_Do you want to take your golf game to the next level in the coming year? If you don't then you'd better check that you have a heart beat...Seriously though, I'm sure you do, but do you know what to do, or even have the tools to get you there!
Most passionate golfers set lofty goals for themselves and like most New Year's resolutions by the second week in January many have given up on them and gone back to their old ways of practicing and limiting themself.
So how do you stay motivated to move towards consistent golf improvement? The first thing to do is to "Know" where you are with your overall game, and not where you "Think" you are! What do I mean?
Do you track basic statistics in your game like these?
If you're in that 95% who don't keep stats use January for gathering base line data in at least these statistical categories which will give you a more accurate picture of where you are.
"Golfers who don't keep statistics of their golf games from my experience just can't face the truth of how bad parts of their game are, so they spend more time working on their strengths and ignore the weak areas."
- David Milne (Director of Pro Tour Golf College)
Now you know where your golf improvement journey starting point is so next step is to decide where your destination (Goal) is. It has to be defined clearly and succinctly, like my co director Lawrie Montague explains it; "if you get into an elevator on the ground floor with a total stranger you can externalise your golf goal to that person by the time you get to the 10th floor?"
This takes practice, so it's your responsibility to visit your goals everyday not on just a cognitive (thinking) level but more importantly on an emotional and physical level until it's embedded into your subconcious. This helps to create a strong and dependable belief in what you're doing helping you to "stay the path" until you achieve your goal.
No one can do it by themselves so select someone who can guide and mentor you, who has the knowledge and understanding of how to get to the pathway of golf improvement. As we continually state at Pro Tour golf College, the "Perfect Golf Swing" is not the answer; a holistic plan that measures your progress continally and moves you to lower scores is what you need.
Jack Nicklaus the first golfer who understood this and built his whole playing schedule around the "4 Majors" each year. With his 18 Majors I would say he got it right! Ben Hogan did the same but it was more due to the injuries he received in a horrific car accident he and wife Valerie were involved in, and had to limit the amount of tournaments he could play in during the year.
_By putting in place an annual periodisation plan will ensure that you do technique adjustment only at the appropriate time and not the week of major events on your calendar. You will always be ready to play golf at these tournaments and not be 'thinking swing.' So select periods in the year where these important tournaments are situated and ideally there shouldn't be more than six.
Lastly be realistic with the time you designate for practice and play so you can maintain the momentum throughout the year. Make the time you practice more effective by keeping a detailed training log so you can be more specific on what you do at each session, and an assessment at the end to measure your progress. For those who are time poor, make the time to play a few holes early or late in the day which can make a real difference.
Follow the plan, stick to it and you will take your game to the next level...and beyond.
We wish all you passionate golfers a "Happy New Year" and everything you wish for in 2012.
David Milne and Lawrie Montague