Where am I?
Before you can go anywhere, whether it be drive to New York City or lower your golf scores, the first thing you need to know is where you are right now. In the case of driving to New York, your actions would be very different if you were starting in Los Angeles than if you were starting in Miami. Similarly, if your goal is to lower your golf scores your plan is very different if the weakest part of your game is your driving versus you’re putting. But how can you be certain of what part of your game is holding you back from playing better?
Assess Your Current Skills
Most players believe they know the answer to this question and answer it very quickly and positively when asked. I will even ask players to rank in order from strongest to weakest the areas of their game – driving, long fairway shots, mid-length fairway shots, short fairway shots, pitching, chipping, bunkers and putting.
I have found that often their answer is misguided. The players I have spoken to often put too much emphasis on they’re driving, believing that they need to bomb it long and hit every fairway to shoot lower scores. The most accurate driver on the US PGA Tour so far in 2013 is Jason Duffner who is averaging just over 10 fairways per round, and the PGA Tour average is just over 8 fairways per round. It’s also interesting to note that at the time of writing, Paul Goydos was 113th in the FedEx Cup. So expecting to hit every fairway as the solution to breaking 90 is not quite accurate.
Measure Your Results
Tracking your rounds and skills testing are the best way to find out exactly what needs the most attention. After each round you play simply go back over the round in your head and record your numbers in each of the following categories – fairways hit, greens hit, total putts, green saves and sand saves. Repeat this for a minimum of five rounds so as the patterns are more obvious. I use My Golf Game Plan with my players to track their rounds and to help us plan their Performance Plan and keep us on track towards our goals. You can then visit www.pgatour.com to view the PGA Tour statistics across a wide variety of categories.
Design the Plan
The next step is to share these numbers with your instructor so that they can then test you playing shots in the area that is shown to be the weakest. This allows your coach to narrow in on the exact cause of the poor results, whether it is technical, mental, physical, a concept issue or a poor practice regimen. Whatever the reason, the two of you can then devise a Performance Plan to help you improve the area of weakness and get you shooting lower scores.
Implement the Plan and Track Results
Once you have started your plan, continue to track your statistics on the course and follow your improvement as you work through the drills and practice schedule you have put in place. When the results in the chosen area have reached an acceptable level, look at the next weakest component of your game and start the process all over again on that area.
If you continue with this process of assessment, set a plan, execute the plan and then reassess, the Performance Plan, then you all but guaranteed to see improvement in your golf game.
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