Make your summer count

I already know you want to play better golf and improve your game. Everyone does. How are you going to make sure this is the summer that means something, that gets you finally on track with your game?

I’ve spent the last 20 plus years working with junior golfers and have run my own academy here in Central Florida, the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy, since 2008. The key to success for our juniors in the Full-Time Junior Program and our Summer Camps, and other juniors alike, is a plan for development.

And that’s exactly what you need to make your summer count. You’re going to play your best golf this summer if you follow these simple steps I’ve outlined for you here:

Set goals

At the start of our Summer Camp, we always discuss with each student their goals and what they wish to accomplish.

The key here is being realistic. If you’re an eight handicap, breaking 80 would be a solid break through.

These goals must be specific for you. If you have a poor attitude and poor outlook but turn it around with a clear set of goals with focus and dedication, that’s going to help you tremendously with your game.

Create a practice plan

This part starts even before the summer. What are the specifics drills you are going to implement into your practice to improve in the different areas of your game?

If you’re finding you have more than 30 putts in a round, what is your area for improvement? Is it reading greens, short putts, long putts, attitude, self-talk or body language?

Once you find what your area for improvement is, you can focus on those specific things to get better. The plan plays a huge part of the Full-Time Junior and the Summer Camp programs here at GGGA. The key is the plan for improvement and dedicating time to work on the different parts of your game: short game, full swing, putting, mental training, etc. and creating a schedule for your yourself to key in on those areas.

This really helps improve the quality of what you are doing. This plan is like having a GPS for your game. If you get off track, the plan will pull you back on track so you don’t waste your time driving in circles, searching for answers.

Prepare to play, Prepare to win

This part of the game is completely different from the technical side and involves tapping into your creativity, decision-making and shot-making ability.

Learning how to control your wedges, shaping the ball both ways, controlling your trajectory, hitting from difficult lies, playing with the wind and so on.

As your confidence and self-image builds, you start getting yourself in contention to win. Confidence comes from success and performing under pressure through quality practice.

When you’re controlling your ball, your confidence builds. When your confidence builds, you win and before you know it, you’re Jordan Spieth playing in the Masters at a very high level.

But this also starts in how you’re warming up before you play.

So many players, I see them getting frustrated. They’re already getting negative, and they haven’t even gone to the first tee. But if you’ve put in the preparation, hitting different shots from around the course, practicing little chip shots, shots off slopes, you will be prepared to play, and ultimately, you’ve prepared to win.

Evaluate your game

No matter the program at GGGA, we assess each student prior to any training. This allows us to find each student’s areas for improvement.

Honestly assessing your game helps you know what you need to work on. I find today many juniors and college players, they accept where they are shooting 84, 85.

You need to look at your game and assess what you’re doing well and be realistic on what you need to improve. This is where the practice plan comes back into play.

It’s about stepping back from afar and being logical about your current ability.

Stay fit and rested

Often overlooked but also very important.

Our students go through different conditioning, strength and flexibility training routines during all programs and I encourage you to do the same. Make sure you’re eating right and drinking enough water, helping your energy levels and state of mind.

In the summertime, it’s very hot and humid, but if you’re fit, those days wear on you a little bit less. You can swim, bike, run, whatever you prefer to do to get a little cardio in as part of your routine. You’ll sleep better, feel rejuvenated and be prepared for those long days at the course.

But likewise, rest and balance is also important, especially in the summer, playing day after day, week after week. Take a day off and recharge and relax. This part is just as important as putting in your practice.

Follow these tips and make your summer count!