What was your goal for your last range session or practice round of golf? Didn’t have one? Ever wonder why you are stuck in a rut with your golf even though you’re putting in the time?
Imagine setting off on a car journey to a place you have never been, and not even taking a peek at the map before-hand. Could you get to your destination? Sure, but it might take you a hell of a long time.
Are you like most golfers?
If time is on your side, then go ahead (and good luck to you). But I personally prefer a more structured route to my destination (with a little wiggle room/flexibility).
Please be good
“I hope this is a good practice session” is not a goal. Not a great one anyway.
Whether you perform well or not at something is not really a good indicator of whether you are learning or improving it. Think of all the practice sessions you have had where you hit the ball great and think you have mastered it, only to be sorely disappointed, and thinking about putting the clubs away for good a week later.
So, rather than just turning up on the practice range/tee and hoping that this is going to be an enjoyable session (because you hit the ball well), try and have a different goal – one which leaves you having achieved something regardless of how how the session performance went.
When I practiced as a junior, I always had a goal. That’s probably why I got down to scratch in just over 3 years.
Quality goals could be similar to the below examples
- “I am going to hit 50 balls focusing fully on getting comfortable with the grip change I made last lesson”
- “I am going to hit 50 balls and experiment hitting with different parts of the club face to build awareness and skill levels”
- “I am going to hit 50 balls and note down what the main issue was with each shot, and then look for patterns”
It’s not that performance related goals are bad – but we are not always in control of our performance. I do use performance goals regularly, but I also make sure my players have process goals which leave them with a guaranteed achievement at the end of each session.
Try striking different 3rd of the face to improve your control and awareness
I am a big fan of this – and I see much quicker levels of learning in my pupils who engage in it.
Put simply, find some way (if you can) of measuring your goal. This allows you to keep track of improvements or reversals long term, increases focus, improves motivation and can speed up goal achievement.
For example, if your goal was “I am going to hit 50 balls and improve my sweet-spot strike”, why not use some form of feedback (like Dr Scholls footspray), set a target (such as a hitting within a 1 euro sized circle on the middle of the face) and count how many out of 50 you are successful with.
This allows you to turn you practice into a game – and even if you don’t beat your own record/score, you still walk away with an increased understanding of your own strike patterns, as well as increased awareness of the sounds/feels and ball flights associated with a heel or toe strike.
I wrote in-depth about goal setting, quantifying and gamifying practice in my amazon bestseller – “The Practice Manual”, which you can learn more about by clicking the image below.
- Don’t just wing it – turn up to each practice session/round with some sort of goal – ideally one which you are more in control of
- Try to be specific about your goal, if possible
- Use feedback
- Quantify it that feedback
- Turn that feedback into a game
Stay tuned for more golf practice tips.
I also work with dedicated players on a one to one basis – designing training plans, goal setting and swing analysis. If you want to learn more about this – contact me using the form below, telling me a little bit about your golf.