I’m not really a New Years resolution type of guy. The concept of waiting until January 1st to instill positive change in one’s life is a weird one to me. Why can’t we set our minds on doing something positive on March 17th? Or October 21st?
Having said that, there is something mentally refreshing about the ol’ Gregorian odometer turning over. The start of a new year creates the perception of a clean slate from which to renew our ambitions. As golfers, we need all the help we can get keeping our minds free of unnecessary clutter, and the start of a new year is a good excuse to clean house.
I’ve been publicly setting goals on this site for quite a few years now. Most of these goals are related to the “Road to Scratch” – the overall target of becoming a scratch golfer. Deep down, this is still my ultimate goal. I’m a competitive person and enjoy being challenged and experiencing pressure, so a drive to improve and throw myself into uncomfortable situations, no matter what level my game is at, will never go away.
What I have come to appreciate is that golf can be enjoyed in many different ways beyond just trying to shoot a number. Not only does golf mean different things to different people, golf can mean different things to the same person depending on the day.
My process related goals geared toward improvement in the past have taught me a lot over the years. They have helped me gain a deeper understanding of what motivates me. I have learned what level of commitment it takes to improve or, what level of commitment is not enough to improve. While I have not reached every goal set out in the past, every one has been worthwhile for what it taught me about myself.
My 2019 goals are very simple, and purely mindset focused. Golf is mental, after all. Without control over our mind, we’re at the mercy of every influence around us. For me, it’s all about mindset to get the most out of every experience (and keeping my body in one piece, but that’s a different story).
With that in mind, I have two goals for 2019:
To not give a f**k about things I can’t control. There are a lot of things we can’t control on the golf course — how other people behave, the weather, the pin placements, and even the golf ball once it leaves the club face, to name only a few.
To embrace every round of golf for what it is that day. For the many different ways and reasons I enjoy this game, it would be naive to think that every time I pull my clubs out should be another step towards becoming a scratch golfer. Sometimes I want to take photographs while I play and pay particularly close attention to the architecture of a new course. Sometimes it’s a social affair. Sometimes it’s about going out for nine holes and messing around with different shots.
These goals are perhaps overly simplistic, or not measurable enough, but it feels like keeping these things in the forefront of my mind will serve me well.
Golf is more than scoring and competing. It’s more than golf course architecture, amenities, and conditions. It’s more than who you’re playing with. It’s more than beers at the turn and birdie shots. It’s more than evening nines and experimenting with different shots. It’s more than getting outside for four hours to get some exercise.
It can be, and is, about all those things, or whatever you want it to be that day.
Happy New Year.
Golf isn't just a game, it's a lifestyle.