My goals on the journey to becoming a professional golfer are SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.
If I ever truly want to be a professional golfer, I need to set goals for myself to track progress, hit milestones and push myself to get better.
By professional golfer, I mean playing on either the Web.com tour or the PGA tour within 5.5 years.
One of the ways I do this is by documenting the journey. It is a public journal of the highs and lows of trying to make it in professional sports.
I'm not naive enough to believe this won't be tough, but I do know that it is impossible without setting goals. As the image above states, a goal without a plan is nothing more than a fairytale.
My goals are SMART:
- S – specific. Without a specific target, it is impossible to measure areas of weakness and subsequent improvement.
- M – measurable. The goals must be quantifiable at some point so that some objective insights can be made into the performance of my game.
- A – achievable. Goals must be able to be achieved by some manner of practice or work given available resources.
- R – realistic. Not some pie-in-the-sky dream, but actual, realistic goals that can be attained with a certain level of intensity and devotion.
- T – time-bound. There is not an infinite amount of time available, and time is not on my side. The goals must be bound to a specific period of time.
With these ideas in mind, here are the goals that I have set and believe I need to reach if I want to compete at a professional level. I am breaking them out year by year, as I believe each goal should be attainable within the year it is placed.
Shoot a bogey-free round of golf
It may sound crazy, but I have never actually shot a bogey-free round of golf in my life. I believe this is an important first step to accomplish to play at a professional level. While golfers like Phil Mickelson are known for their erratic scorecards, I believe shooting a bogey-free round tells me a few important things:
- I am in a strong enough mental state to manage the course well and eliminate careless mistakes. Many bogeys can be eradicated by simply playing smarter on the golf course.
- My short game is measurably improving. Shooting a bogey-free round means I've been able to scramble 100% of the time, and being able to do that is a specific example of practice paying off on the course.
- My misses are becoming less hazardous to my overall score. This means I am actively improving other areas of my game like shots from the rough, getting out of trouble, ball striking, etc.
Lower my competitive scoring average by one stroke (73)
As of right now, my competitive scoring average is a 73.9. What I mean by competitive scoring average is the total sum of the past 20 rounds of golf, no matter how bad or good the score might be.
My goal is to lower this average by one stroke to a 73. I have an overall goal to lower my competitive scoring average by a stroke a year with the primary goal to have a 70 or better average. I need at least this in order to compete (and win) professionally.
I know many people who have told me they would love to have scores like this, but at this point, I'm just a really good golfer, not a professional. Those 4 strokes trimmed off my game are going to be very hard to remove, and I'm going to have to train deliberately in order to remove them and keep them off.
To do this, I need to consistently work out and improve my overall physique and stamina to avoid careless swings and strokes late in a round. I need to practice daily with deliberate measurements so I can improve weak areas of my game. I need to improve the average number of fairways and greens I hit per round. I need to eliminate 3-putts and make one or two more putts from 15-30ft per round.
If I can do these things, I believe my competitive scoring average will drop and continue to drop.
Play in at least 7 competitive tournaments
I have not played competitively in 10 years. Competitive golf is so much different than the typical round you play with friends on the weekends, and it requires different skills and a unique approach to play well. Because of this, I have not set any goals this year on how well I need to perform in the competitive tournaments. I have only stipulated that I need to play in at least 7 so I can analyze my game during those times, determine areas of mental weakness that I can address and develop a fortitude to play with people that are better than myself.
To be honest, this is a little nerve wracking. It has been such a long time since I have played in this environment. I do recall, though, that I like the pressure because it forces me to play better. We'll see if time has done anything to change this in me or not.
Place top 10 at my home course's club championship
Some people may laugh at doing this, but I believe it is important that I be able to place well at my own home course. If I can't do it here, how in the world can I expect to do it on relatively unknown and unfamiliar courses?
There are some great golfers at my home course. I don't think placing in the top 10 is an easy task, but I do believe that it is possible and a realistic goal. At this point, I will have played competitive golf again and had the ability to analyze and adjust. I believe this is a reasonable barometer of performance.
Break 70 at my home course
I have not been able to break 70 at my home course (in one 18-hole round). I have shot 70 7 times, and I have combined 9-hole scores of sub 70, but I've not been able to crack 70 yet and that is disappointing to me. The course is a par 72 and is 7,100 yards from the championship tees, which is nothing to laugh at. With that being said, I believe this to be another reasonable goal this year. I have shot sub 70 many times before, but I would like to do it at my home course.
This could be a quick win to build confidence, especially if I am able to do it earlier in the year. And who knows, maybe I can combine that with the bogey-free round and kill two birds with one stone!
As I achieve the goals, I will make posts with goal updates and will strikethrough the goals here as well. They are written down now – time to go to work!