A large part of improvement and learning is simply having a process. Most players want to improve, they may even know what to improve but may not know how to do it. This time of year there are a lot of resolutions, one thing most people miss out on is engaging in a plan. Start with my few tips directly related to your golf game. If you are ready to improve after reading this guide, give a follow or share and I will be creating a complimentary personalized practice guide for your improvement. Let’s make 2017 a year of better golf!
Make an Honest Assessment of Your Game
Reflect on your golf season of 2016 and take a deep look into what your actual weaknesses are. What is it that is directly leading to higher scores? It may be a tempting and exciting thought to add 10 yards to your game, but will that translate into improving all of the 4 foot putts you missed? Figure out what it is exactly that is running up the number on your scorecard. To start easy, grade your game A+ to D in 6 categories, Driver, Approach shots, Pitching, Chipping, Sand Play and Putting. For some players we’ll break it down a little deeper. For example, we may take approach shots and evaluate 100-125 yards, 125-150 yards, 150-175. Or for putting, we will identify that pace issues occur more from 20-30 feet but is pretty good within 15 feet. To keep it simple for you as the player, start with grading the 6 categories and allow myself or a coach to work out the smaller details. The important part is to find out exactly where the weaknesses in your game are and target them for the year of 2017.
There is loads of information at your finger tips via YouTube, Golf Digest and other sources. While all of it is right for someone, 90% of it does not target your actual weakness. The best way to utilize this information and make it a very powerful tool for your improvement is to pair it with private instruction. Get a very personalized assessment of your golf skills from an experienced teaching professional and use your magazines and Youtube tips to supplement that assessment. If you and your coach are working on utilizing the bounce a bit more in your short game, you can now skip past all the tips about curing a hook or hitting long drives and focus on what exactly applies to you. I encourage all of my students to text me swing tips from magazines and Youtube that they find interesting, so that I can give them feedback as to how it applies to their game. In working with a coach, you will also be able to create a personalized game plan for you to follow that will specifically hone in on your weaknesses in scoring. Having a game plan is key in knowing what to practice, how to practice and how much to practice.
There is an important factor in practice that leads to improvement and that is not time. Consider the practice of a high school student athlete, to that of a collegiate athlete, to that of a professional athlete. It is not the amount of time that’s the biggest difference maker, it is the intensity and focus of the practice sessions. When we are engaged into our practice, that is when the most learning takes place. If you hit a bad shot, rake over another ball and try to swing using a different swing thought, that doesn’t exactly lead to long term improvement, it leads to “hopefully I can hit this next shot better”. Be sure to practice with feedback, practice with a very specific goal in mind, and after each shot carefully evaluate before hitting another one. Keep the deep thought process going to allow your body time to internalize and build some muscle memory of whatever you are working on. Commit to some form of practice schedule even if it’s two very short practices per week but make these practice sessions very meaningful.
Assess, create a game plan, execute and evaluate. Better Golf in 2017.