When you are on the golf course, you are trying to get the ball around the course in the fewest shots possible.
This can change slightly depending on what type of tournament you are playing and if you are playing alone or with a partner.
However, is having this one goal the best thing to do when trying to improve your golf and achieve lower scores?
You may have heard about other golfers setting smaller, specific goals and wondered why you should bother following suit. Well, giving yourself smaller goals helps to focus your game and prioritise what you are trying to do when on the golf course or practice range.
Setting both long and short terms goals will allow you to record your progress as a golfer. It is great to see your score come down but eventually your score will plateau and start hovering between the same scores every time you play.
This is when setting smaller goals helps and gives you something to measure your game, other than your final score.
A goal could be something as simple as improving the number of putts you make from between 10 and 20 feet. By practicing your putting and measuring these statistics each time you play, you will see an improvement over time. It may make only a small difference on your final score but you have still made an improvement to your game.
Now imagine if you did this with several other aspects of your golf game and combined these improvements into one round of golf? You are sure to see great strides in your final score.
Setting goals is also a good way to keep motivated. If you have reached a plateau with your scoring, you may feel as though your game is becoming stagnated. This often leads to a lack of motivation and less time practicing and playing golf.
However, when setting goals, you need to make sure they are attainable. For example, if you are regularly making three putts when on the green, there is no point in setting yourself a goal to start making birdies on every hole. This will only lead to frustration.
Instead, try setting a goal which you know you can achieve if you put in the effort. Make a note of how many three putts you make on your next round. Set a target to make less by a specified time and before then keep practicing your putting. You will feel a real sense of achievement if you make less three putts on your next round.
Setting goals can increase both your sense of urgency and confidence. Knowing you have a specific target to reach means you are more likely to practice whenever you can and this will leave you feeling confident in playing well next time you are on the course.
You may not achieve the goals you have set first time but that gives you a great chance to analyse your game. What went wrong? Did you put in enough practice? Were you using the best drills when practicing?
Not reaching your goal first time is not a failure, it gives you the chance to re-evaluate and examine your game further, which is a good thing.