In the age of modern golf apps is there still a place for a golf journal? There is something nostalgic and classy about a golf journal, but is a golf journal going to help you lower your scores?
In recent years journaling and self-reflection have moved back into fashion. However, this is more than just a fad. Research has shown that successful individuals in all walks of life can reap the benefits from journaling – so how can this be applied to your golf?
I believe a golf journal is a key tool in maximising your golfing progress. My only requirement is that the golfer in question attempt to play once per week and tries to invest one hour a week into practice.
If you want to improve your golf, and you meet the requirements above; read on. I will take you through the three key steps to golf journaling to lower your scores.
As you will see I’ve designed a golf journal specifically for this purpose. However, you are free to design your own on a blank pad.
Step 1: Golf journal – Playing data
The first step in your golf journal is to find out how you build your scores. Fairways/greens hit, and putts taken may sound old-fashioned, but they really do give a good starting point.
I’ve added a few others to the golf insider performance diary (see below), as I feel they add good value. Most club-level golfers will be surprised at some of the numbers they input. You can see in my example round below, I shot two over but only hit five fairways… I’d like to say I’m normally more accurate, but over time I have seen this is common for me at my home course.
Your first step in lowering your scores is to highlight the easy wins.
Are you having over 30 putts a round? Are you getting up and down less than 50% of the time? How many double bogeys are you making each round? These three areas are a tri-factor of ingredients that will ensure you always struggle to break 80, 90 or even break 100.
Once you have these key metrics you may wish to understand how these high-level metrics are being created. To help with this, I suggest a golf journal allows you to collect directional information. Where you miss/hit fairways and greens is golden information for practice and course management. Particularly as you move into being a single-figure golfer, and wish to keep progressing.
This information doesn’t have to be perfect, but a swift run through your round builds a great picture of your game. Do you have a big miss off the tee to the left? Are your approach shots all finishing short and right? You’ll be amazed how useful this is, and yet so few golfers do this!
Your golf journal is a great place to collect, store and collect this data.
The directional detail can and should be customised to suit your needs. If you’re missing too many greens, label the misses with the yardages you had in or clubs used. If you want to focus on improving your putting; scribe in your 1st putt distance and putts taken. This is where a personalised golf journal really beats a ‘one size fits all’ golf app.
“A golf journal is a personalised story of how you became great at golf. Make sure it continually adapts to reflect your needs”
Step 2: Golf Journal – How to practice
Once you have this information we’re off to the practice ground! Or driving range, or golf course. It really doesn’t matter how you practice, as long as you understand how to practice efficiently.
Each week you should aim to invest in two things – technical practice and practice to develop your golfing skill. If you really want to get good at performing I would also advise fitting in pressure practice at key points during the season.
The link above allows you to read more about how these types of practice differ. I also have some skills games for you to use. I will have a growing list of skills games on this site over time. To keep up to date just subscribe to the weekly post and they will be sent to your inbox.
How to practice your golf technique
To get the most from your technical practice I suggest the following:
- Have clear aims.
- Track and refine your swing thoughts.
- Ensure you have clear feedback on good and bad swings.
- Give yourself a mark of how many ‘good’ swings you made.
- feedforward ideas for your next practice.
As you can see, this is how I decided to lay out a page for keeping track of technical practice. However, you should add your personal touches. Draw pictures, brainstorm ideas. These pages should grow and develop as your golfing ability grows.
How to improve your golfing skill
From my experience as a coach, this is the area most golfers neglect. We all love the idea of building a perfect swing. However, golf is about getting the ball in the hole. You need to practice this.
Skills games are there to practice just that. Your focus should shift from working on your technique to getting the dam ball into the hole, or down the fairway. Here is where you really grow your golfing skill.
Here is an example of one of my favourite putting skills games – Round the Clock. Enjoy watching a much younger me in some snazzy golf shoes.
You should build a library of skills games that really challenge the areas of your game you need to improve.
They should all have some sort of scoring system. It can be a stage or distance you get back to – like round the clock. Or number of successful attempts in a row. Or anything else you would like to think of, you really can get creative.
In the Golf Insider Performance Diary, I wanted a set space to track these each week. Firstly to track your progress, but also to make golfers feel bad if they go a week leaving this page blank. Skills games are a critical ingredient in becoming a great golfer.
Step 2: Golf Journal – Repeat and refine
Once you have completed steps one and two, you are ready to step back onto the golf course. Here you can start to reap the rewards of your hard work, and see how you have improved.
Have you improved your big miss off the tee? Have you reduced your number of putts? Golf is inherently variable, so try to look at trends over 3-5 rounds rather than single observations. However, each week repeat the process, refine your swing thoughts. Beat your skills games top scores.
Focusing on this is the key to your golfing dreams.
If you would like to pick up your copy of The Golf Insider Performance Diary you can follow this link, or click on the image below.
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