The game of golf in the year of 2014 was exciting. Rory McIlroy became an even bigger superstar. Tiger Woods battled injuries. Rickie Fowler shined in the majors. Patrick Reed made a stir as the USA lost another Ryder Cup, and President Barack Obama made news by playing a lot of golf.
How was your 2014 golf year? Did you meet your goals? Did you have golf goals?
I challenge all golfers who want to get better in 2015 to set golf goals. A useful way of making goals more powerful is to use the SMART mnemonic. While there are plenty of variants, SMART usually stands for:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Time-bound
I amsure many of you in the business world have studied this goal-setting method. This year, I had a wonderful example of goal setting by a student. A student came to me for a lesson, and the first words out of his mouth were, “I want to become a 10-handicap by the end of this year.” This one sentence goal he gave me in September covered everything in the SMART mnemonic. That is a specific goal, and it is measurable. It is attainable because he was a 14-handicap who just retired and had more time to practice. Most importantly, he was willing to put in the time to get better. He always wanted to be a better golfer, but work got in the way. Achieving the goal would be rewarding because he had never had a handicap that low. Also, there was definitive time frame on the goal.
In route to these goals, we had smaller goals in each lesson that would help him reach the ultimate goal. We worked on parts of his game that he and I felt were holding him back from accomplishing his goal, like becoming better from 40 to 80 yards. While working on the smaller goals, we never lost sight of the ultimate goal. This student accomplished his goal before December arrived. Mission accomplished. He has already told me he wants to set another goal for 2015.
This is a prime example of my students teaching me more than I could ever teach them. In the last four to five years, I have felt very successful helpinggolfers get better in many facets of their game. I have studied the golf swing on a daily basis, and believe I have the ability to make the corrections that fit each student. I also believe I have helped golfers enjoy the game of golf, but sometimes I question whether I am making a vast majority of them better. Many times they feel better about their game. They have improved their ball flight. They are making solid contact with all their clubs, but the scores do not show the improvement I see on the lesson tee. The missing link is having a goal. Goals give us a purpose when working on our game.
This year, my goal as a golf instructor is to have all my students set a goal that is specific, measurable, attainable,relevant and time-bound, and more importantly, my goal is to help them all reach their goal.
What is your golf goal in 2015? If you have not thought about setting a golf goal before, now is the time to do so. Go see your local PGA Professional, set a goal, and never let them or yourself lose site of the goal when working on your golf game. Happy New Year!
Todd Elliott is the PGA Head Golf Professional for Hideaway Beach. Todd is TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) Certified as a golf professional. This gives him the ability to give golf specific physical screening to detect any physical limitation that might affect the golf swing. Todd is also a Coutour-certified putting fitter, a Titlteist-certified fitter and a Titliest staff member. Follow Todd on Twitter @elliottgolfpro or for any question or comments email firstname.lastname@example.org.