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Pittsburgh Golf Articles | Golfer’s Lifestyle MagazinePittsburgh Golf Articles | Golfer's Lifestyle Magazine

Golf is a Hard Game

Summer 2023

By now everyone has heard the story of Michael Block, the PGA Professional from California that finished 15th in the PGA Championship. Mike is one of the 29,000 PGA Professionals around the country that go to work every day and do their best to make the game more enjoyable for the members and patrons of their clubs and golf courses every day. To say that Mike was a little out of his element is pretty much an understatement. Dealing day to day with members that are buying gloves, looking for a new hat, trying to figure out how to putt, how to hit it ten yards further, complaining about the rough being too long, the weeds on #12, the hole in the cart path on #7, you get the idea. With this and all of the other things that go on in the shop everyday these were probably more on his mind prior to arriving in New York, and not how he was going to be able to perform on national TV playing alongside Rory McIlroy. To his credit, he played very well considering all of the attention that was on him. He was the only PGA Professional to make the cut out of the 20 that qualified for this event. I’m positive that it was a whirlwind week for him, especially after making the cut and getting all of the requests for interviews and TV time. CBS even “miked him up” at one point and spoke with him on the air live during the play of a hole. After the trophy presentation, I watched a clip of the phone call from the Charles Schwab tournament extending him a sponsor’s exemption in the event this past week. He thought about it for a few seconds and with a response that would have come from any of us PGA Professional’s, he asked if the guy could ask his boss if he could have off. Then remembering that his boss was there with him, he turned to him and asked if he could go play. I thought that showing that was some great television.

The point of this article is “Golf is a Hard Game”, Mike showed up in Texas and went through his warmups and practice rounds and any of the PGA Tour players do. I am sure that it was different for him since he was out of his normal routine; he wasn’t in the pro shop talking to members or looking at his inventory seeing what he needed to order next or calling vendors asking where are my golf balls or my spring order of clothing. He did seem to be having some fun, how could he not, he was off work, playing golf and enjoying all of the amenities that are available to a Touring Professional. There is a reason that PGA Tour guys are called “Professional Golfers” and we as PGA Professionals are called “Golf Professionals” and that showed up in his play on Thursday last week. Not to take anything away from his performance, but he is not used to the travel, sleeping in a hotel bed, going out to dinner every night, not having to worry about being in the golf shop at 6am and giving time to every reporter or people that wanted his time and attention.

wanted his time and attention. Bobby Jones once said, “You would think that after you have hit a great golf shot 1,000 times, you should be able to produce great golf shots at will.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Watching Mike’s play, gives everyone a better idea of just how good the PGA Tour players are, especially the ones that continue to make the cut week after week. Tiger’s PGA Tour record of 142 consecutive cuts made ran from the 1998 Buick Invitational through the EDS Byron Nelson in 2005, pretty strong showing. He won 28 percent of those events, if he was .280 average in baseball, he would be just an average player, in golf, a 28 percent win average helped make him one of the greatest players of all time. All of this adds up to being able to look at your own golf game and realize that you shouldn’t be expecting so much from your game, especially if you don’t put much practice time in. Here at YCC, I put out a weekly newsletter and I always include a tip or drill from the PGA Professionals at the Titleist Performance Institute. I can tell you that I have only seen one player from my club working on a drill that was in the newsletter. Golf is a hard game, even harder if you don’t put in the time to get a little better.

One thing for sure, it was nice rooting for such an underdog. Michael Block’s play made watching the PGA Championship a little more interesting and special. It was refreshing to see someone do so well with all of the odds stacked against them. Block put in many years of hard work and practice to achieve the unthinkable and finishing 15th competing with all of the greatest golfers in the world. If you practice hard and commit to it, you too can better compete against your friends and members of your club or golf course. Happy hitting!

Tom Beeler
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