Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail

Over the last 11 years, I have not been able to play in a weekly medal. Not able to have a competitive scorecard in my hands on a weekly basis.

This year there are 4 main Order of Merit events in the South Region PGA which I plan to play in. This gives a lot of time in the middle to prepare.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO PREPARE?

Is a regular club competition all you need to prepare or do you have planned practice to work on specific things in the build up to the weekend? Or do you just turn up?

For me, my preparation has always been variable and not specific at all. My results when I was a PGA trainee around 2012 reflected that. Working full time, going through PGA training modules and juggling a social life and all that.

WHAT DO YOU HAVE CONTROL OF?

Time, equipment, data, facilities.

How much time can you put to practice? How can you best use that time?

If it’s 10 minutes before you tee off, no problem at all.

If it’s a week off before club champs to tune in, great.

What you do with the time you have is crucial to play your best golf.

What clubs are in your bag and are you getting every 1% gain you can?

What data can you get? stats, your club distances?

Where can you find this information? And where can you practice or improve it?

It could be as simple as counting your putts and thinking of ways to reduce them.

GOLF COURSE STATS

With some encouragement from my dear friend at https://waggleduff.com/, we kept some stats of our first rounds back on the golf course after lockdown.

He is the master of the spreadsheet.

As expected, our golf had regressed after no golf for so long, I’m sure you can relate.

What do we do about that?

I think it’s a great idea to keep stats on the course.

Even if it is as simple as putts per hole noted next to your markers score. This can give you some idea of where shots may be slipping away.

There’s so many to keep track of but the more you can keep, the better you can reflect on areas of improvement.

Score, Putts, Green in Reg Y/N, Fairway Hit Y/N or left/right, Up and Down success Y/N, Bunker Up and Down success Y/N.

THE SAT NAV PLAN

How does a Sat Nav work? – needs to know where you are – needs to know your destination – shows you the route.

Find out where you are (Your current golf stats; scores, fairways, greens, putts?)

Work out where you want to be (Expose weak areas that most damage scorecards)

Break 100, 90, 80? Hit 1 extra fairway, hit 1 extra green on the last round?

What can you do? (Go back to what you can control; time, equipment, data, facilities)

Everyone will be different but this is the basics of performance management for golf.

MY PLAN

First few outings exposed my weakness for hitting greens in regulation (GIR).

Looking at why that happens exposed a weakness for hitting the fairways.

Playing from the rough can mess around with your distance control as more grass gets trapped between the ball and the face and wreaks havoc with your spin.

The flyer. I was missing long way too often. one round had 6 GIR. Target is 14-18.

Good job I can putt.

A few fairway left/right and GIR stats gave me some useful information.

I grew up fighting a big left shot. But 4/5 misses were to the right.

The left shot is not much of a threat statistically so I have to let go of the historic left data in my brain. It simply isn’t going left.

THE TOOLS

What do I hit greens with? Irons and Wedges.

I changed my wedges to have more choice.

Removed 54, 60. Renewed with 50, 54, 58

Then used a launch monitor to get the average carry and max carry of each club through the bag.

This was specific to my needs.

What do I hit fairways with? Driver and 3 Wood.

I changed the top end of the bag to make sure it was easier. Some clubs are cool but forgiveness and choice was lacking.

Removed 3 and 4 iron. Added 4 Hybrid and 5 wood and then made adjustments to the Driver. Overall more choice from the tee.

Continued use of the launch monitor for carry numbers.

ASSESSMENT

We will see what these changes do long term but there are instant results already.

Going from 6 to 13 GIR. Comparably 77 to 71 as putts were much the same.

Not out of the woods yet but getting there.

A combination of awareness of the flaws and having the right kit to combat them was my first point of analysis.

If I had the right equipment already and it was a skill that needed work on, It would have been a completely different approach. Using the same Sat Nav idea.

The SKILL of hitting fairways and greens is my next point of attention moving forward. Applying real pressure techniques during practice. Try the below article for ideas.

Here’s a little video to show you some of the distance measuring process:

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