How good is good enough? *Updated* follow-up question post #174

The other day I was giving a lesson to this guy who’s handicap was in the high 20’s. He had a decent swing but his contact was iffy on most swings. After a few adjustments he was still hitting these weak fades, and as I was wrapping us my lesson I assured him if he kept working on things his contact would continue to improve. After that comment he said “Are you serious? This is the best ball striking I have ever seen from my swing”. This interaction made me think what’s everyone’s opinion on how good you have to be to “enjoy” this game. What goals to each of you have.
My goal once I passed my Player Ability Test for the PGA was to maintain my ability to go out on the course at any time and be right around even par. With last year’s Colorado event(I ended up not going thanks to the Backstreet Boys Tour and scoring a million brownie points with my wife)I forced myself to actually establish a handicap and I fluctuate in between a 1 and 4 depending on where I am in season.
So how good is good enough to you?


I’ve said it before but the perfect score is 94. You did not threaten to break 90 and you had to hit a few real golf shots to make that attainable. Once you’ve improved past that point you almost can’t go low enough.


The dirty little secret is it’s never good enough.

You start by breaking 90 regularly… then you want to break 80… once you break 80, you want to do it regularly… then play to a scratch… then compete in amateur events…

It’s never enough. At least for me. You can always improve.


I think once you can break 100 it is enjoyable to go out and play on a semiregular basis. I don’t have an official handicap because I am not a member anywhere but hang around 80 typically. Have a couple friends that are better/comparable that are more enjoyable to play with if I want to post a score, but many of my friends grind to their 96 and it is still fun for them. But the thing about golf is we are always looking to get better than we currently are.


Pretty close to the same for me.

At this stage in life with young kids, playing once a week and hopefully hitting balls once a week, being around par is all I can reasonably expect.

I shot 73 the other day with 2 doubles. 3 swings cost me 6 shots.

Good enough to enjoy the game is about that for me. Carrying scratch comfortably.


Bill Russell once said he was much happier as a 12 than as a 2 because when he was a 2 he wasn’t enjoying golf, he was grinding to get to scratch (which he never did). The minute I stop enjoying golf because I am obsessing over my handicap I will know I have gone too far.



Mentioned earlier but consistently breaking 100 seems like a big turning point. I like to think of it more in terms of skills, breaking 100 you’re likely making solid contact more than not which makes a big difference in your overall enjoyment.

For me personally, when I first started playing I just couldn’t hit my driver at all and for a long time. Got to the point where I’d only hit 3W off the tee. It is now arguably the best part of my game, and to no ones surprise I score a lot better too being able to get off the tee. I can have a day where I can’t score at all but drove it great and feel really good after my round and vice versa.

There are just certain things in golf that forget about your score, if you can’t do them I don’t see how you can have any fun. To me, being able to use the big stick is the first of those.


My wife hasn’t ever broken 100.

She still enjoys the game.

I don’t know a whole lot, but I do know enjoyment is not a number.


I don’t think enjoyment of golf is necessarily tied to how good you are at it.


I think the two words I hear on the lesson tee the most are consistency and enjoyment . I think every skill level is chasing their own version of those two words in this game.


It is like many other things… money, possessions, career achievements

You can be happy with what you have or unhappy

I know people who make 100k/year and are very content… 100k/year and are constantly broke.
This holds true at 250K, 500K and a million. You decide for yourself …are you rich or poor?

In the bar after any round, you can find two guys who shot the same score… one happy one sad


That ability to make consistent contact (and for me I’d add the ability to reach most to all greens in regulation) is what I see as key.


Agreed that enjoyment isn’t a number, but also agree that shooting around/under 100 is a big turning point.

For me, and other’s I’ve introduced to the game, that feeling of “holding your playing partners up” with consistently off-target, or errant shots is hard to shake. Once you start shooting around 100 or or less, it certainly feels like you’re keeping up, even if you’re bested by 15-20 shots by your playing partner.


Turning point to what specifically?

I love this. There are 30 handicaps that just love to be out on the course regardless of the number of putts they missed and there are 4s that let a missed 15 footer for par ruin their round/weekend/etc.

It really is a state of mind. I’m glad every round that I have the attitude of the above mentioned 30 (but the game of a 16)!


I think it depends how much you crave to be a better player; to get out there time and time again and try to shoot lights out. Some people are just content with keeping the ball in play. All the power to them. But as someone who was bitten by the golf bug only a couple years ago, I am constantly trying to improve my game. I went from a 20+ index to on the verge of single-digits by grinding on the range and finding my stroke. I hope someday I’ll find my good enough.

“Good day, gentlemen. And until that day comes, keep your ear to the grindstone.”

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That’s incredible. I’m laughing and love it.

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Yeah, that was a big one for me. Maybe the biggest. I spent a long time stressing that I was getting in the way, taking forever, constantly losing balls and generally being a pain in the arse. I felt as though every time I was over the ball, the others in my group were thinking “shit, here we go again”.

Once I improved, everything started falling into place. Looking forward to hitting the next shot usually leads to a better shot, which then snowballs. Knowing a bad shot is an aberration which can be laughed off rather than that hot flush of shame which tightens you up and leads to a run of terrible holes.


It’s so true, the people I know who are very good players (low single digit to scratch) it’s so easy to be like god it must be so fun to play like that. But when you watch them, they’re more frustrated throughout their round than the guy who hits one ball more than 10 feet in the air all day.

It’s certainly not everyone, but feels like a big chunk of golfers get more frustrated with their game the better they get.