While there is still a grotesque amount of snow on the ground here in Calgary, the days are getting longer and people are starting to agree with me that Tiger is going to win The Masters, which means spring is in the air and it’s time to get fired up for the season.
I’ve been writing these annual goal-setting posts for several consecutive years now, and while I’ve had mixed results, it always help me learn something about myself and what makes me tick. We’re never going to reach each and every goal we set out for ourselves. However, even when you fall short, it’s likely that the goal pushed you further than you would have gone without it in place, so in that sense it was still a productive process to set it.
Some of the biggest things I’ve learned about how I respond to different types of goals are:
- Lofty time commitment goals never work — as a working stiff who doesn’t get paid to play golf, I always have less time to practice than I think will, and it has taken me a few years to learn this.
- Health always needs to be top priority — it’s hard to achieve much or have fun when you’re injured, so keeping the body fit and healthy should always be the #1 priority.
- The simpler, the better. It’s good to revisit goals throughout the season to remember what you’re working towards, but they’ve slipped my mind at times. Keeping them simple will make it much easier for them to stay in the forefront of my mind.
With that, here are my 5 main goals for the 2018 season:
- Keep fit. The most frustrating thing is playing golf with pain and knowing your body can’t do what it’s capable of. Our fitness classes with Shannon at DM Golf Performance this off-season have been helping a lot. We’re going to continue with those into the season to keep some structure and discipline in the fitness routine.
- Have fun. I’m taking a page out of Wes Heffernan’s (A Casual 9, Episode 9 guest) book. It kind of sounds silly because playing golf is inherently fun, but at times it’s easy to lose perspective after a stretch of bad holes or a bad round. A quick reminder of how fortunate I am to be playing golf is all it can take on a tough day, and embrace the challenge of getting the most out of what I have each and every round.
- Practice once per week. I’ve set lofty practice goals in the past and it never happens. I always underestimate how much time life and work and stuff takes up. In addition to playing, a quality practice session once per week seems achievable, whether it’s a range/short game session, or getting out for 9 holes on a weekday evening and working on some shots. Short game will always be weighted more heavily.
- Stop giving a f**k. Getting too worried about whether my playing partners are having fun, or if they’re playing slow, or worrying whether an opponent’s ego can handle a bludgeoning in a match have thrown me off my game in the past. None of that is my problem and all I can control is my own game, emotions, and level of fun I have on the course. If someone else is miserable or can’t handle the heat, that’s their problem.
- Putt right-handed. Hahahaha. What?! So I’ve been trying something sort of crazy. For those who don’t know, I play golf left-handed. At the end of last season I was messing around with Beth’s right-handed putter on the course, but maintaining a left-hand low grip. I couldn’t miss inside 10 feet, so I have decided to give it an honest go. I rescued a used Scotty Cameron, tossed a fresh Ping blackout grip on it (just like Tiger, obviously), and I’m rolling the ball much better. I tested it out over 5 rounds in Palm Springs (I boldly left my left-handed putter at home) and in general saw a lot of improvement in my roll. I had a tendency to over-read putts with the better roll and slightly more aggressive pace. It’ll take some adjustments and getting used to, but I’m looking forward to the experiment. It’s actually not that weird. It’s the same way Jordan Spieth putts, except the rest of his clubs are also right-handed.
While I didn’t mention it directly as a goal, it’s kind of a given that swing improvement and maintenance is always a work in progress. Are you even a golfer if this isn’t the case? I haven’t stayed healthy enough the past few seasons to put in an honest effort on this, so if my first goal is achieved, it will help this fall into place.
I had an awesome lesson with Fred Teno last weekend, and we shored up a simple setup issue, and a couple other simple things to work on in my swing. Between this and improving functional strength and movement patterns through our fitness training, I’m seeing some promise of turning myself into a golfer.
I’d love to hear what your goals are for the season or what you’re working on — if you need a forum to hold yourself accountable, feel free to leave a comment below.