My golf goals

I’ve been off the golf blog-o-sphere for a while.  My initial thought was to post about what my goals are for the golf season.  And I’ll get to that soon.  But I wondered to myself as I was writing, why do I enjoy golf so much?  I play as often as I can and think about the game all the time when when I’m not playing.  What’s the deal?

I found two reasons I enjoy golf.  First, I enjoy golf because it’s a fun game  I’m outdoors with great friends and meeting new people.  I love hitting sweet shots, everything from bombing a drive to draining a five footer for par.  And I also enjoy learning about golf history,  design, and architecture.  The game just gives me good feels in so many ways.

Second, I golf as a means to accomplish something.  I think most of us have a desire to be successful at something in life.  Some people focus on their jobs and have the goal to build a successful business or become an executive of a company.  Other people have hobbies that involve reaching milestones, like running a marathon in under three hours, or home-brewing a beer that wins a medal at the county fair.  I’ve channeled my energy into golf.  It’s a really hard game, but one that lets me set goals and try to accomplish them.

This provides a perfect segue into what my goals are as a golfer.  I’ve divided my goals into two types:  process goals and achievement goals.  They are exactly what they sound like.  I list the process goals first because they should lead me to my achievement goals.  At least that’s the plan #trusttheprocess.

Process goals

Have fun!:  There’s no point in having a hobby that’s not fun.  Thankfully, having fun is an easy goal for me to reach since I’m already pretty good at it.  But if I’m ever not enjoying myself on the golf course, I need to check myself.

Focus and commit on every shot:  “One shot at a time”–it’s a saying that’s probably almost as old as the game of golf itself.  I play my best when I tell myself, focus and commit on every shot, and only get mad if you don’t focus and commit.  The problem is it’s hard to do all of the time!  Without noticing, my mind will wander to thinking about later holes and wondering what score I’ll finish with.  That’s not good.  The more I can stick with the one-shot-at-a-time mindset, the better off I will be.

Practice with a purpose:  I’m guilty of mindlessly hitting balls on the range for an hour or putting on the practice green without thinking about what I’m doing.  I’ll basically wait to hit a few bad shots, then think I need to do something different to fix the bad shots.  It’s not a good habit.  I can avoid it by approaching every practice session with a purpose.  Am I working on anything specific with my swing or putting stroke?  If so, then I need to focus on that and not get frustrated if I hit the ball poorly.  Changes take time to implement.  If I’m not working on anything specific, I can still practice with the purpose of staying sharp.  Practicing is a way to keep my golf muscles in tune, and to do as much (or as little) as necessary to give myself confidence for my next round.

Achievement goals

Get to scratch:  Getting to scratch is my white whale.  I’d engrave my tombstone with “Scratch Golfer” if I get there.  I know getting to scratch isn’t easy, but I truly believe I can do it.  I’m already pretty good, I hover around a four index.  It feels like if I can get just a little more consistency, I will get there.

Break par:  I’ve never broken par for 18 holes of golf.  It’s another arbitrary milestone that I’d love to reach.

Win:  Whether it’s club tournaments, local amateur events, or a five dollar Nassau, I want to win!  Winning feels good.  Will I always win?  No way.  But it’s too hard to set goals like “finish top-5 in three out of every four net events” or something like that.  So I’ve decided to simply focus on winning, while recognizing that I can still have fun and play great even if I end up on the losing side of a match.

Why do you enjoy golf?  What are your goals?  Feel free to leave a comment and let me know!

-AB

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