Goal setting can be broken into two components - Long range goals and short range or round specific goals
These should be as specific as possible and shared with friends and family to help create some accountability on your part..
Example: 50% of greens in regulation (be realistic though, pros on hit 70% of greens)
Example: Scheduled practices on focused areas of your game
Going into each round you should avoid thinking about a specific number and instead be looking to set smaller easier to achieve goals that will add up to that number
Set percentages of fairways hit, GIR, and up & downs you want to accomplish throughout the round. Focusing on these smaller tasks takes your mind off of the bigger target and lets you achieve on a more consistent basis.
PRO TIP - Don’t be afraid to blackout par on your scorecard with a marker. This will help keep you focused on each shot rather the result of the hole.
The reason I wanted to talk about building rhythm in your golf swing is the fact that rhythm should be the only thing in your head as you're getting ready to make your shot. There are some fairly obvious pros to having a good rhythm like:
A good rhythm will help eliminate tension
A good rhythm builds consistency
A good rhythm will help build confidence
Before we can eliminate tension we need to know exactly how much we have in our swing. For this reason we’re going to do the tension drill. Take your setup position (no ball) and slowly start flexing every muscle in your body. That’s a 10 on the tension scale.
Then go the other direction. Get so loose you can barely stand up. That’s a 0 on the tension scale.
Go back and forth two or three times then try to hit your shot from a 2 or 3 on that tensions scale. You will immediately start to feel more smooth throughout your golf swing. Here's Iain himself with an example:
If you’re nice and loose through your big muscles but are still holding on too tightly to the club try taking (very) small swings with just the last three fingers of your left hand on the club (for righties). This will show you what it should feel like to effortlessly release the club through impact.
Learn to develop your own rhythm by humming while your swing. If you can keep the pitch of the hum consistent throughout (with a little spike at impact) you will find you rhythm in no time!
The last little tip I have is to keep your mouth open while you swing. People tend to bite down when they hit AT the ball rather than smoothly swinging through it. So by keeping your mouth slightly open you can give yourself that extra little edge.
Last week we looked at the four fundamental principals to making your pre shot routine solid and reliable. This week Will Robins, a PGA instructor based in California shares some excellent ideas on how to actually improve your game by changing how you practice
It’s important not to focus on the bad parts of a round. If you doubled 16 and shot 73 your instinct would be to dwell on that one thing that held you back. Well flip the script - If you doubled the first hole but managed to shoot 73 you would be riding a wave of confidence about your comeback. So make sure your analysis is objective.
How to analyze (statistically): Did you give yourself 18 opportunities to score? After that did you give yourself 18 opportunities to get down in two?
Why GIR isn’t always helpful as you think: If the best player in the world can only hit a green in regulation 70% of the time from 180 yards (with a 7 iron and you’re using a hybrid) why are you tracking a stat that you can’t be great at. - You’ve got to track the stats that will help improve your score
How to analyze (mentally): Measure your tipping points. Did you stick to routine & process on a tough up and down? Did you get frustrated with a result and let it cloud your next shot too? This is how you remain objective with your mental analysis.
Who were you being when you made the error:
· Were you fully committed to it? – Well then you just hit a bad shot. Leave it behind and focus on the next one.
· No I wasn’t committed – Well, then why would you be mad? You weren’t committed to it!
Most people play golf with a lot of tension, fear, trying not to miss, and thinking a lot. If you do anything like that you’re not going to be overly successful, so why would golf be any different?
What would happen to a marathon runner who had trained for four years to be in the Olympics then gets a last minute letter saying he’ in the 110 meter high hurdles? They would be a train wreck! That’s essentially what you’re asking your body to do with that type of driving range practice.
Write down on a piece of paper what you’d like to do on the golf course. What’s on your list?
· Commit to your shots?
· Trust your swing?
· Stick with decisions?
Alright, start doing that on the golf course. It’s all about what you practice. Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, and Jason Day have all spent time practicing confidence and commitment. That’s why they don’t get tripped up over these things as much as most amateurs.
There are two types of practice – drills and performance.
· Drills are where you learn the skill and do the repetitive practice.
· Performance practice is testing yourself. Give yourself a target and see how many times out of 10 you can hit it. Write down the result. Tomorrow when you practice again go through your drills again and give yourself that performance test. You should see incremental gains each time.
This is how you build emotional muscle and become a reactional golfer!
The Nutter Game: Play your worst golf ever, but do it on purpose. This is probably one of the most counterintuitive things you’ve ever heard. Just give Will a chance and give it a try though. He explains it best and the explanation starts right at the 26 minute mark.