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Does age really matter to be good golf player or professional?

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  • Does age really matter to be good golf player or professional?

    Iím 29 years old and I started playing golf about 2 months ago. Iím really into it and enjoy every moment of it. Iím taking golf very seriously now. I have set myself few goals. First and foremost is to achieve consistency in my golf swing within the next 6 months.

    I often get a message from others (friends and family) that you should have started golf when you were 10-14 years old. You are too late and too old now to be a very good golf player or professional.

    Is this really true? Does age really matter? Do we have anyone who started golf late in his age and become good golf player or a professional?

  • #2
    Good player? Yes. Professional? Probably not. I can't think of any professional out there (Tour player) that started any later then 18. To be at that level requires not only the physical tallant, but the brain takes years to develope the right trainning to be competitative.

    But do not let this discourage you at all. Taking up golf at any age is the right age. It's a game. That's it. Enjoyment is at every level.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Does age really matter to be good golf player or professional?

      Greg:

      With due respect, I disagree.

      I started golf at 28. I never thought I would get better than an average weekend hacker. But then I started surprising myself. To a legit 12 handicap within a year and then a 7 handicap within 2 years.

      I used to play with a couple of +3 handicap players who were patient and taught be the rules and the game the right way. Before I could hit my long irons I learnt to get the ball in the hole. Before I could hit my driver I learnt to hit my 3 wood in the fairway about 250.

      A brief history first to give you some perspective.

      It helped that I had played tennis for my school competitively. I was pretty good. I gave tennis up 3 times to focus on my high school first then my undergrad and then my PhD, and finally for good (that means I am a recreational player now). At every stage I thought I was too old.

      Not only that but I grew up in India, where the emphasis is squarely on academics.

      Ok, back to Golf.

      I started hitting the ball pretty good to go along with my scoring. A friend and I were sitting/drinking in a pub and I confessed that my dream in life was really to play professionally (any sport) and how empty I felt even though I had acheived a lot financially and professionally. I started talking about golf and wanting to get atleast "amateur competitive" in golf. He, not unlike you (no disrespect meant), was less than flattering and said something like " There are only about 25,000 scratch golfers in the US, may even be less if you only take competitive rounds into consideration. You will never make it." He put down $25,000 for me to break par in a USGA or PGA sanctioned event in the following 3 years. I accepted the bet. I won. I shot 70 (on a par 72 course) in a US Pub links qualifier last year. I missed qualifying by one stroke over two rounds. The results are online.

      I am now a +3 handicap. I just turned 35.

      I am lucky that I have the wherewithal (financial) and the flexible schedule to practice every day. I intend to play in some mini tours this year in NC. Fortunately, I dont have to make it in golf to live a good life.

      I practice regularly with some guys who are trying to make it on the developmental tours. I beat them regularly as do they. I am much older than they are. They dont necessarily hit it farther but I am much more mature and patient than they are (FACT). I end up taking their money more times than I have to cough up dough.

      Last year I made a commitment to physical fitness and decided to be fitter than most 20 year olds out there. If I can get there then age is just in my head and I can tell you "that I am very strong mentally". I always walk at my country club and carry my bag. (I no longer qualify for the publinks as I joined a club last year). We play a hilly course here in NC. I exercise every morning and practice for 5 hours a day, rain or shine, freezing or hot. I get to my work at 5 am, exercise (I have a gym at work, I own a sports mdeicine/therapy practice), get to work at 7 am. Work till 11 am. Then go and practice golf till 5 pm. Get back and work for a couple more hours and then back home to read to my daughter and spend two hours with her. I get up at 4:30 am every morning. I am excited about golf and excited about life in general.

      I dont know how far I will go, but one thing is sure, I am not placing any limits on what I can achieve, nor should anyone else. I repent thinking that I was too old for tennis at 18 when Boris Becker won Wimbledon at 17. Now I look back and just cringe. I dont want to do the same when I am 50.

      If you are ever in the Charlotte NC area, drop me a note, we should go out and play.

      I enjoy reading your posts and acknowledge that you are one of the better golfing minds here.

      Regards,

      Adi
      adi@karepartners.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Does age really matter to be good golf player or professional?

        +3 is better than -3.

        + means better than scratch.

        Regards,

        Adi

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Does age really matter to be good golf player or professional?

          There are tour events you can enter if qaulify at a regional qualifying competition. I believe that you need a 2 or better handicap to enter these qualifiers. Even then, unless you are a +2, you probably won't make it out of the qualifier. To then compete at thet PGA level you would need to be about +8.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Does age really matter to be good golf player or professional?

            "I believe and I am convinced" that the difference between +3 and +8 is "6 inches", the space between your ears. It si all in your hed. Just like the difference between a scratch and +5 is all in your head.

            It is just a matter of getting more out of the shots you hit.

            Believe and trust and you will achieve it.

            Regards,

            Adi

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Does age really matter to be good golf player or professional?

              As I said, wait and watch

              I will post my results on here this through the year.

              Wish me well

              Regards,

              Adi

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Does age really matter to be good golf player or professional?

                I think your goals and belief in your abilities are commendable and you should keep them.

