Do you make New Year’s Resolutions?  I don’t really… well, in my mind I tell myself that this year I’m going to lose weight, be more active, eat healthier food, improve my golf… but nothing really changes.  We all know that if you want to achieve something  you need to set targets and then work out what strategies you’ll use in order to achieve them.  Simply stating “I want to be a better golfer” isn’t a proper target.  Targets need to be SMART:

So, I was interested in an article by Today’s Golfer Top 50 coach Steve Astle in which he listed 10 outcome and performance goals which he reckons are both achievable and realistic for the average golfer.

Just adapt them accordingly to your game – and write them down!  Then work out what you need to work at in order to achieve them.

1. Learn your yardages
Use your Distance Measuring Device or get into Dungannon’s SkyTrak Studio and work your way through the bag, so you know exactly how far you hit each club with full, three-quarter and half shots.

2. Book an on-course lesson based on strategy
Countless European Tour stars have told the good folk at Today’s Golfer that the biggest mistake amateurs make is related to poor club selection.

3. Hole 10 three-footers in a row
Colin Montgomerie used to practise his pressure putting by setting himself a target of holing out 100 times in a row from two feet. If he missed one, the penalty would be starting all over again.

4. Make three birdies in 18 holes  (I think I’ll be changing this one to “Make one birdie in three 18 hole rounds!”)

5. Finish a round with no three-putts

6. Play a full round with the same ball
Instead of trying to pull off that miracle shot from the trees, consider playing safe to minimise the risk and keep your score intact.

7. Get down in three inside 75 yards every time during one round
The biggest difference between high and low handicappers is the ability to get up and down more often.

8. Break your next scoring milestone
If you haven’t broken 70, 80, 90 or 100 now is the time to challenge yourself to do it. Write it down!

9. Birdie every hole on your home course over the next 12 months (or in my case, “Par every hole…”)
This will help to give you something to play for every round, regardless of what your score is on that day.

10. Play in an open competition – use the search facility on ( )  to find an Open at a course you haven’t played before.

So, pick some of these, modify them (if necessary)  to make them achievable and take a few minutes to write them down.  Then think about what you’re going to work at in order to achieve your targets.  What will you need?  Lessons?  Time to practise?  If you can talk a friend into joining you it will help, as you can go to the practice ground or SkyTrak Studio together.  When you don’t feel like going, the fact that your friend is expecting to meet you there should be the encouragement you need to keep going.

Let me know how you get on!