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Thursday, August 02, 2007

My Latest Golfing Goal

We all need to have goals. The more specific they are, the more likely they become achievable. And when you tell other people about them, you're even more likely to follow through.

I've been talking for years about "trying to get my handicap down". However, I've been stuck in the 11-14 range, and I can't seem to play well consistently enough to play off single digits. I've pinpointed several factors that are preventing me from going lower more often.

1) I don't practice enough.
2) I haven't had a lesson in twenty years.
3) I have two to four big numbers every round.
4) I'm confident on the tee about 50% of the time.
5) My goal for improving has not been specific enough.

The first two factors are easy to solve. I will get some lessons and practice more. The third factor should take care of itself if I do the first two. The fourth factor is mental, and I can work on that. Confidence will come after playing better more often.

So, although there is lots of work involved in solving the first four, they are doable. The fifth one is the easiest, and I'm going to solve it right now. I have a new goal to play in a sectional qualifier for the 2008 U.S. Amateur Public Links in June of next year. One must have a maximum handicap of 8.4 to play in a qualifier. There, I said it. I'm going below an 8.4 in the next ten months. It's out there for everyone to see. That's the first step to making it happen.

I figure I need to get my current stroke average (about 91.8) down to about 85, which is about 1/3 of a stroke per hole. Reducing the frequency of sevens, eights (and even nines) will naturally lower my stroke average, and other improvements should assist the process. Put in those terms, there's no reason I can't make it happen.

Networked Golfer readers: Is this goal realistic? Do you have any advice for getting it done? Any words of wisdom in the comments section would be appreciated.


Blogger Patrick said...

My advice : Swing harder so you have more wedges into the green. It doesn't matter where the tee shot lands, just so long as it lands long. Good luck! Why not give "power golf" a try?

12:06 PM  
Blogger John Gorman said...

That's sound advice when you're built like a gorilla. My drives have been going longer on average lately, but I don't want to start swinging out of my shoes. My mid to long iron game should take care of the shortish drives. Why don't you try to play in the Publinx with me?

12:23 PM  
Blogger stricherz2 said...

I think your goal is unrealistic. As someone who has known you for almost a decade, I doubt your character. You're like a player on that St. Bonaventure's team a few years ago that cancelled its season: When the going gets tough, you quit. You don't stay and fight; you quit.

In all seriousness, your goal is realistic. My advice is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your game -- driving, chipping, and putting. Can you improve your strengths and/or your weaknesses?

9:10 AM  
Blogger John Gorman said...

I definitely have a long way to go, but you're right- if I can sharpen my driving and get my putter back in gear, I'll lop four shots off my score.

After that, it's really about not thinking too much when I don't need to and making good decisions when I have to make them. Thanks for your encouragement.

2:33 PM  

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