How to Follow a Successful Golfing Plan

Plackard for LocksToday was an awesome day for touring the countryside. The weather was fantastic, the company equally great and it was time to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. During one of our stops, we watched a boat work its way methodically through the locks – one step at a time.

We were fortunate enough to arrive at the Lock 13 at the exact time when a boat was being worked through. What caught my attention was that before starting the next step of four, the previous step had to be completely finished. There were no cutting corners, no jumping to the end; just a methodical process to safely move a boat down 25 feet from one section of the Trent-Severn Waterway to another.

This gravity fed process is very ingenious and is very applicable to golf. The lock system started with an idea, planning, execution and now maintenance to keep operating effectively and efficiently. How to Follow a Success Golfing Plan has the exact same four steps.

Idea – The idea step is sometimes the hardest. As with the lock system, something simple, focused, and duplicate-able is important. If you need to change something or create a whole new skill, start with the basics. There are many great ideas out there and some research will be required. The most important part of this step is to decide what to change; the to actually make  the change.  Now you are ready for step two.

Planning – This is better known as the how-to step. This is when you come up the plan on specifically what you are going to change. I want to emphasize that keeping it simple is critical to success. Start with one or two areas and plan the drills, tips or approaches you are going to use. Once completed, on to step three.

Execution – This step is as important as the first two. It is time to put your plan into action. Choosing how, when, where, and what is critical.  Should you play more than practice? Should you track your success? Regardless, taking action is the way to go. Execute your plan until you have achieved your goals and once satisfied it is time to move to step four.

Maintenance – this is often the most overlooked step to how to follow a successful golf plan. Maintenance generally looks like your execution step, but on a smaller scale. Your successes achieved during the execution step need to be fostered.  It is important to keep building on the aspects you have fixed and not to revert to old habits at the first sign of trouble.

The actual time it takes to break old habits and create new ones is unknown. “But there are some steps you can take to increase your chances of success in the endeavour, including:

  • Take small steps. Don’t try to do everything at once.
  • Only try to change one habit at a time.
  • Write down the habit you want to change, and write down specific plans for achieving that goal.
  • Repeat the behaviour you’re aiming for as often as you can. The more a behaviour is repeated, the more likely it is that it will become “instinctive.””(How Stuff Works)

Sound familiar? How to Follow a Successful Golfing Plan is really nothing new, but the process can be difficult. If have the desire to make the change, then following the above process may just be what you are looking for!

If the desire is big enough, anything is possible!

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!


14 thoughts on “How to Follow a Successful Golfing Plan

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  8. Jim, I’m playing catch up with your output….and I like the link to your “Golf Mindset” post. You have a plan and a process, plus measurement (score, progress, fitness goals, etc). I commend you on maintaining your plan. It’s not easy, I know.

    Can’t wait for the US Open to start. I like your Countdown Clock up there in the right corner!


      • A name not familiar to many will be on the leaderboard on Thursday. Phil will challenge, but not get to the top. Jordan Speith will make a run and Bubba will make it fun. Past champions will be a factor. But I say the steadiest, if not flashy player out on the PGA Tour will win come Father’s Day: Jimmy Walker

        I hope Rory plays well, too.

        I say…..


      • Whoever takes home the hardware, it’s going to be fun to watch. Can’t wait to see what Pinehurst looks like.


  9. Jim, are you sure you don’t work in software development, LOL! Seriously, great topic for discussion. I think the key here is iterating between the four stages as quickly as you can and trying to stay focused and fresh once you get into maintenance mode. Personally, as soon as I start feeling good about my game, I fall into a routine (maintenance) and struggle to retain focus. As soon as you uncover the secret, let us know! Thanks, Brian


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