Is this year's golf going to be the same as last season's and the one before that? Here's an insight into how golfers can build a process, set some goals and change their games.
How good do you want to get this year? It sounds like an easy question to answer and it’s a question I’ve asked my clients throughout my time as a coach.
Of course, the answers always come back, “I want to be much better… I want to break 100, 90, 80… I want to finally beat my buddies or win the club championship”. These are all valid responses from some really good people. These guys have already decided to take a leap and get some help with their games and coming to see me is the result of being frustrated enough with golf to want to change.
What if I was able to ask the rest of the golfing world the same question, “How good do you want to get this year?” I could phrase this differently. I could ask, “Will you be satisfied with your golf, for the rest of your life, if you NEVER get any better than you are now?” I have an idea that this might trigger a different response.
Now, obviously, getting better at golf has many connotations. It could be swing related or fun related but it’s most likely score related. At my home course, there are so many different styles of golfer. There are the 36 handicappers who want to improve and there are the ones who are just out there “for the walk”. There are grumpy 90 shooters who seek the elusive 89. Often the battles are fought, not with the course, but between arch rivals, who also happen to be best friends. Point is, there are so many ways to play golf and with vary degrees of conviction to improving, a blanket approach to helping people cannot and will not work.
When I start to build relationships with individual golfers, I aim to get them to take ownership, not only of their golf games on the course, but also how they decide to go about the process of improvement. We talk about motivation; we talk about learning opportunities, off the golf course. We talk about practice movements at home. I might advocate watching the PGA and LPGA players on the TV to pick up certain aspects of “how” they play or how they survey the course or read a putt. We talk about how best to divide up a practice session and use our time more efficiently.
The one over-riding factor is that without action, “getting better” is just a dream, a wish or a hope.
I think one way to begin this process would be to set some goals. Have an honest look at your game and decide the areas of it that cause the most frustration. Then choose how you would like to change those areas, pick something to focus on or practice and set aside some time that you can spend working on it.
When I watch our golfers at the club play, the vast and I mean vast majority of them stride up to the clubhouse, grab their bags, miss 3 or 4, 6 footers on the practice green and then march onto the tee. A select few might warm up a little, hitting balls at the range or into the practice nets but for the most part, people’s first shots are on the first tee block.
Changing this could be a quick, simple and attainable goal. Go to your course 15 or 20 minutes earlier. Hit some short putts and some longer ones. Get a feel for the speed of the greens and how the ball is rolling. Then, chip a few from the edge to a couple of targets. Get a feel for the ball coming off the clubface. Finally, hit some longer shots, long and short irons, maybe even a couple of Drivers. This 20 minute warm up could change your game forever and there’s no doubt, It helps.
Remember, the goals you set can be as big or as small as you choose them to be. The fun things is, you get to choose them and then you get to reach them. However you decide to play golf, take a little time to ask yourself, “how good do I want to get this year?”
Golf is a challenge, accept it and take it on.