Why the average golfer struggles to improve becomes obvious when you analyze his or her approach to shot making. Let's consider how the approach of the average golfer differs from the approach of the skilled player.
Skilled players aim away from difficult or penalizing situations, and primarily to the middle of safe side of fairways and greens.
Believing that they hit the ball far straighter than they actually do, average golfers too often aim directly at the hole. They routinely find themselves in penalizing or difficult situations because they make little effort to avoid those situations.
Skilled players always select a club that provides a margin of error. Allowing for the slight mishit (everyone's normal shot), they never under-club themselves.
Believing they hit the ball longer than they actually do, average golfers continually under-club themselves. This lead to over swinging, poor distance control, and a high percentage of mishits.
After selecting their shot and before addressing the ball, skilled players establish a clear and positive intention to create that exact shot.
Average golfers typically think about the shots they don't want to create or things the don't want to do. They might think, "Don't slice it", "Don't hit it in the lake", "Don't move your head" or "Don't swing too hard". Those thoughts create corresponding mental images that actually make the undesirable outcome more likely.
SET UP POSITION
Skilled golfers understand how the various aspects of their set up position (Ball position, grip alignment, stance and posture) directly influence impact conditions. As a result, they make a conscious effort to always set up to the ball in the manner that would allow them to most easily create their intended shot.
Average golfers have no idea how their set up position influences their ball-striking, They seldom make square and centered contact because they seldom get themselves properly set up to the ball.
While maintaining the intention to create a specific shot, skilled players allow their swing to unfold as naturally as possible. They swing with intention, trust, and confidence; not thought.
Average golfers cannot stop thinking while they are swinging. Fearing a mishit, they always try to consciously manipulate their swing. As a result, their swing motion is unnatural, off-balance and highly inconsistent.
Considering the quality of his playing skills, it amazes me that the average golfer plays as well as he does. It also becomes abundantly clear how easy it would be for him to improve.