When you start talking about bigger projects, such as achieving a specific handicap in a certain time, that’s when I get really excited about my work. So, if I can recount this summer’s activity with one player, in particular, I hope it will serve as a lesson in what can be achieved through being focused and determined. The player in question is a fifteen-year-old boy, handicap at the start of the summer was eight on 7 June (eight on the seventh of the sixth). When asked what his dream handicap would be at the end of the summer, he replied four. End of the summer being the last day of his holidays, before school started, Sunday 10
To see whether that was possible we had to investigate a number of areas. Firstly, to see what competitions were available to him over the summer. It looked like there was going to be at least one tournament a week. The second area we had to look at, was whether the player in front of me was going to spend the time working, to allow the process to develop and grow, where good habits could be formed, to then be taken onto the course.
This was initially a bit of a stumbling block. With me becoming acutely aware that a fifteen-year-old boy being asked to separate himself from his mobile, friends and the beach for the merest of minutes is tantamount to crazy talk. My client, to be, answered initially, “eleven hours”. I thought he was answering the question, “How many hours a day are you willing to put aside to make this happen?” Thinking to myself this chap is serious! Surprisingly and disappointingly, he was answering the question, “How many hours a week are you willing to put aside?”
Now I’m not being harsh here, believing that a youngster should be putting all the hours, literally under the sun, practicing to achieve his goals. There needs to be balance - I will always say to a young player that they have three responsibilities; To be a good son/daughter, to be as good at school as you can be and finally to achieve your goals whatever they maybe.
So, when I asked my player, “Do you think that’s enough time to invest in your goal?” he knew that he had plucked a number out of the air, more importantly, he knew that I knew.
The training plan was agreed, one and a half days practice on the short game, every week for twelve weeks. With me coaching the rudiments of the short game, putting, chipping, pitching and bunkers for one hour a week over the summer break. Nothing else, just short game.
What came next was a slow, steady improvement. Through using a golf statistics website which I use for my ‘performance players’ I could see that the scoring average was dropping, the putts per round were falling and the proximity of the chips from within ten yards of the green was getting closer.
More importantly his confidence was growing, even though the front nine scores were improving but the inward nine not so much. I pointed out that there is a progress to improved development; improved behaviour leads to improved performance which leads to improved results. He had taken care of the behaviour through the lessons and an increased dedication to his goal. It was just a matter of time until the breakthrough occurred.
Well, he managed to do it! In the last week of competitions (when it mattered the most) he shot a two under par and a two over par in the last two rounds to get cut to a 4.5 handicap. Four shots down in three months. The level of gratification observing a player achieve his/her goal through hard work, diligent practice alongside a fair smattering of determination is immense.
You may be reading this, thinking that such development can only be done when you are young. I would challenge you to expand your horizons. Come and visit us at the Golf Integrated Academy at Vila Sol – 912 263 555. We are here to help you get the most out of
your game.