When a swimmer meets a swimmer, do they ask: “what’s your 500 meter breast stroke?”
When a farmer meets a farmer, do they ask: “how much reap per sow?”
When a photographer meets a photographer, do they ask: “how many pixels do you shoot?”
Or, when a librarian meets a librarian, do they ask: “how fast do you dewey decimal?”
On all accounts, probably. It just seems to be human nature to want to compare. It helps us understand where we stand in life and allows us either the comfort that our abilities are near that of our neighbors or if not then they just must have more talent, right :).
Golf is unsurprisingly not different than the rest of the world in that aspect. However, I will say that the comparative numbers game usually comes out a bit earlier in this pursuit. It seems that in order to validate this project people want me to quantify what I have learned into a, hopefully, single digit number. Then, explaining why I do not yet have a handicap turns into a discussion of how I am going about learning the game and whether or not that is the best way to approach golf.
I find it funny, especially because if I met someone who did nothing but practice golf 6 hours a day, 6 days a week, for the past 13 months I would OF COURSE want to know how good they were, and what better way of knowing than having a handicap? It’s the simplest of comparative tools I can think of. The only problem is: I don’t have a handicap and probably will not until 2012.
For those of you new to The Dan Plan, the way I am learning golf is to work away from the hole. I began April 15, 2010 putting from one foot away from the hole. After a certain success level at this distance, I moved to three feet. Repeated this for five months and then stepped off the putting green for the first time and began hitting small chips from the fringe. While moving back, I still worked hard on all of the distances that I had covered up to that point. Months past, summer turned fall, winter hit and now the spring is back upon us and I am currently working on anything and everything from within about 100 yards from the hole.
Believe it or not, I have never hit a driver.
As much as I would enjoy heading out and playing enough rounds to establish a handicap, it’s not in the cards for the time being. Patience is the virtue I have to live by.
This method of learning is also a blessing in disguise. Most people tell me that they couldn’t imagine not playing or not crushing a long drive, but having never done either it doesn’t really bother me too much to spend 4 hours a day around the putting green. Perhaps if I had started with a full set of clubs I would be too focussed on playing rounds and wouldn’t get the quality short-game time, it’s hard to say. It also keeps the engine burning, though. I know if I can improve by X than I can start using the next club. Kind of like keeping that carrot dangling in front.
Long story short: No, I do not have a handicap. But, you will be the first to know when I do!