No seriously, it’s all about planning. It never ceases to amaze me how many people go out to practice and think magic will happen.
Let me explain! How often have you gone out to the practice range just to hit balls? I see it daily. When you go out to practice – you must have a specific goal in mind. That goal needs to be a step toward your long term goal.
There is an art I have found to getting the most out of your practice. In fact I have written an article on how to practice more effectively, if you would like to know more.
You have to know what your end goal is, so you can plan on how to get there.
I remember when I first went out on tour and being self funded by my winnings during my apprenticeship, I wasn’t that flush that I could fly from one tournament to the next.
I had to drive. Sometimes that was a case of finishing a tournament Sunday afternoon and then jumping in my car and heading off on a 1000km journey that afternoon – sometimes even more.
Obviously it included a lot of night driving and I remember a game I played to take out the boredom. It was too daunting for me to think of driving 1000km in one stretch, especially after the intense pressures of final rounds.
What I did was focused simply on how far I could see in my headlights and drive to that point. Once I got there I pick another spot at the end of my headlight range and drove to that point as well.
So I had a series of small drives, which I could handle and time seem to fly past, I had reached my destination safely and quickly it seemed.
Reducing your handicap fast, is a bit like those drives. You have to take it bit by bit, all the while keeping your destination as the end goal. Like any journey, you have to know your starting point and of course your destination.
I start every lesson with what is your ultimate goal?
It amazes me that people don’t think that far ahead. It’s a bit like in the wizard of Oz when Dorothy asked the Cheshire Cat which way she needed to go when she came to the fork in the road.
Dorothy to the Cheshire Cat, “which way shall I go?”
Cheshire Cat – “Well that depends on where you are going!”
Dorothy – “I don’t know!”
Cheshire Cat – “Well, it doesn’t matter which way you go then, does it?”
Golfers are much the same. You have to know where you are going first, before you know which path to take.
Let me give you an example. I had a client come to me and said I am sick of playing woeful (to put it nicely) golf and want to get better. So I asked him how much better he wanted to get?
He said he wanted to be as good as he was in tennis – in golfing terms. Now he played ‘A-grade’ tennis for one of the leading tennis clubs in Germany, had previously been earmarked to play Bundesliga before opting for a career in Engineering.
So you could say he was very talented and competitive. In golfing terms he wanted to be a scratch golfer – but only as an amateur. He had no professional aspirations at all.
So we got started and of course where he was at the time with a 27 handicap, his fundamentals sucked. They suited a 27 marker, but not a scratch marker.
So we got started on working on those basic fundamentals. Obviously there was some resistance to start with but I reminded him that if he wanted to play of scratch, he need good solid foundations to build on.
As I explained to him in his terms, “You wouldn’t build a 20 story hotel on a foundation of sand, would you?” – knowing that was his profession.
Of course not so – let’s keep working on those grip and set-up changes. It is never easy making such drastic changes but it get’s easier when you keep in mind your goal.
Now if he had said that his goal was to just be a social golfer and a 18 handicap would be suffice, then his tennis like grip which created inconsistencies in his swing, effected his power source but felt comfortable would have been ok for that goal.
So before you go out on the range next time, do this little exercise that will help you reduce your handicap fast – if that’s what you want.
The planning method – Now / Where / How
This planning method was passed onto me by my mentor and is a great tool, regardless of the application.
Now – refers to listing all your strengths and weakness. This is a time to be brutally honest with yourself. Even consult a friend that will be honest with you if you find it hard.
Just like at any alcoholics anonymous meeting – the first pre-requisite to overcoming alcoholism is to admit you have a problem.
I strongly recommend the use of statistics to ascertain exactly where you game strengths and weakness lie at the moment. Remember it’s not just your swing or swing mechanics we are addressing here.
If you don’t already use statistics for analyzing your game, then check out my article on ‘Using statistics to improve your handicap’.
Where – refers to where you want to go to. What your end goal is. Remember if you goal is to be a scratch golfer, your path will be drastically different to that of a golfer just wanting to break 90.
How – obviously refers to the action steps required to achieve your goal. If it’s a scratch golfer then you may have to look at revamping your grip to bring it up to a standard of a scratch golfer.
Once you have your action steps mapped out or the HOW, then set out a plan to tackle one step at a time. Don’t try to do it all at once.
This may include a scheduled practice program or proper time management depending once again on your goal.
So once again, if you want to reduce your handicap fast, just like I did, I would suggest taking this step first. This will allow you to work on your golf game as a whole and not just one part of your game.
If you would like to find out more on how to reduce your handicap fast or how Jim can personally help you with your game, then go to;
If you have any questions regarding your planning process, please do not hesitate to contact me or if you have any comments, leave them below and I’ll get back to you a.s.a.p.