Outcome v Process and what practice you do?

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Just seeing the frost on the ground every morning and knowing that realistically there will be no 'serious' golf until March I got to thinking about targets for next season.

I see people making comments about 'my goal is to get to single figures' or 'I'm targeting getting below 15 next season' or even 'I want to pick up at least one trophy at prize giving'.

Not to say that comments like this are wrong or that these people will fail, but I'd just point out that these kind of goals don't really set yourself up with a plan for success.

Flip your goals from being outcome to process focused...
e.g. I'm going to practice my shortgame for 1 hour per week
I'm going to do 30 minutes putting before every round

And within those goals you can get very much into the drills. In terms of measuring success... e.g. 9/10 chips to within 3 feet etc. Or 19/20 putts within a 2 foot circle.

In this scenario you are entirely in charge of your own results. So if you play very well overall, but just happen to get beaten narrowly on all the trophy days... that is arguably a much better season than winning one trophy and being crap the other 10 events you played. And often handicaps can come down to one shot here or there in a round, especially if you can't play in competitions as often as you'd want to.

Interested to hear others that do this - I certainly did far more dedicated practise sessions this year than I've ever done before. I didn't record them as well as I'd have liked and didn't stick to my target of doing them every week - but the outcomes have been good in terms of significant handicap reduction and 2 wins (including my 1st ever strokeplay victory, albeit not on a trophy day).

So a bit more discipline next year with targeting 1 hour per week (from when the clocks change) to work on chipping and putting one week, then approach play the following week, alternating I'd be keen to see the results following. This will be a dedicated session when I maybe go to the golf club, not with the intention of playing a round, but with setting this time aside to practice and record these sessions.
 

inc0gnito

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Since I started golf 2.5 years ago I’ve basically worked on my game by using tips from YouTube. Progress has been slow and whilst there’s been noticeable improvements, the inconsistency has been incredible.

I recently realised that the tips may work but they are no good in isolation.

So I’ve ditched the course this winter and taking a more structured approach to my swing. I’ve broken the swing down into different elements and am working on drills for each. Then bringing them altogether.

I’ll let you know how that goes come spring. But I agree that it’s useless to set an ambiguous target without some kind of route to get there. Hence a more comprehensive approach to improving my swing.
 

Siolag

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I really struggle getting the ball off the tee, have had multiple 3 off the tees and even 5s in most of my competitive rounds. Currently working on my flexibility as the pro says I wont be able to do much without improving that, so for the time being that's what I am doing. I am going to get a lesson again in January then spend an hour a week at the driving range practising with the driver.

When our practice area is finished (currently closed) I plan to spend an hour or so a week on short game, the same on irons and the same on putting, along with the driving range.

Goals for next year are to break 100 and to start moving the handicap down toward the mid to low 20s.
 

Orikoru

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My goal will be to break 80 next year, and I think the way towards that is all short game and getting up and down more. I don't really practise in winter though, the only practise I did this year was on summer evenings round the back 9 of my course, so can't really do that until the clocks go forward at the earliest.
 
Thread starter #5
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Since I started golf 2.5 years ago I’ve basically worked on my game by using tips from YouTube. Progress has been slow and whilst there’s been noticeable improvements, the inconsistency has been incredible.

I recently realised that the tips may work but they are no good in isolation.

So I’ve ditched the course this winter and taking a more structured approach to my swing. I’ve broken the swing down into different elements and am working on drills for each. Then bringing them altogether.

I’ll let you know how that goes come spring. But I agree that it’s useless to set an ambiguous target without some kind of route to get there. Hence a more comprehensive approach to improving my swing.
Having been of a similar mindset to you previously and trying to tinker with various things based on books, youtube, tips from others etc. I can't tell you how valuable a couple of hours of lessons would be.

Could genuinely move you on substantially by picking up on one or two things. Especially if you already spending a bit of time practising regularly.

I know money is money, but I've never had lessons and felt that it's not money well spent. Especially the 1st few hours - will be the best value lessons you could pay for.

I had a bank of lessons one winter and went from 24 handicap to 17 by the start of next season. A real Eureka moment.
 
Thread starter #6
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I really struggle getting the ball off the tee, have had multiple 3 off the tees and even 5s in most of my competitive rounds. Currently working on my flexibility as the pro says I wont be able to do much without improving that, so for the time being that's what I am doing. I am going to get a lesson again in January then spend an hour a week at the driving range practising with the driver.

When our practice area is finished (currently closed) I plan to spend an hour or so a week on short game, the same on irons and the same on putting, along with the driving range.

Goals for next year are to break 100 and to start moving the handicap down toward the mid to low 20s.
That is a lot of practice time. If you spend anything like that doing dedicated practice and your Pro has set you on the right path, then you should see the results next year.
 

