Golfers are a unique breed. They have a level of patience and focus that most of us can only dream of. And when it comes to scratch golfers, well, they're a whole other level. These are the people who have honed their craft to the point where they can shoot par on a consistent basis. But what is it that makes a scratch golfer tick? What habits do they have that separate them from the rest of us? Today, we're going to take a deep dive into the surprising habits of a scratch golfer. Buckle up, because #6 will blow your mind!
What Is a Scratch Golfer?
A scratch golfer is an exceptional player who can navigate any golf course and confidently shoot par or lower. As defined by the USGA, a scratch golfer has achieved a Course Handicap of zero on all rated golf courses, meaning they have mastered each component of their game to reach perfection.
In a nutshell, a scratch golfer is someone who's so skilled, they've got a handicap of ZERO and can pretty much shoot even PAR or even break par on any course despite the course rating. We're talking about golfing perfection, folks. So, if you ever come across a scratch golfer, be sure to give 'em a high-five (or maybe even ask for an autograph). They're the real deal!
Scratch Golfers By The Numbers
Let's take a look at what a scratch golfer looks like when it comes to numbers.
- When it comes to course and handicap ratings, the USGA assumes that a scratch golfer can hit tee shots an average of 250 yards including 25 yards of roll, and reach a 470-yard hole in two shots.
- Course Stats: Fairways Hit - Just over 50%; Greens in Regulation - Over 60%; Putts per round - Scratch golfers rarely 3 putt, averaging a fraction under 1.7 putts per hole; Scrambling - Over 50% of the time; Up and down out of the bunker - Almost 60%.
- According to USGA Handicap Index Stats - The average handicap for men is 14.2 and for women it's 27.5. If you're a male scratch golfer you represent only 1.85% of male golfers with a handicap index of 0 or better. That number drops to .19% for a female scratch golfer.
Now that we have a better idea of what a scratch golfer looks like on paper let's delve into the secrets and habits of a scratch golfer.
Habit #1: They Practice Like It's Their Job
Scratch golfers don't just show up to the course and expect to play well. They put in the time and effort to perfect their game. They practice like it's their job because, well, for many of them it could be! It's no secret that scratch golfers practice a lot. But just how much might surprise you.
Most golfers spend around 1-2 hours per week practicing. Scratch golfers, on the other hand, can spend 10 to 30 hours per week honing their skills. That's right, they're out there hitting balls and working on their game for hours on end. How many scratch golfers do you know that live on the range?
And it's not just mindless repetition, either. They have a plan, a routine, and a specific focus for each practice session. If you want to be a scratch golfer, you're going to have to put in the work and practice effectively.
Habit #2: Mental Focus and Clarity
Golf is just as much a mental game as it is a physical one. Scratch golfers understand this and have a rock-solid mental game. They know how to stay focused - they can block out distractions, tune out the noise, and stay laser-focused on their game for hours on end.
They keep their emotions in check, even when they hit a bad shot. They have a super short memory and they know how to keep that negative little voice in their head at bay. This could be one of their greatest assets. So the next time you shank a shot, take a deep breath and channel your inner scratch golfer.
Habit #3: They're Obsessed With Their Equipment
Scratch golfers know that their equipment can make or break their game. That's why they're obsessive about their clubs, balls, and everything else they use on the course. They're constantly tinkering with their gear, trying out new clubs, different shafts, and grips, and experimenting with different balls to find the perfect combination for their game. They know that even the slightest adjustment can make a huge difference in their performance. So, if you see a scratch golfer meticulously cleaning their clubs or inspecting their balls before a round, don't be surprised. It's all part of the game.
Pro Tip: if you want to learn from scratch players then get fitted for the right clubs. A scratch player knows that having the right equipment is about more than just buying the most expensive stuff. It's about finding what works best for them and their game. So if you're a bogey golfer and you're tempted to splurge on a shiny new club, make sure it's actually going to help your game.
Habit #4: They're Always Learning (Hint: Take Lessons)
Scratch golfers know that there's always something new to understand and practice. Whether it's working on shaping a draw or experimenting with a claw-putting grip they're always looking to expand their knowledge and understanding of the game. They read books, watch videos, attend clinics, seek out advice from better golfers and coaches and most importantly they take lessons. They know that the more they learn, the better equipped they'll be to handle any situation on the course. So, if you want to be a scratch golfer, grab a coach and take lessons.
Habit #5: They Play Smart
Scratch golfers don't just rely on their impressive skills to carry them through a round. They also play smart. They know when to take risks and when to play it safe. They think strategically about each shot and consider factors like wind, slope, and hazards before making a decision. They also have a game plan and stick to it, even when things don't go as planned. Knowing what the course gives them and what's working well on a particular day allows them to avoid the big number and limit mistakes. So next time you're out on the course, don't just swing for the fences. Think like a scratch golfer and play smart.
Habit #6: They Live By The Fundamentals
Alignment, grip, stance, set-up, posture - boring for the average golfer but exciting for the scratch golfer. If your aim or set-up is wrong it's hard to hit the golf ball in the right direction. If you've spent enough time watching a professional golfer or scratch golfer on the driving range odds are there's a set of alignment sticks on the ground. A scratch golfer understands repetition is key especially when it comes to the fundamentals.
Pro Tip: Act like a scratch golfer and groove a pre-shot routine that becomes second nature. You'll be shocked how quickly the same routine and diligence with the basic fundamentals improves your golf swing.
Habit #7: They Own Their Game and Embrace Technology
Scratch golfers know their own game inside and out. They know the distances they hit each club whether it's a full swing or 3/4 swing. They know their ideal shot shape. Is it a draw or fade? They also know what their bad shots look like? Is it a slice or hook? They know what shot to rely on when they're struggling. Is it the Tiger Woods stinger or a power fade?
When they play golf they are not scared to embrace technology whether it's keeping track of all their stats or using swing monitors and golf rangefinders. This also allows them to learn from their mistakes.
Habit #8: They Have Fun
Last but not least, scratch golfers have fun. They enjoy the game and the camaraderie that comes with it. They don't take it too seriously and they know how to laugh at themselves. They also appreciate the beauty of the course and the challenge that it presents. So the next time you're out on the links, remember to have fun and soon you'll be on your way to becoming a scratch golfer.
So there you have it, folks! The eight surprising habits of a scratch golfer that will leave you flabbergasted, gobsmacked, and maybe even a little bit jealous. But let's be real, we're all here for habit number six, are we right? Trust us, you won't believe how simple and obvious it is. We're talking next-level golf skills that will have your friends begging for lessons. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start practicing like a scratch golfer, and who knows? Maybe one day you'll be the one blowing our minds with your incredible habits on the green.
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"Keep it in the short grass"
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