>I started this golf season back in March, as soon as I was cleared to start swinging after my back surgery. I wanted to take the game more seriously, because I know it’s a lot more enjoyable when you play it well. I had a few goals in mind, some of which were general in nature, and some of which were quite specific.
With the exception of a period in which I was travelling a lot and work was getting in the way I’ve been able to practice just about every other day, alternating putting, short game, and buckets.
The graph came out of Golf Digest, and I think Mashie submitted it to the site several months ago. I found it very interesting to compare my goals to how different handicap levels perform in the various categories.
Since it’s now been six months, I thought it might be time to take a look at these goals and see where I’m at:
“HIT THE FAIRWAY MORE OFTEN THAN NOT”
There’s just something beautiful about a well hit drive bounding down the fairway. Most of the time I’m happy just to know where my ball IS after I hit it. I bought a new driver in the spring and I have been spending a lot of time working on it. In some of my recent rounds I’ve hit 9/14 and 10/14 fairways, so I feel like this is coming around.
By the way, I count the first cut of rough as fairway. On some of the courses I play you’ll get a better lie from there than the fairway anyway.
“HIT THE GREEN MORE OFTEN THAN NOT (WHEN HAVING A CLEAR SHOT FROM 150 IN, OR FROM A TEE BOX)”
My short irons have always been my strong suite, and they still are. I hit my 8-iron from about 155, and I’ve been striking the ball very well in this range and in. On a recent round I hit 10 out of 15 in this category. Two of the misses were only a few yards off the green, and two misses were good shots with the wrong club, so I really only had one poor shot out of 15 opportunities.
On a recent visit to TopGolf I hit 18 out of 20 greens in a range from 50 yards to 160 yards.
“GET UP AND DOWN MORE OFTEN THAN NOT (FROM A REASONABLE LIE CLOSE TO THE GREEN)”
As I look at the chart above it’s clear that this goal is quite advanced, and it has also turned out to be my biggest challenge. I’m getting better, and I think I will continue getting better as my putting improves, but I still have a long ways to go.
“NO MORE THAN TWO THREE-PUTTS PER 18 HOLES, AND NO MORE THAN 36 PUTTS OVERALL”
Another weak area, mostly due to my poor long putting. I think I’ve made some breakthroughs, and look forward to trying them on the course again. In my last round I had two three-putts and 32 overall, which was by far my best putting all year. Before this round my lowest putt-count was 37, and I had never had less than four three-putts.
“SCORE BETTER THAN BOGEY GOLF ON AVERAGE”
My last four rounds have all been just a few strokes above bogey golf, on different courses. I’m quite consistent, and I think I’m very close to meeting this goal. I think a lot of my challenges here are mental, as I start thinking about my score with several holes to go, and I’ve had several instances of poor play towards the end.
I did not have a specific handicap goal, because I didn’t know how the calculations worked here in the States. Right now my TGS handicap is about 20, and in my buddy’s handicap engine I’m a 15. I’ve set myself a goal to be a single-digit handicap player by the end of next season.
I’m just having a blast getting better. Playing golf under any circumstances is wonderful, but when you’re hitting it well it’s quite divine. I love going to the range, whether it’s hitting drives or putting or pitching, and that will definitely help me stick with it.