MacArthur’s Magic Method

We do not play the same game we see professionals play. It looks the same. It is not. The majority of amateur golfers don’t score less than 100 on a regular basis (golfer’s refer to that as “breaking 100”). To be fair, it sure looks the same on television, the grass is green and they are hitting balls and they use clubs. It all looks just like what we do. Not even close.

As a matter of fact, while we try to emulate those guys, the only thing we seem to master is their pace of play. They know what they are doing. We really don’t. Oh, we think we are reading a putt or analyzing how we will hit a shot, when in reality we are just going through the motions. This is not our job. This is not our life. It is supposed to be fun.

Professional golfers don’t play golf, it is their job. The next level down includes amateur golfers that play the game on a high level. Competitive golfers are the next level down. They are followed by semi-competitive golfers (hustles, friendly bets, etc.). Then you have the largest group of golfers, those that just play to play.

At the bottom of the heap are the beginners. These are the folks that need to break free from the constraints of what they see on television. These are the golfers that plod along, trying to play and failing miserably. These are the people that want to enjoy the sport and have little to show for their efforts.

These are the people that need MacArthur’s Magic Method.*


  1. Spend time at the driving range learning how to strike a ball that is on a tee. Don’t try to kill the ball. Learn to swing within yourself and hit the ball. Remember, at this point in learning – distance is not as important as direction.
  2. Practice using the putter. Learn how to roll the ball in the direction you are aiming. Learn the difference between rolling it two feet and ten feet and twenty feet. It is all about feel and practice until you have a good sense for direction and distance.
  3. When playing a round of golf, tee it up on the first tee and swing. The distance is not as important as the direction. Remember to swing easy.
  4. Go to your ball. Reach in your pocket and pull out a tee. Place your ball on the tee, select a club and swing. Remember, direction is important. You will learn which club to select as you play. If you hit the ball too far, next time use a higher numbered club (golf is strange, the lower the number, the farther the ball will travel).
  5. Follow step 4 with each succeeding shot until you have hit your ball onto the putting surface (the green).
  6. Use your putter and putt the ball to the hole. If it goes in, move to the next tee. If it does not go it, putt again (and again) until you have putted the ball into the hole.
  7. Go the next tee and  tee it up and swing. The distance is not as important as the direction. Remember to swing easy.
  8. Continue playing following steps 4 through 6.

Additional “rules”…

  • If you hit your ball and it goes into a sand trap (bunker), remove the ball and place it on a tee adjacent to the bunker.
  • If you hit your ball into a water hazard (creek, pond, lake, river), take a new ball and place it on a tee on the side of the water closest to the green. (The object is not to have to hit the ball over the water again.)
  • If you hit your ball into the woods (any area outside of the playing area), take a new ball out and place it on a tee near the spot where you last saw your ball enter the woods.
  • If a group of golfers are behind you, do not panic, continue playing. If for some reason, you can not keep pace, move aside and let the group behind play through. (If you are following MacArthur’s Magic Method, you should be moving along at a reasonable pace.)

Equipment needed …

  • Golf clubs. You can rent them, but once you feel like you want to play this game, buy your own. A “used” set of clubs is fine to purchase. Once you become proficient and don’t need to use MacArthur’s Magic Method to get around, you can buy a new set of clubs. Brand new clubs will not make playing easier in the beginning.
  • Golf balls. Buy the absolute cheapest balls you can find in the beginning. The ball will have minimal effect on your results when you are just beginning. Expensive name brands balls are not necessary to learn how to play.
  • Tees. They are cheap. Bring plenty. You will be using one on every shot as you learn to play. You can pick up broken ones laying on the ground on every tee. Fill your pocket.
  • A coin to mark your ball when you are on the putting surface.
  • A divot repair tool. When you are on the putting surface, always repair at least two or three marks left by other golfers. Learn to respect the playing field.
  • Patience. MacArthur’s Magic Method will enable you to learn how to play. It will not happen overnight. You will learn and have fun. It is a game.

* – MacArthur’s Magic Method is for use when learning how to play and/or for those that just want to enjoy the game. As you increase your proficiency at striking the ball, you may wish to wean yourself from the tee in the fairway. Go at your own pace.