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Review your entire game
By: Andrea Furst (profile)

Golf is still one of the most challenging games to prepare for consistent competitive performances. Given that the driving range still seems to be the practice location of choice, it is no wonder that the gap still exists between players’ practice skills and competitive skills.

Golf is still one of the most challenging games to prepare for consistent competitive performances. Given that the driving range still seems to be the practice location of choice, it is no wonder that the gap still exists between players’ practice skills and competitive skills.

This fascination with the driving range fuels the belief that technique is the most important part of the game. Unless, you are incorporating other aspects of your game on the range, you are fuelling a uni-dimensional game.

Daily habits – thoughts and actions – contribute to overall beliefs. So, if your practice time looks like someone who believes in hitting balls rather than creating shots, then it is likely that you will think about how you are hitting balls while you play competitively, and then review your technique after a round… becomes your default key focal point of your game.

Practicing the entire game means that you can practice skills required for a competitive game such as having target focus, or breathing before a shot, or dealing with a shot that doesn’t go your way and moving on to another type of shot rather than replaying the exact same shot with the aim of improving it technically.

One tool that can assist with the appreciation of the entire game is simply reviewing the entire game.

After the round is completed, you can break your game into the four areas of technical, psychological, physical, and tactical. You will find that you can evaluate at the end of the round to begin with and then start incorporating the focus on each of these areas as you play the round. A thorough performance review can also assist your learning from each round and progress for subsequent rounds.

Evaluate what you did well and why. The importance of recognising and recording what you did well during the round cannot be emphasised enough. So much time is dedicated to improving the ‘gaps’ between what you did and what you need to do to improve your performance that it is easy for players to overlook what they actually did well on the course. The point of taking the time to acknowledge the ‘good stuff’ is so that you continue to do it. What’s more, it is always helpful to know why it was done well through understanding how you did it...Super helpful if you want to repeat it! Plus, working on strengths can often have benefits over and above the improvements of only focussing on your weakness, particularly for a tactical game like golf.

Evaluate what you did not do well and why. Be honest with yourself. Focussing on your weaknesses will improve your game. Be sure to understand why you underachieved in a specific area (i.e., technical, tactical, psychological, & physical) to the level that you want or need to, and understand the inter-relationships between each of these areas. For example, a physically tired golfer can suffer from lack of focus and concentration, which influences club selection and shot execution. When you have that understanding it is easier to determine what you need to do in your practice to improve these areas. Develop a plan of what you can do to improve your aspects of the round that you did not do well. Detail a specific solution for each area and ask your teaching professional for some assistance with drills or activities that they can recommend to you which will address your areas of weakness.

Once you have a solid idea of the strategies to improve weaknesses and maximise strengths, you can set process goals for your round to help keep your focus on achieving small tasks while you play. Process goals can help focus your analysis on some key factors that assist your game. You can monitor these throughout the round. Process goals are simple statements that you can determine easily whether you did or did not achieve them. They keep you working on the creating direct control over your own performance and thus influencing your results.

Post-round analyses are extremely beneficial for become a great strategy player – learning to match the skills you have and the demands of the course conditions on that day. Furthermore, if you analyse your entire round you can start to accumulate useful information about all areas of your game that keep you focussed on the small steps needed to make the improvements you want in your game.

A commitment to link your round reviews to your future round goals will then help to direct your practice schedules. This produces a player who prepares for their entire game! What’s more it develops players that believe golf is complex interplay between a variety of technical, psychological, physical, and tactical skills.

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