“It’s like going to the gym to eat a donut”

by Jordan on August 23, 2011

You don’t go to the gym to eat a donut so you shouldn’t go to the course without a purpose

You want to learn how to get better at golf.

But chances are you’re not playing with a purpose.

Endless practicing and playing without a purpose is not the proper way to go about it.

It’s inefficient.

A playing purpose is taking something specific you are working at the driving range and transferring it to the course.

It can also be something along the lines of not getting upset or discouraged with the outcome of each shot.

Read on and I’ll explain why playing without a purpose is like going to the gym to eat a donut.

From The Range To The Course

Most players have something they’re working on. But they don’t take it from the range onto the course.

I often get asked by golfers who are working on changes in their game why they aren’t improving.

My question to them is “Are you trying these changes on the course under the gun?” More often than not the response I get goes something like “Well I don’t want t screw up my score.”

You mean to tell me they me they can’t sacrifice a few rounds in the short term for long term success? You can’t change unless you take action and implement the changes. 

Whether it’s a minor swing change or becoming conscious before and during a shot, you can only do so much on the range and need to test these things on the course.

I don’t understand why players make their score their playing purpose.

Doing this round after round is not going to help. Why?

Because there is no focus on the work being done or the things needed to improve. Does this sound like you? It’s like going to the gym to eat a donut and sit on the bike, doesn’t make much sense at all.

You must learn to be patient and to work on your changes during a round on the course.

Example Of Playing Purposes

A few examples of a playing purpose is:

“I want to work on my visualization before every shot”.

This might be a playing purpose for someone having a hard time fighting away negative images or bad shots in their past.

“I want to focus solely on two putting every green”.

This could be the playing purpose for someone who tends to 3 putt a lot of greens.

“I want to go through my pre-shot routine before every shot”.

This would be a playing purpose for someone who is struggling staying committed to their swing and confidence levels.

Keep Score Of Your Playing Purpose

After you have set out your playing purpose for a round you must focus on it and track how you are doing.

You can track these by keeping tally.I suggest you start out with a realistic goal of how many times you want to achieve your playing purpose so you can gauge how you are doing.

I’ll continue with my earlier examples.

For the player working on their visualization skills before each round, they might say their goal would be to positively visualize their shot ahead 5-8 times. This number would vary depending on this individual’s creativity. Now that have their goal they can keep score of how many times they have done so throughout their round.

For the player who is trying to eliminate three putts from their game, they might set a goal of only having 2-4 three putts per round. They would then only keep score of their putts and nothing else.

Now for the player working on implementing a pre-shot routine in their game, they would fall into the same category as the player who is working on their visualization. Although their desired goal may be higher, say 8-12 times a round they hope to go through their pre-shot routine. Again they would only keep score of how many times they have done so.

Since you have gotten this far I’ll assume that you do want to learn how to get better at golf and achieve some your goals. Whatever they are, make them your playing purpose for the next few rounds and only keep score of them.

Let go of your hole by hole score and focus only on your playing purpose. It may be tough for the first few holes. But there is no sense of being on the course knowing that you should be working on something only to fall into the trap of focusing and playing for score.

Until next time, determine your playing purpose and keep score of it!

What Do You Think?

Does the concept of playing purpose make sense?


Jordan J. Caron is a former Canadian PGA Class A member who still wants to help golfers shoot better scores. He is also the President of Meaningful Marketing. In his downtime he likes to read, play squash and drink wine.

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