What Does it Take to Become a Scratch Golfer?

Dan Gold
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What Does a Scratch Golfer Look Like?

To be a scratch golfer, you must have a golf handicap of 10.0 or less. The official definition of a scratch golfer is anyone under a handicap of 10. In a nutshell, it means that the average golfer has a handicap of 18 and a scratch golfer is still 12 strokes under par.

To put it into perspective, a good player with a handicap of 4 is 18 strokes under par, and a good player with a handicap of 6 is 24 strokes under par.

CGSA figures, based on a 2013 survey of members, show there are more than 2.3 million golfers with handicaps in Canada. That means more than 1 million golfers arrived at the course with no chance of breaking 80.

Being a scratch golfer is beyond the dream of most Canadian golfers, but it’s a particularly tough dream to achieve without the help of a golf instructor. In fact, only 11,727 (less than one-fifth of 1 per cent) golfers in Canada are scratch golfers.

The standard scratch golfer is a 44-year-old man from Alberta, who is a born-again, white-collar professional who plays once a week, according to the CGSA.

Skills are one thing, Belief is Another…

I have a confession to make. I used to believe in the 10,000 Hour Rule until I read the book Outliers by author Malcolm Gladwell. The stroke-counter example in his book refers to this rule, which scientifically states that you will be an expert when you practice something for 10,000 hours.

The 10,000 hour rule suggests that it is about how much time you spend practicing that matters and no other variables. This rule has a major implication, not only for musicians like Tiger Woods and practising basketball all day is the key to greatness.

But here’s the catch. Malcolm Gladwell said that not only was 10,000 hours not necessary for us to achieve greatness, it was not even needed for us to become expert professionals in our respective fields.

If being a successful scratch golfer is your goal, it’s not about the number of hours you put in when you are practicing. It’s about the hours you put in when you are on the course.

That’s because we cannot practice putting on the putting green for a certain number of hours and in turn turn it into real putting on the golf course. There is no correlation.

It’s the putting on the golf course when it matters and not the putting on the putting green that develops you as a golfer.

How Do You Get to That Level?

A Prerequisite for Scratch Golf

Scratch is a relative term. It’s a low standard of playing “¦ scratch.

If there’s a golf term that defines “¦ scratch, ¦ it’s professional. I’d say experiencing two to three “¦ scratches within a round of golf should be the goal of any beginning golfer.

If you can handle two or three “¦ scratches, ¦ then you’re definitely capable of playing scratch professionally.

Don’t assume that just because a professional golfer can play “¦ scratch, ¦ there’s an “¦ scratch clubs, ¦ which is equipped for a scratch golfer to achieve “¦ scratch. ¦

The misconception about the “¦ scratch golf clubs is that they are considerably different from the “¦ gamer’s. ¦ They’re not.

It is a Big Goal

“But those guys are so much better than I am!” Golfers who have little experience often think that…and give up. Just like most of the other things in life, there’s a big jump between belt sanders and fully loaded 18-wheel trucks.

You will be tempted to give up many times before you can become the best player around. As in life, so in golf, 90 percent of the work is done about 10 percent of the time. So, you’re going to fail a lot on your way to success. And that’s okay, because a burning spirit to achieve your goals will keep you going. Never be ashamed to quit something when you feel you’ve reached your limit.