It’s Time For Midterms

By Jim McNaney

June 21st, the Summer Solstice, has come and gone marking the midway point in the golf season. By now you should have been working your plan with both practice and playing. At this point you should have already started to see some improvements and areas that need more work. Many, most likely, have also made some adjustments to their training regimen allowing for more growth after a possible plateau. So now what? Time to put it to the test.

Mind you…this is not the final exam but merely a mid-term as it were. This is the time in your training where self-assessment needs to take place. Without this part of the process, you may find at the end of the year you either will not reach your goal (by then it’s too late) or possibly, you exceeded your goal too easily. If the later, you would have missed an opportunity for huge growth.

I suggest a three-part test (think of it like essay questions, true or false and multiple choice).

First, put your new skill to the test on the range. Don’t just hit balls and/or work on form, but rather play games with yourself. If, for instance, you were trying to change your ball flight from a fade to a draw, set up 10 balls and see how many draws you can effectively accomplish. Grade yourself just like in school; 70% is a C, 80% is a B and 90% or above is an A. Try to avoid making changes to your technique. Act as if you are on the course and just reset yourself for each shot. There are tons of games you can play to test yourself, but make sure you put a limit on your chances. This is only 1/3 of your grade so don’t worry if you’re not at an A yet.

Second, take yourself to the short game area or practice green and test your short game. Wait…you DID include short game in your improvement plan didn’t you? Let’s assume you all did include some sort of short game improvement. Put this new skill to the test as you did on the range. All short game improvement should have some element of getting the ball in the hole in fewer strokes. That is, after all, the objective of the game. As before, grade yourself. Set up 10 shots either starting off the green or on and see how many times you can get the ball in the hole in two shots or less. Note…if you start off the green, grade yourself on a curve. Maybe set the bar as 55 to 65% is a C, 66-80% is a B and 81-100% is an A. If you are starting on the green, go back to the same percentages as on the range.
Two-thirds in the books…how are you feeling? If you feel fairly confident, get to the course within a few days and test yourself there. If not, give yourself a week or two to “study” a bit more.

Either way…time to take it to the course for real. I recommend 9 holes, by yourself if possible, and really try to execute your new skill. Don’t set out with a number in your mind, just play each shot as it comes and remember that one bad swing or bad hole will NOT ruin your round! The grade you give yourself is purely based on your personal past performance.

Finally, add up the three grades and see where you fall. If you are an A+…congratulate yourself…then set the bar higher! If your GPA is not where you want it, see which part of the three areas you struggled the most at and use that as a gauge for your practice for the rest of the season. Remember…it’s a Mid-Term not the final. You can still get your grade up.

If you are still having issues, or you need some help setting the bar higher, see your local GolfTEC Certified Personal Coach or PGA Professional.

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