Perfect Practice makes Perfect

It is often said that “practice makes perfect.” The reality is that errant practice engrains error. That truth came home to me very powerfully today, as I played golf with two pastor friends of mine. One of them scored a 78—a very good golf for an amateur—and the other shot a very respectable 92. I followed along with a tally of 103, not a great performance at all.

I am, unfortunately, a very average golfer. According to a well-published survey, about 55% of golfers report that they have scored better than 100 at least once, but since many golfers lie shamelessly about their scores, it is unlikely to be true!

I have posted scores in the 80s before, and I know that if I could only fix my patterns of error, I could regularly do so. I drive the ball consistently well off the tee. Today, I was within a few feet of the better players on virtually every tee shot. My problems kick in when I get within 100 yards of the green. I have never learned to handle my short irons well, and they easily add a dozen strokes to my score on most days.

The problem is that I have never taken golf lessons (I accidentally wrote “lesions” but had to erase it. I have taken MANY golf lesions over the years!) and I just don’t understand how the wedges work. I’ve been practicing poorly since I was 12 years old, continuously supporting the terrible habits that I have. Every two or three years, I will get very lucky and have a round in the 80s, and one summer I was consistently shooting about 90. But until I learn to hit the wedges well and practice perfect technique over and over, I’m always going to be a mediocre golfer.

Your dreams depend upon defeating bad habits. For things to get better, they have to change. For things to change, we have to learn how to do them better. To do them better we have to practice the right way. Are there any engrained habits that are blocking your dreams? What practices do you need to learn how to do better? Better golf isn’t really my dream, so I don’t take steps to fix that problem. Whatever you do, don’t treat your dreams like I treat my golf game.