My golf improvement programme is starting to produce results. I’m playing better golf and more regularly finishing with lower scores.
First things first. In order to improve I had to plan to improve.
When setting a plan there are four basic steps, (basic not necessarily simple!)
1. Assess honestly where you are now.
2. Create a clear vision of where you want to be and by when.
3. Create a step by step plan to achieve your vision.
4. Take Action!
With my golf, I have a handicap of 20! I don’t often play to it and if I am honest my golf handicap should be between 24 – 26. I tend to shoot around 97 – 99.
My vision is to reduce my handicap to 15 by the end of September 2011 and to achieve this I have created an improvement programme in conjunction with my golf Pro.
We live in a world of ‘instant’. Everybody wants things now. They want to know all the short cuts that produce instant time-saving results. I’m no different, but I have come to realise that instant ‘fixes’ are only temporary and that there is no alternative to hard work and practice.
The first part of the programme was to improve my putting. I was regularly recording around 41 putts per round which means that on at least 5 holes I was recording 3 putts. If I could regularly eliminate the 3 putt holes I would immediately reduce my handicap by 5 shots. End of story, plan achieved!
Not quite. My honest assessment shows that my handicap should be 24 – 26 so reducing my putts per round would still only bring my handicap down to 19 – 21.
So this is only the first step.
The second part of my plan is to chart my way around the course based on my level of ability, not based on the ability of the person with whom I am playing.
I am not interested in getting on the green in regulation, but getting on the green in one over regulation. So on a par 4 for example, I want to be on the green in 3 leaving myself the opportunity of putting for par or for a bogey at worst. Regular bogey golf on every hole would mean that I’m playing to an 18 handicap. (Small steps produce results!)
I still regularly use my driver off the tee but my aim is to keep my tee shot in play. I’m not overly concerned about distance – I’m too old and not as physically flexible as I used to be to think about producing 250 yard plus drives.
For my second shot to a par 4, (second and third shots to a par 5) I want to leave it around 80 – 120 yards from the green so that I have a simple third shot onto the green.
In order to achieve this, I now regularly use an iron for my second shot and have discovered that I can hit a 4 or 5 iron fairly straight and long enough to leave myself the desired distance to the green.
The next part of my plan is to improve my distance control on the 3rd shot, (4th on a par 5) so that I leave myself with a 4′ to 6′ putt for par.
I started this blog by stating that my improvement programme is starting to produce results. Since I have been practising my putting, my average putts per round has consistently been between 30 – 36 putts per round. As a result of the practice I have put in, I am confident over the putt.
Over the last 2 rounds I have record 32 and 34 putts per round and adding in my other strategies I have scored rounds of 91 and 89 on our par 73 course. Small steps can lead to great things.