconsistent, is it a mental thing?
 

shanker

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Hello,new to this forum and just started playing the great game 6 months ago, got addicted sadly..
Why ''sadly''? I got addicted 38 years ago when I was 14 and it was one of the best things I've ever done.
 

Steve_V

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I put 'sadly' because to a lot of people golf is actually the most boring thing they can imagine anyone doing, I have to justify the amount of leisure time I spend at the range or reading books and magazines all the time!

Possibly that wasn't quite the correct phrase to use on an actual golf forum though :eek:
 

JohnWT

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Welcome to the forum Steve_V and to conversations with a number of golf "addicts". Very interesting point you make about golfers and form. Other examples: Sandy Lyle's form suddenly dipped, and, most recently, David Duval has suffered horrendously. I think the mental side of the game has to play a part – why else would great swings suddenly fail to produce the goods?
 

viscount17

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Just think what you could be doing - engaging in the endless, mindless discussion of a soap or even (forgive me) big brother.

We are environmentalists - who else cares so passionately about the friction index of dew upon a green? Who else knows every parched patch on 6,000 odd yards of hallowed turf? We are the only people who know the drainage patterns of every hole (for the real beginner avoid the shiny grass!)

And as every one knows, environmentalists are good people.

(Of course there are a few philistines - they are the ones who won't put back the divot or repair their pitch mark!)
 
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birdieman

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David Duval has suffered horrendously. I think the mental side of the game has to play a part

David Duval spends most of his time snowboarding and hanging out with his kids - wish I could do that. I think he lost focus after winning the Open rather than his swing. Reckon he's pretty happy with his lot regardless. Read an interview where he said he would like to show his kids how he used to play, so maybe he's getting fired up again, I'm sure he's good enough and young enough to do well again.
 

chipin1

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Here, here. Glad to have you on board. Golf is only seen as a rubbish game by those who don't play. Those who do tend to get swept away by it.

It will drive you mad - this forum is testament to that
 

Marko77

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Although you refer to the pro game I guess there are lots of similar trends and examples at all levels.

I'm handicap secretary at the club where I'm member of and as a result monitor all the results (some would say too closely). Even just taking this season as an example I've spotted players who's had their fortnight of form then disappeared off the radar something wrotten. In chatting with them they can't explain what has changed, if anything.

Something somewhere must click within us at some stage and just as easily click off. If someone could bottle and sell form they'd be a billionnaire!

I've enjoyed seeing Steve Stricker rise back up the rankings. He is a good exciting player to watch and a nice guy to match if he can be judged by his interviews. Mark O'Meara was always 'around' however, I don't know if it's just me who noticed, it was a bit wierd how his Major's came at the time he was kind of very close pals with a Mr Woods? Perhaps being in close quarters with the World's best player rubbed off on him....we'll never know?
 

Steve_V

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Interesting replies, I thought after a hundred odd years of golf instruction someone must have worked the game out by now! I understand entirely how part timers feel, although I have only played on a range I have hit 50 rubbish shots in a row then suddenly the next 3 all come off perfectly, only to fall back into rubbish mode again..and every swing feels exactly the same!

I think the great golfers were/are all mentally tough and can score even when they aren't actually playing well, the journeymen beat themselves up after a bad hole and can't get it back together. Theres also the 'comfort zone' argument, e.g a lot of the current European players get critcised for pulling out great last rounds when they aren't in contention, but can't get it done when there's a big title on the line. On the PGA tour there are a lot of guys who show up on the leaderboards at The John Deere Classic or B C Open but never do anything in the Majors, you can make a very nice living finishing 80th every year on the money list without the stress of actually trying to win any tournaments...
 

Teetotal

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On top of the mental side there are just too many elements to the swing. Just as I get the hang of driving straight something else creeps in like inability to putt. The pro's are human too.
 

USER1999

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Yep, it is fickle alright. When I am playing with my mates, I can play rubbish for 16 holes, and then par in 17 and 18 to leave me wanting more, whereas in medal, I can be hot for 16 holes, and then drop 5 shots in the last two holes to leave me feeling sick. No other game can do this.
 
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