The best advice that I can give to every golfer this spring is to get organized with your golf game. Don’t make this another “Ground Hog Day” golf year where you buy another new driver, hit a few buckets of balls in the spring and expect a different, better result. If you repeat the same pattern with your game, you’ll get the same result.
If you really want to play better golf in 2017 you’ll need to get organized and make a plan that takes an honest look at every part of your golf game. This is definitely the first step to playing better golf. Take some time and think about what will work best for you and be realistic about a couple of things. You need to be totally honest about your game right now, your potential, how much you’re really willing to put into it, and be realistic about how long it will take to get to your goals. You need to decide on where you want to take your golf game then figure out your plan to get there. And don’t just think about it. You should sit down and write down the things you’ll need to do to get the job done. You’d go through this process if you were looking to open a new business or going out to buy a house so why not do it with your golf game?
In our Elite Coaching Programs, we have players assess seven key parts of their golf game so that they really know and understand what needs work. Let’s get you started right now on your 2017 golf game plan/assessment by explaining the seven parts that make up a total golfer and having you rate your skill set in each one of them.
Rate yourself from 1 (brand new golfer) to 10 (Tour Pro) in each key golf competency below:
1. Golf Swing: A golf swing should be built on timeless fundamentals based on balance and athleticism. There is no quick fix or trick that will make your swing better in a hurry. When it comes to your swing, good information, knowledge and practice all matter a lot. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve played with an amateur who hits a ball then asks, “why did the ball go there?”. If that sounds like you, you’re in a bit of trouble. How can you ever expect to improve something if you don’t know what’s wrong with it? Your first step to a better golf swing is to know what you’re going right and wrong by looking at some video and understanding your swing better. That may take a few lessons this spring but it will pay off big time in the long run.
Golf Swing: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
2. Short Game: At our golf school, we divide your short game into 5 different shots. To have a great short game you’ll need to be comfortable with all of them. Those 5 shots are the chip shot, the bump and run shot, the pitch shot, the bunker shot and the lob/flop shot. This spring make sure you know how to set up and hit all those shots then build a practice schedule to work on them. And remember to work more on the shots you struggle with. Golfers tend to spend too much time working on their strengths.
Short Game: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
3. Putting: When it comes to your putting you’ll need to master two distinct skill sets. The first is a simple, repeatable putting stroke that you can depend on. That’s a lot harder than most golfers think it is. Most newer golfers think putting is easy because their putts end up “pretty close” to their target. To make putts though, your putting stroke needs to be very precise and that requires a lot of attention to detail and a lot of practice. The second skill you’ll need to be a good putter is feel. In truth, distance control and feel are the most important keys to lowering your putts per round. If you can get your long putts close to the hole, you’re on your way to less putts every round you play.
Putting: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
4. Equipment: Your golf clubs are a big part of your ball striking equation. PGA Pros literally spend weeks testing clubs and tweaking specs to make sure that their clubs aren’t negatively affecting their ball flight. If you’ve never been club fit, I guarantee that you could hit the ball better. Spend an hour with a PGA Pro outside this spring and you’ll be amazed at the difference that clubs can make. If you’ve already been fit, just make sure your lie angles, grooves and grips are all A-OK for your upcoming season.
Equipment: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
5. Mental: When I discuss “Mental Game” with golfers I’m talking about their preparation and course management skills. This includes all your decision making regarding your golf game. Have you built a productive practice plan? Have you thought about when and where you’ll play and decided on a tournament schedule? Have you thought about your warm up and game plan each round? Do you make good decisions on the golf course? Do you learn from your shots and rounds? If you consider these topics and many other decisions you’ll make every year regarding your golf, you’ll easily be able to rate your “Mental Game”.
Mental: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
6. Health and Fitness: Every single day on my lesson tee I come across golfers who are limited by their flexibility and fitness. In truth, most middle aged “average joe” golfers would do themselves more good to work on their strength and flexibility in the offseason than by hitting balls into a net for hours. A fit, flexible student always has an advantage in golf. You should also consider restfulness, hydration and nutrition as part of your overall golf Health and Fitness rating.
Health and Fitness: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
7. Emotional: Last but certainly not least when it comes to your golf skill set is how you handle your emotions on and off the golf course. Do you really know yourself? Do your fears and temper control your game or are you self-confident, optimistic, resilient, and logical on the course? If your golf game were a car, your emotions are the dashboard of that car. They control everything about your game and are the real secret to playing your best golf.
Emotional: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
w / Kevin Haime, PGA of Canada Class A Professional @KevinHaime