This past week, I had the opportunity to attend the 2023 PGA Show in Orlando, Florida for the first time. As a lifelong golf fanatic, the PGA Show has always been on my bucket list, and I have to say, it didn’t disappoint. It was awesome in the truest sense of the word. With 2,100,000 sq ft of exhibition space, the Orange County Convention Center transformed itself into the focal point of the golfing world for a week-long celebration of all things golf. 

After spending the first few hours in a drooling coma of golfing delight, I was eventually able to regain consciousness and take a more sobering look at what was driving the billion dollar industry that churned in front of my eyes. It seemed to me that two things were fueling the machine: greed and hope. Greed is the easy one to understand as it is an obvious motive for any business looking to survive, but hope was a bit more troubling for me to understand as someone who wholeheartedly believes in the long term development model of improvement.

It was clear that the golf industry was selling hope; the hope that if you buy their products they will make you better. Sadly, in my experience, golfers are so desperate to improve that they will buy anything if they believe it will help them. At their core, golfers are suckers for hope. 

The reality is, hope won’t make you better. I have no doubt that all of the gadgets, equipment, and data points that are now able to be captured and collected can provide the tools and information a golfer needs to get better, but without a well designed long term development plan and the discipline to execute it, you will not improve no matter how hopeful you are. 

Purchasing the latest gear feels good. New shoes and clothes are cool. Gadgets are novel and fun. However, if you are serious about getting better at the game of golf, you need a plan not a new driver. As you look to the upcoming season, take the time to identify all of the areas you need to improve in (ideally through an assessment) and the specific things you need to work on within those areas. Improvement takes time so be patient with the process. If you do, I guarantee the results will be more satisfying than the instant gratification you get ogling hope.

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