By: Steve Williams, WGCA contributing writer My experiences of working with many touring pros over the years have convinced me of some rather sad facts that I would like to share with you!  I use the word “sad,” because these facts keep many passionate, talented players from making it to the PGA Tour.  Typically, they play mini-tours for several years with dreams of making it to the big time, but other than qualifying in a few four-spotters over the years, never do they make it to the Tour. I see the frustration on their faces after they place decently high in a mini-tour event one week, only to miss the cut the next week.  Then, I see them work harder on the range to hone their swing planes or maybe synchronizing arm and torso motion…while they’re thinking that their inconsistent ball striking under pressure is the result of their overactive hip rotation. Great!  I like it when players work harder on the range!  They certainly need to build a repeating swing.  However, for many of them, their biggest impediment to not making it to the PGA Tour is not as much swing issues as it is a lack of focus, due to a lack of discipline. So, I have listed 12 traits of the typical mini-tour player and the typical touring professional.  While we must understand that there are exceptions to every rule, the traits of each of these talented golfers listed below are not at all uncommon. There are many other things that can be listed, but these 12 should create enough contrast for you to get the point that I would like to make. Typical professional golfer who never makes it further than mini-tours: 1. Plenty of physical talent to play on the PGA Tour. 2. Practices enough to play on the PGA Tour. 3. Has enough tournament experience to play on the PGA Tour. 4. Likes to party with his buddies. 5. Doesn’t set short- and long-term goals. 6. Has too many distractions to be able to focus intently. 7. Blames too many of his high scores on bad luck or…being hungover or…bad playing partners. 8. Possesses enough knowledge to have excellent course management, but lacks the confidence and patience necessary to form a game plan and stick to it. 9. Enjoys impressing people with the fact that he is a professional golfer. 10. In his quest to justify prolonged years of playing mini-tours, constantly says things to others about how great of a golfer he is, which add more pressure to his mindset. 11. Constantly faces the same issues over and over because he refuses to accept that he needs to grow up and be careful to learn from past failures. 12. Has a good short game.   Typical professional golfer who plays on the PGA Tour: 1. Relatively equal to or slightly better physical talent than the mini-tour player. 2. Practices close to or slightly more than the mini-tour player. 3. Doesn’t possess a whole lot more tournament experience than the mini-tour player. 4. Realizes that the more discipline he has, the less he’ll want to party. 5. Has created the habit of setting and reaching short- and long-term goals. 6. Makes a habit of keeping distractions to a minimum. 7. Knows that blaming his high scores on bad luck or…being hungover…or others, keeps him from dealing with the issues that keep him from making it to the next level. 8. Knows his strengths and weaknesses, and forms his course management decisions upon that knowledge, and then remains committed to his plan. 9. Doesn’t see the need to broadcast to everybody what he does for a living, but just lets his clubs do the talking. 10. Has learned the fine art of habitually saying things to others in a way that constantly takes pressure off of himself. 11. Has experienced enough failures that he finally came to the conclusion that if he was ever going to make it, he had to make sure that he didn’t keep making the same mistakes over and over again. 12. Has a very, very good short game. So what is the point that I was trying to make?  Making it to the PGA Tour is more in a player’s control than he would like to admit! It’s not easy for me to mention to a fellow who works hard on his game on the range that he lacks discipline…or is stubborn when it comes to admitting and accepting responsibility for his weaknesses…or that he doesn’t learn very well from past mistakes…or maybe that he simply needs to grow up. It’s part of my job, though!  If I have to make a player mad at me by telling him the truth, I can live with that. Understand this. though: There are few things that give me more fulfillment in my work than helping someone to get past weaknesses that have plagued them for their entire life, and seeing them accept that if they want to accomplish their dreams, they have to change their way of thinking because nobody is going to do it for them…and then seeing them do it! Good golfing!
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