Goal Setting with Golf

Last year I set myself a golfing goal to get my handicap to 5.5 by my 55th birthday in August 2023. At the time, I just thought of it as a way to give my golf a focus. But as I sat reflecting on 2022, I realised that it had been a big driver in achieving many other goals that were not golf-related.

January is when we set goals for ourselves, but how often do we achieve them? How often are the goals ones which have a tangible outcome? All too often, goals are vague such as “lose weight” or “get fitter”, but what does that mean to us, what does it look like and why do we truly want to do it? Understanding the why, believing in it and committing to it makes it so much easier to adhere to. 

When I decided to get my handicap down, it was all about the actual golf, having lessons to improve my swing. But after a month, I wanted to ramp up my gym training. The training is golf specific and allows me to work on weaknesses in my swing. But no matter what you are training for, it will make you stronger, increase mobility and improve your health. 

As a post-menopausal woman maintaining/increasing muscle mass is incredibly important for my health, not just because of osteoporosis risks but also to help brain health, cardiovascular health and longevity. 

As a result of training three times a week over nine months, my muscle mass has increased significantly, and my dress size has dropped significantly, which ironically, for the first time in years, was not a goal! 

For all golfers, training is such an important thing to do, whether you want to reduce your handicap or just continue to play as you age. Not only will it help your strength and mobility, but it will help to reduce injuries and pain.

As a yoga teacher, I am very aware of the benefits and importance of meditation and how much it can enhance your life when you have a daily practice. As a golfer, I believe that it is not the flexibility side of yoga that has the greatest impact on your game but the meditation and breathing. In my golf fitness classes, we always include a “white ball meditation” at the end of each class, and having my golf goal has helped me to get back into a daily meditation practice.

My handicap is currently 9.4, so I still have a way to go to get to my goal. The next four to lose will be the hardest, but I have now shot several rounds in the mid-70s, equating to a five handicap. My swing is getting closer to where I want it to be and more consistent. The training has made me stronger, so I am starting to hit the ball further and I am getting better at staying in the present when I have those good rounds and not getting carried away by the what-ifs! 

I am hopeful that the next eight months will get me to where I want to be, but if I don’t make it to 5.5, then even though I have not reached my initial goal, I will be stronger and fitter than when I started and my handicap will be lower, so that’s a win-win!

So when you are thinking about goals for 2023, make them a goal that helps to improve your health and fitness, a goal for you, not something you think you should do. Most importantly, make it a goal that you believe in. 

Ann de Jongh is a health and wellbeing coach and runs golf fitness classes.

+351 913 202 621



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