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Help with Goal Setting

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Hi all,

Brand new here and to golf, and wanted to ask you about helping me set a reasonable goal for myself. I've just started golfing three weeks ago and so far my best score is a +40 94 at my local par 3. (I've only played par 3s so far). My question for you is what would a reasonable goal be for the end of the season? I'm taking lessons and have gotten a membership at a local driving range so I can hit balls, putt, and chip whenever I'd like. So far I've been practicing 2-3 times a week and playing 18-27 holes a week. I just got my first lesson last week so that was a massive improvement over my game before. 

Just wanting to set an achievable goal for the year so I have something specific to work toward.

Thanks!

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Honestly, I wouldn't set a goal for the "end of the year", but just set goals.  Try to get to +30, get a Birdie on a hole, get two pars in a row, stuff like that rather than setting a scoring goal like that.  For me, it's easier to check off one of my other goals from the list and update it to my new skill level (or luck level).  Go from one birdie in a round to two, three pars in a row, etc. after you hit one of them.  

Personally, I feel the scoring "goals" are some of the long time hardest ones to hit as to get lower and lower it gets harder and harder.  The other ones can be done without scoring particularly well, but end up affecting your scores.  The "No 6s Challenge" around here is one I'm still trying to work on, but that's a good one in a similar vein and you can work on that even now with the par 3 course (going down to no 5s eventually)

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1 hour ago, riendew said:

My question for you is what would a reasonable goal be for the end of the season?

Instead of focusing on scoring as a goal, break it down to different aspects.

You want to work on things that cost you the most strokes. I would work on improving your golf swing first. You can start a My Swing thread on the forum.

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As a new golfer, I would be hesitant to set a first year goal on scoring. Just too many things a golfer should work on to develope their game. As a golfer's game developes, that development will take care of the scores. Scores are just a by product of how a golfer plays. 

Getting the most out of your lessons would be a goal to consider. 

Learning what you can, and can't do as far as golf shots would be goal. By that, I mean not trying to hit shots, when playing, you don't know how to hit. Play with what you know. Practice is where you learn how to hit new shots. 

Keeping your putts per green average below three would be a viable goal. 

Keeping the the ball in playable positions from tee to green would a decent goal to have. 

I would also think the best goal any amateur golfer can have, is to just have a relaxing, fun time, while learning to play this crazy game. 

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I'm not a big believer in goals.  Have a system, and that will lead you to things others set as goals.

Your system might be:

 

* Continue practicing regularly.  See also our "5 minutes a day" thread.  When you have incorporated successfully the change from your latest lesson, you can then go onto your next priority piece.  Don't forget: the purpose of lessons isn't to immediately get better.  The purpose is to guide your practice, so when you practice you do improve and get better. 

* Continue playing regularly.

* Continue enjoying the game.

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Since you are willing to practice, .... and take lessons... you will naturally get better by year end.

Here are a couple of simple things you can work on .... and track, and by year end you will be shooting 18 over par or less!!  Which is a 22 stroke improvement over what you are presently doing.

1. Keep track of every hole in which you get on the green in 2 or less.   The goal is to get on in 2, if you get on in 1, that is great!!!   When you get on in 2 or less give yourself a checkmark on that hole.  If it takes more than 2 you get an X for the hole.

When you look back at your scorecard you have a sense of how many Xs you have an that will focus your practice.    Here is a simple example, get out your 9 iron, and hit it on the range until you know exactly how far you hit it, AND then hit at a target.  Get 10 balls, and hit all of them at your target.  If you can hit all 10 within 10 yards of the target, you are doing great.  Maybe this is too tight a dispersion to start with, so go for 15 or 20 yards of the target.   When you can consistently hit 10/10 with in 10 yards of the target, you get to graduate to an 8 iron. 

You might say that is stupid.... however, I bet you can reach every par 3 on your home course by hitting a 9 iron off the tee and no more than a 9 iron to get on the green.  Remember you are trying to lower your score.... this is the way to do it.

