Pretty sure everyone has seen PGA TOUR Player of the Year (2016-17) Justin Thomas’s 2016-17 Goals and that he nearly hit every one of them, but just in case:
Impressive. But this should be a lesson for every golfer. Everyone wants to get better, but if you want to achieve a meaningful improvement, you need identify what you need to do to accomplish that and how to achieve it.
Step 1: – The “What”
Fortunately, stat tracking systems like Arccos 360, Shot Scope, Game Golf, and even 18Birdies can help golfers identify their weaknesses, whether you’re looking at the simpler stats (e.g., handicap, average round score, fairways hit, greens in regulation, average putts per hole) or the more complex (e.g., driving accuracy, average approach shot distance and accuracy, driving/approach/chipping/sand/putting handicaps). Naturally, the more advanced stats are going to show you where the “low-hanging fruit” is, whether that’s distance, accuracy, or some combination thereof.
So after taking some time to comb through my Arccos 360 stats, here are my 2018 goals:
- Break 80
- Reduce Handicap by 2 Strokes
- Less than 30 Putts in a Round
- Average 60%+ Fairways
- Average 40%+ Greens In Regulation
- Average 30%+ Up & Down
- Average Approach Shots within 50 ft of the Hole
- Average Chip Shots within 25 ft of the Hole
- Increase Average Distance and Accuracy
While some of these are very achievable with some routine work, some of these are much more aggressive. But these are 2018 goals, not my 2018 “to-do” list.
Step 2: – The “How”
So now that you’ve identified what you want to accomplish, you need to identify how you’re going to accomplish those goals.
So if we look at my goals, to achieve less than 30 putts a round, I know I will need to work on dialing in my speed control, so I’m planning on picking up a putter about 3 times a week for about 20 minutes. In addition, I’m also looking into AimPoint Express to make sure I am reading greens correctly. As for my short game goals (Up & Downs and Chip Shots within 25 ft), I’m going to need to spend 2-3 days a week hitting balls to help dial in my trajectory and distance. This will become really important in those last few weeks before the 2018 season kicks off and then maintaining my touch during the season. As for my approach and greens in regulation goals, I know that a) I need to develop a “go-to”, fail safe shot and b) start working on my control over shot shape and trajectory. This will help keep my score down when attacking a longer Par 3 (when I need a 200+ yard iron shot to hop and stop) and dogleg Par 4 or 5.
Step 3: – Getting from Point A to B
Perhaps the most important part of this is remaining committed to the plan. Go a couple weeks without picking up a club or rolling some putts and you can really lose your touch. Consistency and dedication are even more important when you’re trying to engrain a new skill (e.g., curing that over-the-top swing, moving your swing path more in-to-out, or using more of your legs and less of your arms) or improve your physical fitness. With respect to physical fitness, I’m going to write a future post about my off-season workout “plan” and discuss how I’m going to work in overspeed training, periodization, and certain exercises that golfers should target and avoid.
So what are your 2018 goals? It’s never too early to identify where you can improve and score better next year. And unlike your New Year’s Resolutions, these are goals you’ll actually want to keep.