Tom Fielding Golf School Japan
With the golf season winding down (or over) for many of us who live this neck of the woods, it is a time of reflection on the season that was. If you want 2015 to be better than the 2014 season, this 3-part series will tell you how to take advantage of the winter months and prepare for spring.
Golf is no different than any other sport. If you want to succeed, you need to have a plan. It is extremely important to take time and evaluate your game in all aspects. If you want to improve, pull out a pen and paper and start formulating a plan for how you are going to be a better golfer next season. I recommend that you start your plan with a self-evaluation.
While personal goal setting is important, if we want to set a meaningful goal there are a few requirements that must be met. That is, the goal must be specific, measurable, and obtainable. After each of my lessons with my students, I give them a homework assignment to reinforce the learning that just took place and to provide them with some much needed feedback. On top of this I recommend that everyone keep statistics on their games, not just to count how many greens, fairways and putts but to identify the specifics of each shot. An example of what a student could bring to me could include:
Other ways is to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses of how you play your game of golf from your perspective.
Be realistic about the area of your game that you want to improve.
Once this list is complete, it is up to you to decide what you want to improve upon in the coming year. Obviously, we would like to get better at everything. And while I hate to burst your bubble, the reality is, that ain’t happening. So, be realistic about the area of your game that you want to improve. High-handicap players should try to stay away from evaluating how many strokes each weakness costs them during their rounds. Instead, focus on the weakness that is going to make the round much more enjoyable for you if you can improve it. In other words, if for example you average 2 to 3 putts per hole (total = 45 putts), then it would pay to evaluate the effectiveness of your chipping or pitching to gauge as a way of improving your number of putts per round.
Maybe your frustrations are a result of the number of tee shots that you hit into the trees or out of bounds each round. You, then, should focus then on hitting more fairways. Naturally, improving any weakness is going to lower your scores, so worry more about fixing things that are going to allow you to enjoy yourself more while you are playing. This will help you stay motivated to practice and play as you work towards improving.
For the lower handicaps, you should be doing just the opposite. Most likely, you are already playing and practicing quite regularly and shooting lower scores is motivation enough for you to put in the time that is necessary to improve. So, you should be searching your weaknesses for the areas of your game that are costing you the most strokes. For example, if your scores on par 5’s are unacceptable, an evaluation of the situation you might noticed that your second shots on those holes are a big weakness. While I’m probably only talking about four shots throughout an entire round, those four shots could very well cost you as many as five or six strokes. So, this is a weakness that you can plan to focus on strengthening for next season. For single digit and lower handicaps, your weaknesses are naturally going to be smaller and more specific. However, that makes them no less important to your game.
Regardless of your handicap, I would suggest picking no more than two of your weaknesses to target for the upcoming season.
Regardless of your handicap, I would suggest picking no more than two of your weaknesses to target for the upcoming season. Improving anything in your game takes time and a great deal of effort, so one or two areas of improvement are quite sufficient for a season. You do not want your goals to become an obstruction or a deterrent. A necessary level of success along the way is vital to maintaining your desire to see your plan through to the finish. Spreading out your focus to four or five goals is going to prevent you from improving any of them to the level that you desire.
So, to summarize, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your game. You can be as specific or general as you wish. It is your game and your evaluation, so criticize as you please. Once you’ve made your list bring it with you to our next lesson so that we can check it together and then I will help you get started by selecting one or two of your weaknesses that you would like to improve. Be excited about your choices and about the potential of considering these areas to be strength instead of a weakness. Keep those positive thoughts throughout the cold and the snow and By using some analysis that you can obtain at the end of this season, this offseason you can have a specific, obtainable, and measurable goal that will help you focus and master some of your weaknesses. You can continue to improve and When spring finally does arrive, you’ll already be off to a good start!