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Establish your goals and practice accordingly in 2013

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Now that 2013 has arrived, have you thought about your golfing goals for this year? I believe in a logical, organized approach to improvement.

In short, plan your improvement. And here's how you can do that:

Start by dreaming a little. If you could wave a magic wand over your golf game, what would it look like? What would you like to achieve?

Maybe you would like to qualify for a U.S. Golf Association event this year or win your flight in the club championship. How about lowering your handicap by five strokes?

Whatever the goal might be, come up with the “ultimate” goal, but it needs to be realistic. If you are a 10-handicap, qualifying for the PGA Tour is probably out of reach. Your goals should be achievable.

There are two types of goals, outcome goals and process goals.

Outcome goals would be winning your flight in the club championship or qualifying for the state open. These goals can be somewhat out of your control, however.

What if you shoot 71-70 in your big event? Someone could shoot 70-70 and beat you by one shot. This is what I mean by out of your control.

Outcome goals are important but the process goals can help you get there. Process goals are basically smaller steps than can help you to achieve the outcome goals.

For example, to win the club championship, you might feel you need to improve your up-and-down percentage to 50 percent or better and hit two more greens in regulation per round.

After you have determined your ultimate goals, write down what you think you need to do to accomplish those goals and then put together a practice plan.

If you want to eliminate 3-putts and hit two more greens per round but only have two hours per week to practice, plan your practice time around your goals before you go to the course each week.

Additionally, what can be measured can be improved. Keeping stats throughout the year is a great way to measure your improvement. Stats can help you to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your game, and you can also use stats to track your progress over time.

In summary, determine your goals, break them down into small steps, plan your practice and measure your progress.

Take these steps and you’ll make your golf game better this year.

Take an online lesson with Ed Oldham.