Walk the range at any course in the country, and I would be willing to bet that the majority of players hitting balls do not use a training plan. It’s like going into the gym everyday without a plan of what you want to accomplish. You’ll probably get stronger, but you won’t reach your potential.
When developing your golf training plan, you have to start with some very basic questions:
1. What is my ultimate goal for this plan? Don’t be afraid to dream here. Make your goal realistic, but if it’s not a little scary, it’s probably not big enough.
2. How much time can I realistically devote every week to my plan? You don’t want to stretch what’s possible with this answer. Be brutally honest with yourself. There is nothing worse then having a great plan, but not being able to make it work due to time constraints.
3. How can I measure my success? I like to use software like measuredpractice.com
4. What parts of my game need the most work? Again, stat-tracking software is invaluable for questions like this. The Shot by Shot app also does an incredible job pointing out deficiencies and strengths.
5. How will I stay accountable? It’s great to have a coach, a training partner, or a social media group to motivate you, follow your progress, and keep you accountable. Setting up a support system is key.
Once you have the time to sit down and write out the answers to those five questions, you are ready to start making your plan. And every week of your plan needs to have a goal and a weekly focus that fits into your ultimate goals.
In the picture above, you can see the player told me he could dedicate 5 hours a week to serious practice. That doesn’t mean he only played 5 hours of golf that week, but he had to have 100-percent focus for at least these 5 hours. This particular week’s focus and goal was all wedge work, which we chose as an area of focus based on the stats we had gathered. It fit into our game plan of hitting more drivers off the tee. This particular player can hit his driver in excess of 320 yards, so a sharper wedge game is key to helping him shoot lower his scores.
When I’m developing training plans with golfers, I like to create mini training plans with an even greater focus on a particular area. For instance, in setting up this player’s tournament schedule, we labeled tournaments A, B, or C. The “A” tournaments are the biggest and most important, while the “C” tournaments are less important or have weaker fields. Labeling the schedule allows us to determine in advance how much practice and training we will use, as well as what type of practice and training we will use.
In this example, the golfer was a scratch who mainly played club events. He told me that 8 hours per week was the most he could dedicate to practice time. So during the week with no tournament and the week with only a charity event, we used that full 8 hours to really focus on some technique and weaknesses in his game. As we moved into tournament weeks (A and B events), we used spent more time on mental focus and on-course practice to make sure he was prepared to shoot the lowest scores possible.
The hardest part of making a program is that you have to be willing to adapt and change. Most people can set up a very good plan, but as their game develops or as life happens, they fail to adjust their plan. This is where having a coach who can look at the big picture and the stats is invaluable. Looking at the big picture, a coach can take a step back and adjust the plan to suit both your short-term and long-term needs.
If you want to play your best golf possible, take the time to sit down and create a plan before your next round or range session. Enjoy the journey of improvement, and don’t hesitate to reach out for help as your goals need to be adjusted. We’re in this together!