Tonight I want to speak to the students in the room. Specifically the ones here that are interested in getting better. Who really wants to improve their scores? Raise your hands high! Is that your real objective? You would be surprised to find that it isn’t always the case. At the beginning of every lesson or golf school, I always ask the student what is your goal for today and where do you want your game to look like in a years time? Anything past that is for tour players. You would be surprised by some of the answers that i get from such a simple question. (or is it). I enjoy asking the goal question and telling them that their answers cannot include the word CONSISTENCY and you wouldn’t believe the look on their faces because they were all going to say it….”I just want to be more consistent”. As a golf coach, that phrase means very little to me as I attempt to gain valuable information about your game that will help direct me towered helping you play better. Players, you have to be more specific. As I watch a new student warm up and hit every shot to the right, i might joke that you are incredibly consistent………..smile the point is, you have to be more specific when setting your goals and a quality coach should be able to help you with this. The first step is with an accurate assessment of your current condition. Now I understand that there are goals that apply to different level of players and this important because the only thing worse than not setting goals is to set them too high only to get frustrated. For example, a beginning golfer might set a goal of getting the ball airborne every time and that is ok. There is nothing worse than a new golfer thinking that they should hit it perfect (just like their friend who has been playing for years) and getting frustrated and quitting the game. Here are some examples of specific yet simple goals and I will give you an easy way to organize your plan for next season.
1. Stop slicing or hooking
2. To hit the ball more solid instead of hitting the ground behind the ball or catching it thin
3. To hit more fairways or greens
4. To hit my pitch shots the right distance
5. To stop 3 putting
6. To hit my fairway woods off the ground
7. Gain distance (very popular) but a good goal
8. To understand my golf swing and what to work on
9. I want to get the ball out of the bunker every time
These examples are what I call skill building goals. As a coach, I can work with these answers and build a plan to improve these skills which will ultimately lead to the second kind of goal (Outcome Goals). These are good guidance to get started and keep you focused. Examples of outcome goals would be to win the club championship or your flight in the member guest. To lower your handicap from 15 to 9. to qualify for the state amateur or to break 80 for the first time.
These are great starting points but it’s only the beginning. I understand that there are two types of golf 1) ego Golf and 2)scoring golf
Ego golf is the player that doesn’t care what they shoot as long as they hit the ball farther than their golfing buddies so that they can talk about you in the bar after your round. These players look great on the range but can’t post a score. These are the types of players that drive coaches crazy because we feel that the ultimate goal is to score lower and we don’t care how you do it. If I have to hear,” I shot my career low……buttttt I really putted well on that day,” So What! Its part of the game. The same player goes out and hits 15 greens and shoots worse but is happy with it.
Start by keeping basic stats (gir’s, fir’s, putts, up and downs, penalty strokes) or get a software program that does it for you. My favorite is www.shotbyshot.com. This will help you to establish a pattern to see where you are actually weak and where you are strong. After you chart 10 rounds, share it with your coach and you can start to set some goals. Here is an example: Lets say you set a goal to lower your handicap from 15 to 9. You chart your rounds and you are hitting 8 greens in reg. 9 fairways with no penalty shots, your up and down % is less than 30 and you are averaging 38 putts per round. If you are like most golfers you are still trying to hit the ball better to get your greens in reg up to 14 because that is what the top tour player is doing. Wrong! Your coach is going to say hop in the cart and lets introduce you to the short game area and putting green. He may even sign you up for an AimPoint clinic, if you are lucky! Build the skills that will help you reach your goals. Be honest with yourself and don’t worry so much about what others think when you are practicing your weaknesses. Pretty soon they will be asking you what has changed when you are thrashing them) which is the greatest compliment as a golfer…..and the most rewarding.
Be smart this winter and you will thank me later. Dont let your ego keep you from reaching your goals this upcoming season. See you here tomorrow night!
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See you on the lesson tee,