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“A Goal without a plan is just a wish”

Updated: Mar 18, 2021

This quote always comes to mind at the beginning of the year as students begin to make goals for the year and come up with a number of new year’s resolutions that will most likely at some point, fall by the waist side!!

Goals are great to have, but in order to actually achieve them you need to create a plan, and to create that plan you must break the goal up into a number of smaller chunks, and commitments that you will abide by in order to achieve those goals.

This process is something that I do at the beginning of every year as a way of holding myself accountable as the year goes on. Over the last 10 years I have tweaked this process almost every year in order to perfect my formula in order to achieve my goals, that said your formula may be slightly different, but I hope this will give you a reasonable starting point to help you in 2021. If there is one thing I can promise you is that there is no “Correct way” to do this, you must make a start somewhere and begin to perfect your own formula as you go on.

Start with an assessment

To begin with your plan you must first look back at what you have done to date. I start by looking back at the last 12 months. If you had set goals 12 months ago, take a quick look and see if you have achieved them or not. Then get a notebook and answer 3 questions:

1) What did I do well in the last 12 months?

2) What could I have done better in the last 12 months?

3) How could I do these better in the next 12 months?

Go Big or Go Home!

Our next step is to set our Big Goals!! These goals are often things that are actually out of our control, and part of this step is to accept that very fact. Things such as winning tournaments, achieving a score or making a team will fall into this category. But when setting this you must accept that they happen purely as a consequence of completing our next steps successfully.

With big goals I normally try to set somewhere between 2 and 4 goals. The reason for this is that if you set a single goal, it may be too narrow a target and as a result can add extra pressure to one point of the season. If you go above 4 I have found that you will spread yourself too thin and none of them get completed! Everyone will have a different number, but 3 tends to be my ideal starting point.

Checkpoints are Key

The next step is to break those big goals down into “checkpoints” or “Stepping Stones” These should essentially be small markers that mean you are getting closer to your end goals.

Big Goal Example: “Shoot a score of 66 or better in a tournament”

Assessment: “My best score in a tournament last year was 70”


· Hit 16 GIR in Practice

· Hit 14 GIR in Tournament

· Make 8 Birdies in a practice round

· Make 7 Birdies in a tournament

· Shoot 67 in a practice round

· Shoot 68 in a tournament

These would offer some great starting checkpoints based on where you currently are based on your assessment. As you begin to tick these off we will raise the bar and add in another checkpoint. These can be based on specific areas of the game, the amount of birdies made or even how you approach each shot. Eventually, as we add checkpoints, they will get closer and closer to our big goal and all going well, eventually they will surpass it!

It must be noted that these checkpoints, are still out of your control! With all the will in the world you may not make some of these, that is where our next step is the most important of all!

All In! – Are you committed?

This is to me, the single most important step in the process, this is where the rubber meets the road and you have full control of the outcome. Our commitments are essentially the actions which we promise to do in order to achieve our goals. These promises are made only to ourselves, but we must hold ourselves accountable to them and stand by them at all times. The best advice I can give when setting these commitments is start small and over achieve, rather than promising the sun, the moon and the stars and doing none of them. I would much rather a student commit to working out 3 times a week and they end up doing 5, than someone committing to 7 days a week and after 5 weeks of only working out twice they give up. Be realistic!!

To continue our example from earlier of trying to shoot 66, my commitments may look something like this:

· Practice for 4 hours per week

· Play 18 holes at least once per week

· Work out 3 times per week

· Journal before and after each round

These commitments may seem very simple, but sticking to them every week most certainly is not! If you do find that you have an easy time in completing them, then feel free to add and a later stage, but don’t over stretch to begin. Similar to our checkpoints start with good habits build upon a solid foundation once you are consistently achieving them.


You can never be short if inspiration, and luckily it comes in many shapes and forms!! Inspiration can be pictures, videos, songs or my personal favourite….. Quotes! I will leave you with one of my favourites:

Making a Start

To help you with this process feel free to click the below link and download our goal setting sheet and begin to make a great plan and achieve your goals!

TPC Goals 2021 - TEMPLATE
Download DOCX • 78KB

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