Five Steps to Improving Your Golf Game This Year

To-Do List - Win - Dry Erase Board

For many in the northern hemisphere, winter is upon us. We can’t do many golf-related things aside from taking some practice swings indoors or maybe waiting for the occasional day between snowfalls where the temperatures rise enough to make a round of golf bearable. Those of us in that predicament are left to feed our passion for golf through books, magazines, television, or the internet. In times like these, we tend to try and learn some new technique or magic tip so we can hit the ground running when spring gets here. It’s like the ever-renewed New Year’s Resolution. We study up and vow to shave strokes off our games, come spring. Unfortunately, this doesn’t usually happen, for a variety of reasons. It is partly because we overload ourselves with information in an attempt to figure out what’s going wrong, and just blindly go out and try a few things. Nothing really works and within a short time, we just slip back into last season’s form. By the time you finish this post, you’re probably

Keeping a Practice Journal

Writing

What was going wrong with your game six months ago?  What was going right? How about three months ago? How have you spent most of your practice time over the last 12 months?  How many lessons have you taken?  What did you learn at each one?  How did your play and practice following each lesson improve?  Or did it degrade first? Hopefully you see where I’m going with this. Looking at the poll currently in my sidebar, a vast majority of respondents want to make significant improvement in their golf games this season.  That’s a pretty lofty goal, but it’s certainly achievable for just about everyone.  What each of us considers to be significant improvement is certainly a subjective measure, but how do we know when we’ve been meeting our goals? What if the goal was weight loss? Or, what if it is to learn oil painting? Or, what if the goal is to visit all 50 states in the U.S.? Fortunately, it’s usually fairly easy to recognize when a goal has been met.  If

Fighting the Winter Doldrums

For those of us in a winter climate, it’s tough to find the motivation to continue on with golf improvement programs during the cold, snowy weather. I know in my case, it’s so hard to stay focused when it’s going to be so long before I get into a good golf routine again. Sure, there will be a day here and there when the weather isn’t so bad and I can get out and play a round. But I’m talking about really working on it. The key for me is switching my goals around a little. Sure, my long term goals the same. But whereas in the summer time, one goal might be to stop blocking the ball to the right, in the winter I need to shift to something more immediate. It’s so easy to lose touch with the here and now while staying focused on the long term. Even though logically, the things I do over the winter are meant to help me in the summer, it’s hard to stay focused on that

Plans are Useless but Planning is Invaluable

My first manager out of college used to say that occasionally. I understood what he meant, but it took a while before it really sunk in. What he was telling me was that in a day or a week or a month, no matter how good our “plan” is, it’s going to be outdated. Things change. We learn new information. We change our goals. But it’s the act of planning that prepares us to deal with those things. As we go through the planning process, it makes us aware of alternatives. It helps us discover pitfalls. It helps us refine our goals. In the end, we’re left with the actual plan, but more importantly, we’re ready to refine it when things change. As I’ve discussed here and there, without goals, we’re just wandering through life. We need goals to help guide us. They must be clearly defined, and it’s of benefit to put deadlines on them. Once we decide upon a goal, it’s all talk until we start taking action toward reaching it. At first

Talk is Cheap: Achieving Goals

In my recent post about what separates the best from the rest, HappyRock asked me what I’m doing to achieve my goals. I addressed it in a follow-up comment, but it really deserves a post of its own. The stock answer is that I’m working on my fitness, weight loss, and practicing the various aspects of the game. But that’s not enough. If I lose all the weight I want to lose, get reasonably fit, and play to scratch, I’m still not going to be good enough. My basic premise in what separates the best from the rest is that mental game is the biggest factor once a player gets to a certain point. I listed out a bunch of aspects of the mental game that I feel are factors. The question is, what am I doing to develop those things? Right now, this blog is my biggest vessel for mental development. It sounds strange, but when you find a way to be totally honest with yourself and expose your deepest, darkest, inner flaws in