Golfers New Year Resolutions and goal setting, my advice for 2019.
Whenever I think of golf resolutions or goal setting, I reflect on the above chart, courtesy of pgatour.com, which details golfers who broke the longest drought records in 2018. These golfers are household names and some of the periods since they last won are mind-boggling, to say the least! I think it is essential to keep that in perspective when setting New Year resolutions or goal setting for golf in 2019. It is not an easy game to master, and the most beguiling aspect is the ability to have a good day on the course, followed by an awful one. Keep this in mind when setting your New Year resolutions, little and often is the key, the theory of compounding, getting better 1% a day will get you there! So, my top tips for getting the best out of your game this year?
Get a golf coach!
I know that regular readers will be aware of my passion on this subject but listening to Cameron Champ being interviewed over in Hawaii this week about his relationship with his golf coach, Sean Foley, it is hard to get away from the fact that a good coach can help you improve at golf. In saying that, take your time as you work on getting your game in shape and consider the following before choosing someone to help you!
What do you want? It is an important consideration when deciding on whether to look for a golf coach. I know plenty of golfers that have been playing off the same handicap for years, play in the same fourball every week and are very happy with their standard of golf. If this is you, a coach is probably not going to be worth the cost and effort involved. There are cheaper and easier ways to improve!
Word of mouth! You've decided you want a golf coach to help you, the best way to choose one is by word of mouth. Does your golf professional show an interest in your game? Is he/she well regarded in your club? Follow the golfers that are improving in your club and ask them what coach they are using? Research before making that all-important selection!
Other factors to consider are, (1) Cost! A good coach is expensive; they want you to improve; you are paying for their knowledge and customer service, not their time. (2) Location! If you are traveling a distance to see a particular coach, make sure you can fit it in your schedule. (3) Style of teaching and personality, check these out before taking the plunge, at the end of the day it's all about believing they can help you!
Get fitted for clubs!
The amount of golfers that I see with clubs that don't suit them is staggering. If you have reached any decent level at golf, this is the area for most consideration after coaching. I include wedges and putter here as well. Get them looked at in sections. It's expensive, (or should be), so break it up into maybe, driver & woods, a full set of irons, utility wedges and finally putter.
Where to go? Million dollar question for me. I have more equipment to fit golfers than you could shake a stick at but would never fit somebody, I'm not qualified and don't pretend to be. There are a lot of snake oil salesmen out there who claim to be able to fit clubs. Go by word of mouth and reputation, don't go for the cheapest, there is a reason they are the cheapest. Don't forget; the cheapest is a race to the bottom with the consumer being the loser.
Other factors to consider are, (1) where your game is at? If you are starting to make changes, wait until they have bedded in before changing clubs. The new M5 that DJ is using in Hawaii ain't going to fix a bad swing. (2) Properly fitted clubs can make a massive difference if you are swinging efficiently. (3) Finally, if you are starting out in golf, please don't be seduced by the marketing gurus promising a swing like DJ! Learn to play correctly first!
Remember! Whatever you choose to do to improve your golf in 2019, most people fail at New Years Resolutions and goal setting in general because they are not aware of the aforementioned, a theory of compounding. Let me finish with a story to explain! Two friends are offered the choice of either (a) take a penny on day one and compound it (double the amount) every day for a month. (b) A million euros for the entire 31 days. One hesitates as he thinks its a trick, so we offer him 3 million euros, he grabs it gleefully! The other friend is crestfallen, and rightly so? By day #18 the doubling penny is now worth just over 1,300 euros. He can see his friend on his yacht drinking champagne. By day #28 we're well over a million euros but nowhere near our friend. This is where the magic of compounding happens, the exact same formula occurs on day #29 #30 and #31 to bring the amount to nearly 11 million euros. You won't see the change in your golf for a couple of months, my most successful golfer in 2018 never sniffed a score for six months but is since wanted for grand larceny of silverware at her home club. It takes time to lose weight, get fit, etc. and most importantly for us golfers, to improve at golf. Remember this when you feel like giving up because you can see no progress, it will come if you do the right things over enough time! HNY.
Last Word - Rory McIlroy
I wanted to get off to a good start, an early start, My life is here. I have an American wife. I live in America. Honestly, I enjoy it here more. The way of life is easier. The weather. The convenience. You go to Europe and get paid a nice amount of money to start the year. I’ve done that for a decade. I want to switch it up. I’ve done it for 11 years, so I may as well do something a little different.
I sense it is going to be a big year for Rory and applaud his decision to face the challenge head-on. The days of Rory playing well and blowing the field away are gone, as they are for all players now, there are too many fine players out there presently that can win if it's their week. It seems to be getting harder for any one player to dominate and this is a good thing for the armchair viewer. It promises to be a terrific season ahead with the four Majors all being held at iconic golf courses! Can't wait!
Talk soon, and a very Happy New Year,
Tadhg Harrington is a full time, professional golf instructor, and owner of the Harrington Golf Academy, based in Dublin, Ireland. He is a graduate of the Titleist Performance Institute and Setanta College. He is the eldest brother of three-time time Major Champion, Padraig Harrington.
He succeeds, employing empathy, passion and exceptional customer service, teaching above the noise, the quick tips, and the latest fads and is truly unique in the Irish golf industry.
The Harrington Golf Academy provides long term coaching programs designed to bring sensory processing to motor learning skills. Tadhg teaches the long game at Drynam Park Golf Centre and short game at Roganstown GC. His business partner, Ex European Tour Player, Rebecca Codd, also teaches full time at Drynam Park Golf Centre.