Pro Tip #13

PGA Pro Tips: The Golf Breakdown

When seeking to improve at golf - or any other sport - it helps to know how to break the game down. Like the old saw "How do you eat an elephant?” breaking the game down to smaller parts will allow you to concentrate your efforts "one bite at a time."

For instance, we break golf down into three core components: Technique, Strategy, and Self. Technique is everything you do to swing a club and hit a ball. Strategy is knowing where to position yourself and what club and shot will get the job done. Self is everything you do to manage the way you think, feel, and act.

Then we break a core component like Technique into more specific areas such as driving, approach shots, short game, and putting. It's much the way a football coach might break down the game into Offense, Defense, and Special Teams, and then break down offense into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd down plays, or passing and running plays.

With these smaller bites we can now develop a Play Book. The Play Book includes drills, instruction, assessments, and benchmarks - everything we use to take action for that area of the game.

Once we have a play book we develop a Game Plan. The game plan serves as our strategic guide. It helps us keep sight of what we are trying to accomplish and the way we plan to accomplish our goal: what to focus on, how much time to spend, results to strive for, and more.

Our approach to game planning is to have students develop two really strong parts of their game while addressing the one part of their game that holds them back. The goal of every golfer should be to play from their areas of strength as often as possible.  

The last part of breaking the game down is measuring performance with benchmarking and stats. Benchmarks help us understand where we are, while stats tell us how we are doing on the journey.

The benefit of this approach is the flexibility. As our game changes, so does our game plan. Breaking the elephant down allows us to make a game plan, work our play book, and benchmark our progress - one bite at a time.