Golf biased towards ‘morning person’

Aussie Golfer is not a morning person. I struggle to open the fridge door in the morning let alone drive a ball in the right direction. Western society favours morning people because the working day has been structured around sunrise and sunset but I’ve suspected for a while that better handicapped golfers are more likely to be morning people.

Factor 1: Competition Golf
Competition golf is the only time you can play in order to contribute a round to your handicap here in Australia. Most club competition golf is played in the morning, from 6am – 11am. Of these hours, the calmest part of the day is usually at daybreak. I’ve lost track of the number of times the conditions have greatly changed around about 10am for the worse.
Summary: Conditions for better golf is usually earlier in the day.

Factor 2: Human Physiology
Scientific research has shown evidence to support a wide variety of circadian rhythms in people – as we all know, some of us are morning people, some of us are night owls. New research by Dave Collins’ lab at the University of Alberta (himself a keen golfer) has shown morning people’s strength remains fairly constant all day however the strength of night owl’s peak later in the day. I realise golf is not all about strength but other research has shown the same pattern when looking at reaction time and concentration.
Summary: Nightowls have increased concentration and have better coordination later in the day.

The idea is a crazy one and needs some more specific research but the thought has occurred out of years of frustration being forced to play morning golf for my handicap to change. I’m not the only golfer who prefers afternoon golf. Hopefully future Australian golf handicapping changes will allow for all rounds of golf to contribute to a golfers handicap so those of us with an aversion to mornings can compete on an equal footing.

7 thoughts on “Golf biased towards ‘morning person’

  • October 28, 2009 at 22:30
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    What about bio-rythms? Given the hour, the day, the week, the month … there may be no need to get out of bed at all.

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  • October 28, 2009 at 23:30
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    You may be right! I’m not sure about bio-rythms or how they even affect concentration and muscle control. This all probably has bigger ramifications for Olympic athletes and wat time of the dan finals are held.

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  • October 29, 2009 at 00:01
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    I’m definitely not a morning person…
    If comp was played at 1pm or later, I’d be lowering my handicap each week!

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  • October 29, 2009 at 19:51
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    If it makes you feel any better, Michael, there’s a 13-14 hour time difference between the US and Australia. According to our clocks, you are playing early morning golf!

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  • October 29, 2009 at 22:05
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    Ha ha, love Mikes last comment. Sounds like the solution to your problem Aussie Golfer is to play “out of body” golf in the States 😉

    Seriously though, isn’t ‘Factor 1’ always going to be the bane of the late rising golfer? I know I prefer to play around 10:30am in competition golf however I also know by around 10th or 11th hole that the wind will also pick up and make playing a little more difficult than my fellow 7:30am markers.

    I think in this case, sadly the ‘early bird will alway catch the worm’.

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  • October 30, 2009 at 01:00
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    Hey I’ve never thought of it that way Mike!

    MixMaster: Yes, you’re right Factor 1 is always a an issue. If I want to play in better conditions I’ll have to get up earlier or wait for calm afternoon conditions when the new handacap system comes in – so my round will contribute to my handicap.

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  • December 30, 2009 at 04:20
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    An excellent post! Funny because I was having the EXACT same discussion with one of my playing partners a couple of weeks back as we strode up the 18th fairway into howling wind after our 1pm tee off. We were both way over our respective handicaps by that point, and my playing partner argued that there should be two different course ratings for morning/afternoon tee offs because it seemed like we were playing two different courses. Dead still in the morning and blowing a gale in the afternoon.

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