Get Better or Get Worse
When I was in high school, I had a basketball coach who regularly reminded us that “you never stay the same. You get better or worse every day.” Sadly, for much of the country, the winter is spent getting worse every day because the weather prevents us from playing golf. This leads to the familiar routine of wasting the first weeks of spring “shaking off the rust” or “trying to find your swing.”
This winter, instead of getting worse, why not make a plan to get better?
This Lesson Is For You If:
You can’t play golf 12 months a year
You want to play better next year
Choose a Goal
If you want to get better this off-season, you need to start with a specific goal. It could be based on a weakness in your game or, more practically, on the things you can work on in the off-season (i.e. if you don’t have a way to hit balls in the winter, fixing your swing isn’t a good goal).
Here are four potential off-season goals:
“I want to get my body in better shape for golf.”
“I want to improve my putting.”
“I want to get my bag in better shape/get my clubs fit.”
“I want to fix my swing.”
Please understand that these aren’t fully-formed goals – they’re too vague – but they can be a starting point for you to make your own. You may need some professional help to make these goals more specific, particularly when it comes to fitness.
My winter goals are two-fold: improve my putting and my body. With putting, my goal is to ingrain my Tour Tempo and hit my starting line more consistently. With the help of a TPI-trained specialist, I’m working to improve the flexibility of my right hip and strengthen the chain connecting my left shoulder to my right foot.
Build a Plan
Without a plan, a goal is just a dream. To make sure that you see improvements next season, you need a plan that includes small, realistic steps that you can take every day.
My off-season plan takes only ten minutes a day which makes it very realistic and hard to skip. I hit ten putts every day using Tour Tempo and the Putting Fork, and I do four minutes of corrective exercises prescribed by my trainer. Some days I do more, but these goals force me to do a little something every day.
Whether it’s a reminder on your phone, a poster in your office, or the scorecard from the shellacking your buddy gave you, you need motivation to stick to your plan and get better every day.
Make your practice routine as easy to do as possible. If you can leave your training aids set up, so much the better. Also, try to do your practice at the same time every day. Block out those 5-10 minutes for yourself and stick to the plan. When the snow melts, you’ll be happy you did.