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The winter is the perfect time to create great habits. Practicing with purpose will greatly improve your ability to shoot lower golf scores in the long run. The key to quality practice is to implement SMART goals into your practice sessions, remember to warm up correctly, and complete your routine before each shot.

SMART goals can be defined as Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. When setting goals, it is vitally important that each goal meets the SMART criteria. An example of poor goal setting includes saying ‘I want to be a better driver of the ball before the season starts’, but you just stand on the range for three months and aimlessly hit drivers for the duration. Good SMART goal setting would be something like: ‘I want to improve my driving accuracy this season from 30% fairways per round to 65% fairways. I have three months to work towards this goal and I will spend all months improving my technique visiting the range three times per week. In month two I will research and add in strategy improvements and month three will also add in shot shaping. After each month I will review my progress.

Great golfers always warm up before a practice session. A full warm up will not only prevent injury but it will also enable you to make swing changes easier and excel your performances quicker. This is because you will be able to swing with confidence and flexibility, which allows you to make the swing changes quicker or even engrain swing patterns to a more consistent level. Warmups come in all shapes and sizes, but you need to create one that is right for you!

The UK winters withdraw us to the driving range, which means that we should utilise the time we have whilst we can. Every session you have on the driving range should have a plan of what you want to achieve. You should have a specific focus on what areas of your game you need to work on and with the implementation of SMART goals and a great warm up you should start to see some great game improvements before the season starts. Your sessions could vary massively but they can include anything from dialling in your yardages, practicing shot shaping or improving technique, among other verticals. If you can introduce great practice structure throughout this winter period, you will undoubtedly become more consistent and ultimately lower your scores.

Remember, whether you’re playing in a local club competition, county champs or The Open, remember to practice with a purpose, set SMART Goals and warm up in a great manner. Your performances are sure to improve.

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