2.  Keep track of the number of putts.... the goal is to average 2 or less per hole.  One way to focus you practice is to keep track of when you make a putt of 4 feet or less.  Every time you do, even if it is a tap in, you place a Checkmark on your Scorecard.  If you miss, you put in "X".   

Now next week, when you got out to practice, you can focus your putting practice...  If you miss a lot of 4 footers, well work hard on making them in practice.  Here is a simple drill.   Set 5 tees around a hole, at a distance of 4 feet from the hole.  So you have a 4 foot circle with 5 stations/tees.  Start at one tee, if you make the putt, you go to the next tee, continue around twice without missing.  If you miss you have to start over.  Here is the deal.   You can to go around twice for every 4 foot putt or less you missed in your last round of golf.  If you missed 18 four footers, you will be in for a LONG putting session.  I guarantee if you can consistently make 4 foot putts you will rarely three putt.

3.  Keep track of how many times you get up and down from the edge of the green in 2 strokes.  Essentially this tracks your chipping skills.   There are lots of drills to improve you chipping.. make sure when you work with your coach you have one or several lessons on this... or devote part of each lesson to it.  The better you are at this skill, the faster your scores will go down.

Hope this makes sense... if not ask away.

Edited by JuanTheGolfer

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The things that my instructor wanted me to keep track of as a beginner were the number of: fairway off tee, green in regulation and number of putts. From there, we practiced what I was weak at and eventually the score came down.

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22 hours ago, amished said:

Honestly, I wouldn't set a goal for the "end of the year", but just set goals.  Try to get to +30, get a Birdie on a hole, get two pars in a row, stuff like that rather than setting a scoring goal like that.  For me, it's easier to check off one of my other goals from the list and update it to my new skill level (or luck level).  Go from one birdie in a round to two, three pars in a row, etc. after you hit one of them.  

Personally, I feel the scoring "goals" are some of the long time hardest ones to hit as to get lower and lower it gets harder and harder.  The other ones can be done without scoring particularly well, but end up affecting your scores.  The "No 6s Challenge" around here is one I'm still trying to work on, but that's a good one in a similar vein and you can work on that even now with the par 3 course (going down to no 5s eventually)

Thanks, I like this idea - especially the no 6s challenge on a par 3... That will definitely allow me to put together a decent short game for now at least.

21 hours ago, saevel25 said:

You want to work on things that cost you the most strokes. I would work on improving your golf swing first. You can start a My Swing thread on the forum.

I'll start a My Swing thread soon. I have some videos from my first lesson and will record some more now that I've practiced a bit more. 

21 hours ago, Patch said:

Keeping the the ball in playable positions from tee to green would a decent goal to have. 

Aside from the having fun goal, which I agree with, I like this one a lot. I've had much more fun on the holes when I stay in bounds than those that I don't.

18 hours ago, Shindig said:

I'm not a big believer in goals.  Have a system, and that will lead you to things others set as goals.

Your system might be:

 

* Continue practicing regularly.  See also our "5 minutes a day" thread.  When you have incorporated successfully the change from your latest lesson, you can then go onto your next priority piece.  Don't forget: the purpose of lessons isn't to immediately get better.  The purpose is to guide your practice, so when you practice you do improve and get better. 

* Continue playing regularly.

* Continue enjoying the game.

Thanks Shindig, I'll check out the 5 Minutes a Day thread... I've been logging my practice on my own but I like this idea as well. 

 

@JuanTheGolfer, your comment was very helpful. I will definitely keep track of those things going forward so I can better guide my practice. Love the drill for putting practice, as I've so far just been meaninglessly putting around the practice green without any purpose. This will help me focus my practice much more. 

 

11 hours ago, FlyingAce said:

The things that my instructor wanted me to keep track of as a beginner were the number of: fairway off tee, green in regulation and number of putts. From there, we practiced what I was weak at and eventually the score came down.

I'll be doing this going forward. I think I already know that the putts number is going to be very ugly and need the most work... Better get started on that.

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