My column this week in the Medicine Hat News was inspired by a great lecture I saw delivered by my friend Dustan Lang. I would love to hear your thoughts and interpretations on the 3% and how else it may or may not apply to game improvement?
If I told you a specific skill only amounted to three per cent of your next round of golf, how hard would you focus on improving it?
Virtually every one of you would agree that focussing on the other 97 per cent with all your heart would be the best way to spend your time.
Now that we all agree on that fact, let’s look at what exactly your remaining 97 per cent is.
Dustan Lang, owner/operator of Cypress Sports & Physiotherapy Clinic here in Medicine Hat, has spent countless hours informally studying the way golf skill utilization breaks down. The idea came to him while working with a handful of PGA Tour professionals a few years ago.
Ready to have your mind blown?
When timed with a stop watch, Dustan concluded that golfers only spend three per cent of their golf round executing shots. That is to say only three per cent of their day is spent swinging a club or hitting chips and putts.
The remaining 97 per cent of their day is spent walking, talking and executing etiquette as they move about the course.
You can apply this 3% to 97% split to suit any number of things within the sport; however, I want you to really digest this in a couple different ways.
Firstly, when working with beginners, we must consider this: In order to truly set them up for success and long-term enjoyment in this sport, we need to spend the majority of our time walking them through the on-course soft skills. We need to patiently teach them the etiquette, safety and procedures needed during the down time in their round…after all, it accounts for 97 per cent of it.
When introducing someone to this sport – adult and junior – we spend the majority of our time emphasizing the skills needed to hit shots which is truly only a minor part of their day. We must get better at teaching people how to safely navigate and enjoy the golf course as a whole.
Secondly, when working with high-level players, we need to be mindful of what they eat, drink, and say to themselves during the off-times.
How a player manages their emotions, self-talk and body language through out the round is just as critical to their overall success as the small percentage of time they spend executing shots.
Regardless of who you are or what your skill level is, I have a strange irony for you to consider.
Why would we let our overall attitude and enjoyment of the round be determined solely based on something that is only happening three per cent of the time? Would it not be more prudent of us to base our satisfaction on how we enjoy the other 97 per cent of our round?
Remember, great company, great weather, great etiquette and great golf courses should be enjoyed regardless of how well we play…after all they will make up the majority of your day.