For years and years I didn’t have anything even resembling a plan. My routine at the course for a practice day was to get a bunch of range balls, film my swing, pick out flaws that I hated, and try to fix my flaws for the rest of the range session. Then I would go over to the putting green and putt from hole to hole without any real purpose. This type of practice is, for the most part, better than nothing. But there were many practices where I would’ve been better off staying home. When I would show up with no real purpose and self-diagnose my swing and then try to fix it based on my own amateur opinion, I would usually dig my hole deeper instead of finding ways to crawl out. I went without an instructor for nearly 7 years.
So my constant floundering led me to finally suck up my pride and find an instructor. A pair of eyes that had a lot of experience and had a proven track record. That brought me to Robert Linville, the instructor I worked with on a regular basis for two years. He has a flourishing group of players that he works with, so it was really a no-brainer to go to him. At first our sessions were simply mechanical, because that’s what I thought Robert’s specialty was. But the longer I worked with him the more we moved from mechanics and technique to strategy and planning. He developed a system for planning and tracking practice, rounds, and competitive rounds before he started working with me, and invited me to jump in.
What Robert’s system brought into my life was a way to structure all the time that I was spending. Instead of floundering I began setting out at the beginning of the day with a plan for what I was going to do, and tracking what I was doing throughout every part of the day. Not only did this lead to better practices, it gave me more motivation to get to the course and get to work because I knew what I was going to do.
I can’t speak to what everyone needs, but I would venture to guess that most of you instinctively lack direction in your work ethic. Maybe you work hard, and you have a ton of energy. But if you don’t know where you’re channeling that energy then that energy could very well end up going to the wrong thing. What happens when you’re driving somewhere and you don’t know where you’re going or how to get there? You end up wasting a lot of gas. That gas is your creative energy. If you don’t know where you want to channel your creative energy, a lot of it will go to waste.
This was a huge part in helping me improve my golf game at a more rapid pace than I’ve ever improved before. But it taught me an even bigger lesson. To always have a plan. And to be dedicated to it. Because without it I will flounder.
Develop a plan. Stick to it. And never waver.