Goal Setting Formula For Your Best Golf

The Goal Setting Formula For Your Best Golf

“Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement”. – Brian Tracy

It’s at this time of year (during the off season for most) that my students and I review the past year and set goals for the new season.

Review The Past Year

Did you improve during the past year? If not, why not? Did you keep stats and were you working on the things that you really needed to during your practice? Did you set clear goals with a time frame?
What were your 3 biggest successes? It’s important to remind yourself of the great performances you had during the past year.

Let’s start 2018 with some clear goals.

Step 1: Define Your Long-term Goals

Ask yourself that famous interview question: “where do you want to be, and what do you want to have achieved, 5 years from now?”

Step 2: Determine your “why”?

“He who has a why can endure any how.”– Frederick Nietzsche

You need to establish why you want to achieve those goals. What it is that’s going to make you happy and fulfilled about these achieving these goals vs doing something else? I ask all my students this question during their first session. Your “why” is your purpose. If you can’t determine your “why”, then go back to step one and find goals that align with it.

Step 3: What does success look like to you? Create a vision.

“In order to be successful you have to develop your inner vision. If you have no vision for the future, you are destined to fail in the long run.” – Greg Norman

Visions are important as they are emotionally charged, and emotions drive people. Visions get into your subconscious, which drives a lot of your behaviors.

Step 4: Write down your goals in this order

Writing them down makes them more real. Make them as specific as possible. “Get better at golf” or “become the best I can be” are not good goals. If you haven’t been keeping stats (which I highly recommend you do), then you’ll have to estimate until you have enough data to be more specific. You will probably have multiple 3 month, weekly and daily goals, but this will depend on the amount of time you can dedicate to your game. It’s better to be focused than spread yourself thin.

  • 5 year e.g. to be a PGA Tour player, or to be a scratch handicap
  • 1 year e.g. top 10 on web.com money list, or get a 9 handicap
  • 3 month e.g. increase greens in regulation to 68%, or improve putting make % from 10-15ft to 25%
  • This week e.g. spend at least 10 hours working on irons from 130-190 yards and/or spend 3-4 hours working on various putting drills (you can be specific about what drills you do), and/or 3-4 golf specific fitness workouts
  • Today (action list) e.g. go to driving range and (with irons) spend 1 hour on a specific technique improvement, 1 hour on random practice drills, one hour on competitive skills drills, and/or nutrition plan/fitness goals

Seeing them listed like this, will remind you (every day) where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. All the goals beneath the bigger ones should feed into them. But why set goals?

1. Goals give you focus and help you prioritize

“Avoid bullshit and focus on the highest impact use of your time” – Warren Buffet

There will always be many things trying to get your attention, so defining what is most important to you will help you focus, on a daily and weekly basis. By setting short and long-term goals to accomplish, you’ll identify the best way to spend your time to get you to where you want to go.

2. Goals keep you motivated

Goals need to be inspiring and motivating (but attainable) to ensure you put in the effort to achieve them.

3. Goals help you build confidence

Achieving smaller goals builds confidence and makes you feel a sense of accomplishment and high productivity. You’ll feel like you’re moving forward and build confidence in your process.

4. Goals create a sense of urgency

Time is the most valuable commodity we have and we can’t buy more of it. If we don’t think (often) about how we’re spending it, it’s easy for it to be squandered. By sitting down and defining your goals (the more specific the better), and giving them a clear deadline you’ll push harder to get them done.

5. Goals give you a benchmark

The goal setting process makes you take an honest look at where you are now relative to where you want to go. By doing this, you can get a benchmark to compare yourself against, so you know if you’re getting better, or not.

6. Goals hold you accountable

Writing down your goals and reminding yourself of them (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and beyond), will give you some accountability to getting them done. This is another of the ways I help my students. I expect them to enter their daily and weekly goals into their “performance journal” (www.edufii.com) which I have access to. Having the increased accountability from sharing goals provides additional incentive to get them done. If they didn’t get them done, I will ask them “why not?”

7. Goals require you to re-evaluate and strategize

If you didn’t achieve the goals that you set yourself, why not? Was it that you didn’t use your time as effectively as possible? Were your goals were unrealistic? Did you try to do too much within the time you set and you lacked focus? Or were the goals you set not really where you really wanted to go? Goals require you to continually reassess how you are using your time and how efficient you’re being.

Follow the goal setting formula above and it will set you up to make the next year, your best yet!

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David MacKenzie

is a mental golf coach and lives in Washington DC. He is the founder of Golf State of Mind, a teaching program designed to help golfers condition their minds to overcome fear and play with confidence.

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