The 2012 golf season is almost here, and some days it feels like it has already arrived. I’m sure lots of you have already been out at some point this winter and hopefully had a great time. Like I said in a recent post, my pro shop is full of optimistic happy golfers. Wouldn’t it be great to keep that optimism and joy going all season? A trap I see lots of players falling into is beginning to judge themselves strictly on their final score. The mentality is, “I shot 95 today, but last week I shot 91.” Just because the score went up does not mean that you played poorly. There are countless factors that could have contributed to the higher score. Several of them could have been completely out of your control. It is time to start looking at your golf game with a glass half full mentality.
A simple way to start evaluating yourself positively is to develop a plan. The first step in this plan would be to define your goals. Make your goals very clear, definitive, and achievable. For example, “I would like to go from a 18 handicap to a 14” or “I would like to have lowest scoring average in my league.” Once your goals are set, it’s time to evaluate your game. Go out and play a sample set of rounds or think back on your three most recent rounds. I would encourage you to keep statistics on your score card. How many fairways and greens did you hit? How many putts? How often were you able to get up and down? Look at your scores and evaluate why you made double bogey on that hole. Was it poor course management? If you are struggling with evaluating your game, I invite you to schedule a playing lesson with your local PGA Professional. It is amazing how much more I learn from watching my students on the course as opposed to the driving range.
Once the evaluation is complete, you should have a much better idea of what you need to improve. For instance, you discovered that when you miss the green you only get up and down 25% of the time. It is now very evident where you need to allocate your practice time. Develop drills and contests to make practice time fun. You can practice with a purpose. During your rounds, specifically track what you have been working on during practice. Although you may have shot a higher score did you chip and putter better today? This method will require periodic reevaluations to determine how you need to prioritize your practice. In an age where time is everything, it sure makes sense to be practicing the right thing. You will be amazed at how much quicker you accomplish your goals. More importantly, you will be amazed at how much fun you are having on the golf course. I have found that when working on my own golf game, it is critical to have an achievable plan to provide me with proper motivation to practice.
The time is now to develop your plan for 2012. Do not get stuck in the same rut of just looking at your total score. I beg you to dig in and learn how you made that score. I promise with a proper plan in place you will begin to accomplish your goals in a matter of no time. Best of luck and see you on the lesson tee!!