Siolag

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That is a lot of practice time. If you spend anything like that doing dedicated practice and your Pro has set you on the right path, then you should see the results next year.
I’m lucky that I have no kids and my fiancé plays too. We’ve agreed to hold each other to account for practice time! Let’s hope so, as I’m really enjoying my golf at the moment.
 

inc0gnito

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Having been of a similar mindset to you previously and trying to tinker with various things based on books, youtube, tips from others etc. I can't tell you how valuable a couple of hours of lessons would be.

Could genuinely move you on substantially by picking up on one or two things. Especially if you already spending a bit of time practising regularly.

I know money is money, but I've never had lessons and felt that it's not money well spent. Especially the 1st few hours - will be the best value lessons you could pay for.

I had a bank of lessons one winter and went from 24 handicap to 17 by the start of next season. A real Eureka moment.
I hear you. I’ve had a few “lessons” and haven’t had any real success with them. I bought a 4 lesson package last year and have only used one! Thing is I know what they will say. The last two guys I saw said the same thing but were pretty rubbish at giving me an effective way to change it. So I figured it out myself and that’s part of what I’m working on.

24 to 17 is awesome after a few lessons. You’ve given me even more encouragement.

There are big areas of my swing where I know I need to work on (ie top of backswing and transition/early extension). So that’s why I wanted to overhaul my swing in the structured way. Then the plan would be using the remaining lessons to make sure it’s all coming together and to identify any problem points.
 

SocketRocket

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Improving your putting is the easiest way for most people to improve scores.
A few years ago I went from being a good putter to a poor one, my confidence in putting had left me and it was ruining my scores.

I decided to rebuild my putting routine and based it on a video I saw from Martin Chuck (designer of the tour striker training club)
I used a metronome app on my phone and putting at a set tempo and only using the length of stroke to change distance. I did an hours practice three times a week for two months and came out of it a very good putter again.
 
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Hobbit

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I only really practice when I have a problem, and only if that problem is a big problem. My favourite practice is putting, which I might do 4 or 5 times a year. I can spend a couple of hours on the putting green. As for range time; I might hit 10-15 balls a few times a year. I'd rather play.
 

duncan mackie

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Having spent most of my 45 years playing the game at around a 10 handicap (first handicap 17) I broke out of this baseline twice - in both cases through hours of structured 'practice and professional guidance.
Playing 4 times a week, with the odd 100 balls here and there, achieves nothing for me (in terms of improvements) other than a little tuning in to the current course conditions.
 
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I practice until I get bored which could be 20 minutes or it could be 4 hours, I enjoy practicing but some days I'm more in the mood to either play or cant really be bothered so those are times I'll only do 20 minutes worth or whatever it may be. An old pro who's now sadly not with us told me not to practice or play if I felt like I had to or I should because of such and such, basically saying practice when you WANT to and what you WANT to. I've stuck by that and its served me pretty well.
The only goal I've ever set is to enjoy my golf because it's not my job so if i dont enjoy it, it's not worth doing, I dont get paid for it.
 

garyinderry

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I've always been on the opinion that you should identify your weakest link and work on that. Once you have that sorted (for the meantime) you then go to your next weakest link.

Short game work for me is never a chore. I can chip and pitch for hours at a time and never get bored.

Putting doesn't excite me but I can mix it with chipping to keep me interested.
 
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I've always been on the opinion that you should identify your weakest link and work on that. Once you have that sorted (for the meantime) you then go to your next weakest link.

Short game work for me is never a chore. I can chip and pitch for hours at a time and never get bored.

Putting doesn't excite me but I can mix it with chipping to keep me interested.
I think this can be a dangerous way of practicing especially if you neglect bits that make you good in the first place. Say you have a very good short game and a so so long game, you start working hard on your long game and your short game suffers a bit, you are now relying on part of your game that's never been your strength to score. Work on your strengths as hard as you work on your bad bits, it gives you confidence knowing you can do something well, yes work on parts that need work but not to the detriment of the parts that dont, your game will suffer if you do this.
 

Orikoru

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I think this can be a dangerous way of practicing especially if you neglect bits that make you good in the first place. Say you have a very good short game and a so so long game, you start working hard on your long game and your short game suffers a bit, you are now relying on part of your game that's never been your strength to score. Work on your strengths as hard as you work on your bad bits, it gives you confidence knowing you can do something well, yes work on parts that need work but not to the detriment of the parts that dont, your game will suffer if you do this.
Just work on everything then? Or is just the best bits and the worst bits and leave the average bits? :D
 

garyinderry

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I see it like a balanced diet. You need to work on all parts but your weak parts need the most attention. Lol
 
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