I've never been a good roller skater. In fact, I'm a horrible roller skater.

The handful of times I tried skating as a kid, I wasn't any good. As an adult, I'm worse. The few occasions I've gone roller skating, I'm always the worst one in the rink, going about 2 mph and looking like a total doofus, on the verge of falling at any moment. I just can't get the hang of sliding around on wheels under my feet.

On the other hand, I've always been a pretty decent golfer.

I remember going with my dad and two brothers to the old Fort Douglas Country Club when I was about 10. I had never hit a golf shot, but they handed me a club, dropped a ball, and from about 100 yards, I promptly knocked it on the green near the pin.

Although I didn't play a full round of golf until I was 13, I quickly went from the 60s to the 50s and to the 40s in one summer. My handicap has been slightly under 10 for several years.

So why am I telling you this?

Just to remind you that we're not all created equally when it comes to golf. Or roller skating, or any sport for that matter.

I don't know how many times I've heard someone say something like "If I just took a few lessons and played more, I could be a scratch golfer."

Uh, no you couldn't.

Lessons and practicing will help you improve, but they won't necessarily make you a good golfer.

There is a level of talent and skill involved in golf, and you have to build off that talent. Sure, you're likely to improve the more you practice anything. But if you're not very coordinated, you may never be a very good golfer.

I asked Ken Clark, who's been known as one of the state's top teachers for a couple of decades and who sees golfers of all levels. Of course, he believes he can improve any golfer's game, and he does so on a daily basis. But he acknowledges that there's a huge disparity in golfers' abilities, and not everyone can become a single-digit handicapper.

Clark has a lot more hope for the hackers of the world than I do. He suggests that if golfers took a lesson within their first five years of golfing, before lifelong habits set in, it could make a big difference in their games. He also suggests that every golfer should take at least one lesson a year.

I'm not saying you shouldn't play golf just because you're not shooting in the 70s or 80s for 18 holes. You have to accept the level of golfer you are and try to improve from there. If you're a 28 handicap, perhaps you can become a 20. If you're a 20, maybe you can get down to a 14. If you're a 14, perhaps you can become a 10.

Some people just have to understand they aren't going to be good golfers no matter how hard they try.

Just like I'll never be a good roller skater.


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