Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Past, Present, And...

I am definitely in what can only be described as my offseason. I usually am very absorbed in the present. I rarely think much about the past, and I don't like to spend too much time worrying about hypothetical situations in the future. Right now, however, I am doing quite a bit of both. I have analyzed my practice logs and am doing some reflecting on the past year. At the same time, I am starting to put a lot of thought into the route I will to take to advance my game and my career in 2013. In this post, however, I want to share my findings after looking back over my 2012 season, and talk a little bit more about the exciting things that are going on right now. I am wrapping up my thoughts about the future, and I will share exciting news in that regard soon.

I apologize to those of you who are stat junkies and want me to regale you with my greens in regulation percentage and average putts per round, but I don't keep track of that. To me, a lot of stats of that nature are very misleading. As I look back on 2012, I am concerned with two main areas: my work towards my weekly process goals and my par-5 performance.

I was shocked by my findings in the first of those areas. I felt like I had a great year of work. I know that I failed to prioritize my practice the way I should have some weeks, but I thought that I had established a great work routine throughout the year. I was displeased to find that in the 44 weeks from when I published my "process goals" in early January through the last week of my season in mid-November, I failed to complete all of my process goals 15 times. That means I successfully completed all of my work goals just 65.9 percent of my work weeks this year. Often it was just one putting drill or a workout that kept me from completing my goals, but that shows a shortcoming. All-in-all, I am still very pleased with the work that I put in this year, but it was eye-opening to see how many times I came up short of my goals. I did some deeper analysis to see how my weeks looked during and immediately preceding some of my best tournament results of the year. There were no strong correlations at all as I found that some of my best tournament results followed great weeks of practice whereas a couple of very strong performances followed weeks during which I had come up very short of my practice goals. A noticeable trend from which I will learn moving forward did appear, however. On three occasions when I spent a weekend away from golf to enjoy special occasions or just fun times with special people, I performed well in the weeks that followed. I am not good enough to make a habit of taking time off, but I think I will plan three to four weekends per season to do non-golf activities moving forward. My look back at the work that I did each week this year certainly doesn't leave me disappointed, but it does show that I have a lot of room for improvement. My weekly goals this year were challenging but very reasonable. I will have a similar set of process goals next year, and you can bet that I will do a better job of completing them.

The one performance stat that I do track is par-5 scoring. Great players and tournament winners play the par 5s well, and it is not just the long hitters to whom this statement applies. At the beginning of the year, I proclaimed that I wanted to have a scoring average of 4.33 on par 5s for the year. Some of my buddies told me that was not a realistic goal. I tried to use their doubts as motivation and set out to prove them wrong. They weren't. I am disappointed with my performance on the par 5s this year, but 4.33 was not a realistic goal. I played 409 par 5s this year in tournament play and was 151 under par on them. That works out to an average of 4.63. I am now convinced that 4.33 is an unrealistic expectation, but 4.5 is a lofty yet very reasonable goal. To achieve a 4.5 average, I would have needed to shave 54 shots off of my total for the 409 par 5s I played. That means I have a lot of work to do in this area. To play the par 5s better, I need to develop more confidence in my ball-striking and continue to hone my wedge play. You can bet that par-5 scoring will be on my list of goals again for 2013, and I am going to improve dramatically in that area.

The only other process goal I made that deserves a year-end mention is my "friendly match" winnings. I need to nurture a more competitive instinct in myself, so I wrote down a goal to profit $500 in friendly matches and practice round bets this year. I did keep up with this throughout the year, and I liked having this goal, but I don't play enough matches or play for enough money to reach $500 in friendly match winnings. I had a rough stretch in early-year practice rounds, but I was still finished the year up near $200 in this category. I will have a goal along these lines again next year.

That details my year-end findings regarding my process goals. I know that stuff might not seem like the most relevant information, but to me it is quite informative and useful. I will use it to shape my process goals for next year and as motivation to improve.

As for my 2012 outcome goals, I think most of you know I came up short on all three counts. I expected to have multiple wins on the eGolf Professional Tour. I won once. I expected to finish the year first on the eGolf Professional Tour's Money List. I finished fourth. I expected to end the season with full status for 2013 on at least Web.com Tour. I did not. This is disappointing news, but it was a GREAT year! All of my goals were very doable, and I made a great run at them. The fact that I came up short will motivate me to work harder and smarter than ever. I will have bigger and better goals for 2013, and I'm ready to start achieving them!

That is enough looking backwards. I have a lot going on right now. I am entrenched in some swing changes that are going to increase my competence as a ball-striker. I have never liked the idea of making changes to my golf swing, but my ball-striking is the only area of my game that hasn't improved significantly in the past three years, so I am committing to a change this winter. I am confident that I will improve and become much more consistent as a ball-striker. I am already seeing positive signs, and can't wait until things start feeling comfortable. While I am working hard on my golf swing, I am continuing to sharpen my short game and putting. I feel that these areas of my game are strong, but I have plenty of room to keep improving. When my swing changes become fully engrained, I want to feel like I am tournament-ready. My current work definitely has me on track to make that a reality. In addition to putting good work into my golf game, I have ramped up my fitness work over the past two weeks as well. I am feeling strong, fit, and flexible. As I said in the opening of this post, it is definitely my off season right now, but I am doing a lot of exciting and important work.

So there is a look and the past and the present. I still have a little bit more information to gather and thinking to do before I go to in-depth about plans for the future, but the wheels are turning in that direction. Keep it here for practice reports and an exciting look towards what is coming next year. Thank you so much for following me and for your support. Here's to a warm winter--literally and figuratively!


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