Performance Goals That Every Golfer Should Have
Whether you’re just starting out on your golfing journey, or you’re a seasoned weekend warrior, it’s a great idea to set yourself a few goals. This is the sort of thing that turns a wander around a field wacking a little white ball around into an actual sport! As you’ll see, these don’t have to be entirely tied to your score, but we think that the simple act of setting these can keep you more focused throughout your rounds; and should ultimately help you play better golf.
Break 100, 90, 80, 70
We’ll start with the most obvious to get it out of the way early. No matter your handicap, there’s always a score that it would be great to beat at the start of each new season. Perhaps you’re looking to break par for the first time, or even to break 100. Having an achievable goal is a great way to keep you focused, and aid your early season practice sessions when there’s less competitive golf to think about. However, it’s essential that you keep your goals realistic, it’s all well and good trying to aim for your lowest score, but you need to couple this with some effort too! If you’ve never broken 100 before, setting a target of breaking 70 this year, without any increase in practice, might be a little unachievable (sorry!).
Keep It Under 100, 90, 80
This is a game that we’ve developed over the last couple of years, particularly with the introduction of score tracking apps. No matter how the round is going, try and keep your score under a certain barrier - ideally for the whole year. So, if you play off a 10 handicap, perhaps set the goal of never shooting in the 90s for the entire season. This will give you something to play for, even when the chance of winning your weekly stableford has slipped away. You’ll be surprised at the satisfaction that you can get from keeping this streak going for as long as possible, and the added concentration through the closing holes might even help you turn an average round into a decent one with a couple of unexpected pars or birdies.
Commit To A Pre-Shot Routine
Obvious, and easier said than done. But you can’t do an awful lot to control what happens after you’ve made contact with the ball. However, you can definitely control everything you do up until that point. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail, and there’s absolutely no need to be a scratch golfer to have a repeatable pre-shot routine. This might include a practice swing, visualising the upcoming shot (a la Jason Day), or just taking a deep breath. Whatever it is, it should feel natural and work well for you. Please though, do try and keep it under 20 seconds …
Become A Sand Devil
PGA TOUR average for bunker recovery is 51%. That mightn’t seem like too unrealistic a goal, and in truth, it’s not! If you go in three bunkers a round and get up & down twice, you’re far exceeding the best players in the world. But how many of us practice this skill? Next time it’s feasible, throw a couple of balls down in the bunker and have a bit of a play in the sand. Feeling comfortable here can drastically help to improve your scoring, particularly when compared to the majority of average club golfers.
Improve Your Up & Downs
It’s a game within a game, but spending some time working on your up and downs can be massively fulfilling. Not only is it the quickest way to reduce your scores, but it’s also something that can be done in a short 30 minute session, without having to trundle out onto the course with your full bag. There’s a myriad of different drills to play, and you should try to pick a few that help you with the weaker parts of your own game. Maybe it's chipping over bunkers, or playing out of them? Perhaps it’s just feeling more confident on short range putts? Whatever it is, working on this area will ultimately increase your overall enjoyment of the game, as you feel less trepidation when you inevitably miss a green or two. We’d strongly recommend taking a look at your scrambling stats for the last six rounds or so, and using that as a benchmark to beat over the coming months - something that you can do easily with the Golfshake Score Tracker!
Top tip: If you are someone that struggles with your chipping, try and first focus on never having more than one chip on each hole. It might sound silly, but getting the ball on the green to 20ft is much better than bumping it forward a couple of inches! Take the stress out by giving yourself a wider target (i.e., the whole green), and when you get more comfortable, then start to hone in on the flag. You’ll be surprised at how many shots you can save by never having more than one chip on each hole - you may even hole a couple of the 20ft putts that you leave yourself!
Never Miss A Gimme
They’re called gimmes for a reason. They’re supposed to be unmissable. However, many of us fritter away a shot or two each round by not taking due care and attention when holing out. Think about it, your 2ft tap-in counts for exactly the same number of shots as your longest drive. There’s no reason to rush it - particularly if there’s a chance of missing.
Between 2002-2005, Tiger Woods had more than 1,500 putts from 3ft or less on the PGA TOUR and only missed three of them! We’re not expecting you to be able to mirror the Big Cat in all aspects of the game, but we’d argue that mere mortals are likely more able to mirror his short putting concentration and routine than his 300+ yard driving! Start from now, and see how many holes you can go without missing one from inside a putter length …
Keep It Clean, Keep It Happy
Performance can be measured in many ways, most obviously through final score. However, there’s definitely an intangible aspect that links your enjoyment of a round, and the number of shots you take. Far too many of us fall foul of foul language (us included!), which can make you increasingly stressed, put you on edge, annoy your playing partners, and ultimately hinder your scores. So if you’re prone to turning the air blue, try and see how many holes (or rounds) you can go without putting a pound in the swear jar. We guarantee that everybody in your group will have a more enjoyable day out, and you’ll almost certainly see a positive correlation in your scoring too!
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