Goals help people to achieve their objectives because they provide information about what to do and when to do it.
In other words, goals are like a set of directions to help you get to where you wish to go. Setting goals, however, is only part of the process. Achieving goals and recognising your success is important to maintain your motivation.
Learn the Skill
1 Goal setting is best done on paper. Writing down our goals and revisiting them time and time again keeps us on track to reach our destination. The first practical step is go get a notebook to write down your goals. The best goals are those that are specific, measurable and timetabled. Here’s an example: I wish to hit fifty percent of my drives on to the fairway when I play in competition. I believe I can achieve this goal in 12 weeks. I am currently at 40% of fairways hit in my recorded statistics.
2 Once this goal is written down, you now need stepping stones to achieve that goal. For example, you might practice at the range two evenings per week – 25 balls at a time. You coach might also be guiding you on the right technique to achieve your goal so you can build that guidance into your shots.
3 You will need to record your progress on the practice range so your notebook will be helpful in this regard. You can record where your shots landed and estimate how they represented a fairway on the golf course.
Practise the Skill
1 The more you practise setting goals the better you become at setting goals and noting progress along the way. For this reason, I encourage you to bring your notebook to the range like so many great golfers did before you. Ben Hogan always relied on this notebook to guide him in practice sessions.
2 Take 25 balls and place them in sets of five. Each set of five golf balls gives you a chance to practice driving and your goal setting. With each batch of five balls, you are practising your pre-shot routine and executing the shot to the best of your ability. Remember, that your goal is to hit 50% of fairways. This means that for every ball that hits the fairway, another ball will miss the fairway. Strange as it may seem, this percentage of fairways hit is a fine achievement.
3 We work in batches of five balls to present a natural break between batches and to help you establish a health mind set on the practice range.
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Play with the Skill
1 Setting goals for competition is immensely helpful to golfers. In fact, we encourage golfers to ask themselves: What’s my goal here? before they execute any shot. This question helps the golfer pay attention to the present and concentrate on the task at hand.
2 All golf shots begin with a question – what’s my goal here? We encourage golfers to take out their scorecard and course outline to establish the correct distance for shots. Around the green, we also ask golfers to ask themselves the question: What’s my goal here? With a possible answer like: I plan to land the ball on this spot and allow the ball to run out to the hole. In this way, the golfer is always setting goals.
3 Some golfers like to place a reminder on their glove or scorecard. For example, one golfer used to write the letter ‘Q’ on his glove and golf ball to remind him always that questions allow goals to emerge. And these goals kept him focused on what he wished to achieve rather than what he wished to avoid.
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Ben Craggs teaches at Laurel Oak Country Club, Sarasota’s premier private country club. You can follow Ben on Twitter @bencraggsgolf