Audacious Goals

After the most successful and enjoyable year of golf I have ever experienced, the season is winding down and I am shifting from play to practice; from engagement to reflection, and am also starting to consider goals for the 2016 season. I suspect for many public players goals relate to how often we can play as opposed to how well. And while I acknowledge the diversity of public player engagement and commitment, there are many like myself who are striving for both – improvements in quantity and quality of play. I will share a post later this off season to help the public player possibly get out more often while minimizing the pinch on the wallet. But this post will focus around quality of play.

The season – for most of Canada – is done now. Keeping engaged in the game is not difficult but keeping our game engaged is more challenging. My first steps toward improvement are to provide myself a report card on the state of my game. This assessment, which I have had reviewed by a friend I play golf with often, allows me to know where my weaknesses are. Here it is:

Overall play – B+
Confidence – A-
Mental Game – B-
Commitment – A
Fitness – C-

Driver – B+
Long Game – B+
Mid Irons – B-
Wedges – B+
Scrambling – C
Sand – F
Putting – C

Having dropped my handicap index from 10.9 to 8.8 over the season, and seeing some glaring holes in my game still, this is the first time ever I have felt I can identify a goal of becoming a scratch player. It’s a lofty goal, but I feel I have the ability and commitment to improve a great deal. The pillars for success with this, I feel, are:

– Lessons with a trusted CPGA professional which includes a plan to achieve my goal
– Deliberate practice over the winter
– Getting my body and mind golf fit

The first point is secured. I am working with Ontario PGA Player of the Year and Assistant Professional at Brampton Golf and Country Club, Brian McCann. We’re meeting this fall to revisit my goals, assess my season and put in place a lesson plan to help achieve my goals.

Second, is practice. This will require diligence and commitment on my part. Something as simple as 100 swings a night in my garage, or 30 minutes of shipping in my basement into a net, or perhaps an indoor round weekly at a simulator will all help me keep my game sharp and allow me to focus on areas requiring improvement. This pillar for improvement will be interconnected to the first point.

Lastly, and this will be new for me, is a golf fitness plan. Through the magic of Twitter I have connected with a golf fitness instructor based in the United States. He and I are going to explore a home fitness regime with a golf focus which will help me improve my overall fitness level and address what I see are some of my fitness limitations which may be holding me back from playing my best. Being realistic around my constraints (mostly time), a home fitness plan will work best for me and his experience and insight will make sure there is structure to this commitment, along with the golf focus I am seeking. It’s an opportunity for me to get fit a chance to pilot a distance-based trainer program he’s seeking to build.

It is ambitious, but no one gets better sitting on the couch eating potato chips (which really is too bad).

What are your plans around golf for the winter season? If you’re working to get better in the off season, share your approach. Let’s see if we can help each other.