Each year I take the time to analyze my previous season. It is important to see my highlights as well as my challenges in order to improve in the next year. I find that through introspection, I am able to create my off-season training plan and to prepare for the next years games.
Sometimes it is a challenging process that bruises my ego, however it is, nonetheless, important to my golf game of the future. Introspection helps me cut between the wheat and the chaff and focus on what really needs to be changed in my game.
2016 was a turbulent golf season. It was a year of change and it tested my ability to remain flexible and resilient. Of course, my career change of transitioning from full-time to part-time work, combined with a move to North Bay added to my dilemmas this year, but cannot be an excuse for anything.
The first third of the season set me up for success. I practiced twice a week and played at least three times. I felt my game was quickly improving and the highlight of this time was focused practice. I used different chipping techniques in order to maximize my plan to improve my play within 50 yards of the green. Of course, I would tried to hit the green, but this strategy was for long par 4s and par 5s.
I thought that by hitting a 35 yard chip, I would have a better chance of getting up and down for birdie or par. It actually worked out well and I think that if I was able to continue the consistent practice, it would have paid even more benefits.
Additionally, the constant practice improved my putting substantially; and as a result, my confidence on the greens grew exponentially. I felt that I had the chance to make every putt, no matter where it was on the green. I seldom three putted and because of my solid putting, I kept scoring consistently in the 70s. This practice set my game up for the rest of the season.
The middle of the season was more challenging. I played inconsistently and practiced even less. This portion of the season I consider my learning time. I realized that to shoot low scores I need to focus on my strengths and work on my challenges. During this period, my mental preparation was very poor. I had life issues that were more important and as a result, my golf game waned. Actually, I eagerly accepted the distraction and never looked back.
The most valuable lesson I learned during this period was the importance of swing mechanics. I realized that grooving my swing early in the season will help be sustain the low points of my game. Each year, I experience low points (as we all do) and having a strong and grooved swing helps me play through when things just don’t go well. Additionally, I believe, after the sage advice of my friend Brian, it will help improve my greens in regulation percentage.
The latter third of my 2016 season was about having fun. I decided to just play golf and focus on the positive aspects of my game. Surprisingly, I shot very well during at my new course. I think my success was based on my new perspective. I was less focused on low scores and more about enjoying my time on the links. It helped to be re-acquainted with my friends Blair and Geary, because their passion for golf was contagious.
Looking back at the last part of my golf season, it remember me to always have fun. It is important that I keep in mind that golf is supposed to be fun. It is a game and I need keep that in the back of my mind if I am not having fun…that what is the point!
So there we have it. This year, I realized that I must continue to practice my short game to build confidence. Focus on my swing mechanics early to keep consistent throughout the entire year and to always have fun while playing.
As I work towards and awesome 2017 season, using the above three points as my foundation, only good things can happen! Next, I need to develop my off-season training plan! So stay tuned!
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!