Emulate the Pros

Lessons from the Greats

As I stood on the first tee at Eagle Ridge Golf Club, my heart raced with a mix of excitement and trepidation. This wasn’t just another round – today, I was going to channel my inner pro and see if I could emulate the titans of the game. After all, if it works for them, it has to work for me, right?

Like many amateur golfers, I’ve long been enamored with the effortless swings and jaw-dropping performances of the pros. Whether it’s Rory McIlroy’s towering drives or Lydia Ko’s silky-smooth putting stroke, there’s an undeniable allure to replicating their techniques. And with the wealth of information available at our fingertips, it’s never been easier to study and dissect the routines of the best in the business. [1]

But as I soon discovered, the path to golfing greatness isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. As running coach and writer Ashley Mateo eloquently pointed out, “We often can’t apply and learn ‘from the elites’ without some significant analysis and scaling back.” [1] The truth is, the pros operate on a different plane entirely, with training regimens, diets, and lifestyles that are simply not feasible for the average golfer.

Finding the Right Fit

As I teed off on the first hole, I was determined to put my newfound knowledge to the test. I had carefully studied the pre-shot routines of my favorite players, meticulously mimicking their every move. But as I stood over the ball, something felt off. My grip felt too tight, my stance too narrow, and my swing just didn’t have the same effortless flow.

Frustrated, I stepped back and took a deep breath. Perhaps I was going about this the wrong way. After all, as ASICS pro runner Makenna Myler pointed out, “People love to ask me, ‘How do you balance it all?’ I don’t do it all!” [1] The same principle applies to golf – the pros may make it look easy, but they have the luxury of structuring their entire lives around their craft.

Remembering this, I decided to take a more thoughtful approach. Instead of blindly imitating the experts, I would focus on finding the techniques and habits that worked best for my own unique swing and physical abilities. With the help of a knowledgeable coach, I began to experiment with different grips, stances, and swing mechanics, slowly but surely honing in on the formula that felt most natural and effective for me.

Embracing the Grind

As I settled into my new routine, I couldn’t help but marvel at the dedication and discipline of the pros. While I was content to squeeze in a round or two on the weekends, they were logging countless hours on the range, fine-tuning every aspect of their game. [1] It was a humbling reminder that true greatness doesn’t come easy, even for the most gifted athletes.

But rather than be discouraged, I decided to embrace the grind. I started setting aside more time for practice, meticulously studying the nuances of my swing and diligently working on my weaknesses. And while it wasn’t always easy – there were plenty of frustrating slices and missed putts along the way – I began to see tangible improvements in my game.

Striking the Right Balance

Of course, as an amateur golfer with a full-time job and a busy personal life, I couldn’t quite match the single-minded focus of the pros. As ASICS runner Makenna Myler pointed out, “When I’m leaving for a run, I can tell my husband, ‘hey, please make me dinner’ so it’s ready as soon as I’m back. He does so much of the household stuff, he helps me with social media, we co-parent…” [1] For me, it was all about finding the right balance between my passion for golf and the realities of everyday life.

To that end, I made a conscious effort to weave golf seamlessly into my routine, whether it was squeezing in a quick nine holes after work or incorporating golf-specific exercises into my fitness regimen. And when it came to my on-course performance, I learned to embrace the lessons of the pros while still staying true to my own unique style and abilities.

Embracing the Joys of the Game

As I approached the final stretch of my round at Eagle Ridge, I couldn’t help but reflect on how far I’d come. Sure, I may not have been able to match the effortless brilliance of the pros, but I had learned to find joy in the journey, embracing the thrill of the chase and the satisfaction of steady improvement.

And that, to me, is the true essence of the game. Because at the end of the day, golf isn’t just about winning or losing – it’s about the camaraderie, the challenge, and the pure, unadulterated love of the sport. So while I may never have the chance to walk the fairways of the PGA Tour, I can still find my own path to golfing fulfillment, one shot at a time.

So the next time you find yourself longing to emulate the pros, remember that the real magic lies in discovering your own unique way to enjoy the game. After all, as Sage Canaday, a professional ultramarathon runner, so wisely put it, “It’s all relative.” [1] Just keep swinging, and the rest will follow.


[1] Mateo, Ashley. “Why You Shouldn’t Always Emulate the Pros.” Substack, 2023, https://ashleymateo.substack.com/p/why-you-shouldnt-always-emulate-the.

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