                When this thread was started, it was to discuss someone entering later into golf and the possibility of becoming 1) "good golf player" and 2) "a professional"

                I said "Good player? Yes. Professional? Probably not."

                I should have bolded the "Probably". Of course there is never any absolute, but the word "probably" is a statistical word meaning that the majority will be this way...take 51%, 99%, this is all a mater of interpretation.

                I never meant to offend anyone who has become a Professional and started Golf later in life. And I never said it was impossible. And congratulations by the way, on your success at the pub links! That is great!

                To continue with your other discussion about the difference between a +3 and a +8.

                I don't quite understand your comment, "It is just a matter of getting more out of the shots you hit." Are you talking about luck?

                OMHO, here is what the difference between a player on the Mini-Tours (about a +3 hdcp) and the top on the PGA (+6 to +8 hdcp): Experience. Tons of it. Beyond what anyone can imagine. These players on the top have all the experience playing in pressure situations on golf's biggest stage. They all started young, showed talent, drive, had the means, and were filtered through all the levels of all the tournaments that they played in (just like any other sport). There is no substitute for it.

                Where do you get this experience? By putting yourself in it as early as you can and as often. Which brings me back to my original statement that to play professionally there is a very low probability you will compete successfully unless you have this type of experience.

                If you start to try to gain experience late, you will gain some of it yes, but unfortunately, you will not get out of it what a young brain would get out of it. Late golfers really have already seated their personality, accepted their abilities (within reason), and are simply using what you have to see how good you are compared to everyone else...the thrill of competition...all great in its own right.

                But a young player is able to absorb vastly more amounts of information, adapt easier, and use the experience to shape their developing abilities better. It's just the way it is. And this is why to compete these days, with the game as readily available to young players, that the professional levels are packed full of them, and they simply have an advantage, so much so that their only competition is among themselves.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Does age really matter to be good golf player or professional?

                  Just to ad to Greg's post - it doesn't matter what sport you played in at a high level - if you learn how to handle pressure in tennis, you should be able to take up another sport later in life and handle pressure in in that sport as well, if you are confident in your abilities. A few excellent examples are Michael Jordan, Grant Fuhr and Phil Mickelson, just to name a few.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Does age really matter to be good golf player or professional?

                    I know most club pros wouldnt have a chance in these "mini tours" but dont you only have to be off 4 (not +4) to turn pro?

                    When i caddied @ the Old Course i was caddying for a +3 one time (who had qualified for the british amatuer) and he was in the mid 80's. Handicaps can b far from accurate (specially cmin from usa to windy scotland, cant cope with real golf lol)

                    There is many senior pro's who didnt start till late, and many tourin pros who didnt "peak" until late so i believe it can b done. I started golf 5 years back (was bout 13) and im no better now than i was a year ago, so if u get lazy u wont improve jus by playing

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Does age really matter to be good golf player or professional?

                      I agree with Greg, it will have to be someone special to take up the sport at the age of 29 and make it to professional level. After most of the guys on tour will have at least 10 years more experience playing the sport.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Does age really matter to be good golf player or professional?

                        Greg et al.:

                        You are right the difference between success and failure or +3 and +8 is the "quality of experience" and waht you take out of it.

                        I almost would argue (and have to believe it as well, considering my goals) that experience cuts both ways. If you miss some putts and tend to not forget it can have a damaging affect on your game.

                        One can infinitely enhance ones abilities and get more out of limited experience if you take the "right memories" out of a situation.

                        Thus, my claim that the difference between +3 and +8 is all mental (and experience as you point out as well).

                        Time will tell.

                        I know it can be done, I will post my results on this board through the year and maybe even next.

                        Wish you all "the best" and I know that you all wish me the very best as well .

                        Also, a "young" brain can absorb more because it is not hampered by reality as well as any past negative thoughts. Here is a challenge, do you belive that you can train your brain to be as open as it was when you were 20. Remember, physiologically nothing has changed, mentally though you ahve burdened yourself over the years .......I know a bit about physiology

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Does age really matter to be good golf player or professional?

                          Oh also, "getting more out of your shots" did not imply luck but meant making that putt after hitting two good shots, or sticking it close from 100 yds (paying attention to alignment rather than being lackadaisical), or not despairing after getting a bad break, accepting the good and the bad on teh course, keeping the streak alive, not getting in your own way....all these cliches but all true.

                          LUCK has nothing to do with it.

                          Luck is born when hard work meets opportunity.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Does age really matter to be good golf player or professional?

                            I'm so unlucky.. I don't even get bad luck!!


                            Re the +3-8 thingy. dont think it matters much under the cosh. If you have the ability to blank presure in golf, you got it made...

                            Most pro's cant.. thats why we see only a few make the grade to the big $$$$


                            Btw I play golf with a nice chap off +3.5 and his best m8 plays of + 4.7 the lowest ameture in the UK... neither are turning pro this year.. They will however be playing in the walker cup and win lol

                            You need to take presure as soon as possible in life... inside or outside of golf...


                            That's life a....
                            Last edited by Cliff; 02-11-2005, 12:11 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Does age really matter to be good golf player or professional?

                              Agreed Cliff, that is why I think I am ready , at this point it is a "mind over matter issue"

                              best of luck to your buddies.

                              Get it in the hole

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