“All Your Dreams, Dashed”
Virtually every golfer I know starts each season full of hope. “This is going to be the year that I break 100/90/80” or “This is going to be the year I beat Joe in our weekly match.”
And while some golfers fulfill their dreams, most don’t. Most are the same golfer this year as they were last year. If you’d like to stop being that same golfer, let’s take a look at why you aren’t getting better at golf.
This Lesson Is For You If:
You’re not getting better at golf
Reason #1: Not Practicing
The most common culprit for not getting better is the most obvious: not putting the work in. No one sits on the couch and expects to get six pack abs, right? So how can you expect to drain more putts, hit more greens, or smash more drives if you’re not practicing?
Practicing doesn’t need to be a major investment of time or money. There are lots of ways to make improvements without leaving your house. Pick one and do it.
Reason #2: No Plan
When you do practice – whether at home or at the course – do you have a plan? And, let me be clear: “I hit my driver badly yesterday, so I’ll hit some drives on the range today” isn’t a plan.
If you want to see real improvement, figure out what parts of your game need attention. Then, decide how you’re going to improve them. Pick some drills or games to do, and stick with them. Take a lesson and spend time doing what the coach suggests. Test and re-test your skills to see if your plan is working.
Reason #3: A Bad Plan
In some cases, a bad plan can be worse than no plan at all.
The first kind of bad plan is getting your golf instruction from a rotating cast of YouTubers and Instagrammers. I’m not opposed to getting your golf instruction from the internet, but, if you’re going to go that route, stick with one reputable source. And, if you’re really trying to change something in your swing, get an in-person lesson from a good teacher. There is no substitute for personalized advice. It will save you countless hours and tremendous frustration.
The second kind of bad plan is the one that’s focused on the wrong thing. Align your plan with the thing you care about. If you want to score better now, focus on short game and putting. If you want to hit better shots, work on your swing. Just don’t be the guy who spends all his time bashing driver and complaining that his scores never go down.
Reason #4: Changing Plans
How many times have you heard a golfer say, “Yeah, I tried ____, but it didn’t work…”? Unless you’re new to the game, I imagine the answer is in the dozens. Golfers love trying something new only to discard it the minute it “doesn’t work.”
If you want to see long term improvement, you need to commit to your plan. Give the change a chance.
The question of, “How long do I wait?” has no simple answer other than, “Longer than you think.” I can’t tell you that the third lesson will be magic after the first two went badly. No one knows if it’s the fifth or sixth month of solid practice that will yield results. Golf is hard. What I do know is that if you’re constantly changing horses midstream, you’re likely to drown in frustration.
I hope this is the year that all of you see your scores drop. I hope that this is the year that your tee shots fly straight and far. And if you take the simple advice of creating a good plan and sticking to it, I think it will be.