PGA Professional, Mike Thomas and 2022 PGA Champion, Justin Thomas during the Trophy Presentation the 2022 PGA Championship at the Southern Hills on May 22, 2022 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Montana Pritchard/PGA of America)
If you’re an avid professional golf fan, you look forward to Justin Thomas posting a picture of his goals for the tournament season every year. Thomas does not peep a word of his goals until the season is completed- he keeps them to himself, and to his notes app on his phone. At the completion of the season he goes through those bullet points on his notes app and adds the appropriate emoji beside the goal for whether or not he accomplished each feat.
Justin Thomas actually sparked a motivation in me when I first saw him post a picture of his goals in 2018. Immediately after this, I opened up my notes app and made a list of goals for my next college golf season at Boston University. Along with this, I would make a list of goals for every tournament to remain focused from week to week.
Setting goals is one of the more important steps to keeping a strong and motivated mental game on the golf course. Just because you are not playing on the Tour, does not mean you cannot set goals for yourself.
As a golf coach/teacher myself, one of the first questions I ask a new student is: “What are your goals for taking lessons, and what are your goals for your golf game?” A goal can be as simple as “have fun on the golf course,” or as specific as “hit 14 greens in regulation every round while averaging a 75 scoring average or lower.” I have seen both, and both are just as beneficial.
It is best to decide what motivates you: if you remain more motivated with short-term goals, or long-term. Short term goals can be a wide range of things if you are playing in tournaments week to week, or just starting out. Long-term goals are more like the Justin Thomas goals: amount of tournaments to win, end of season strokes gained stats, amount of top 10s, and so on.
If you are just starting out in golf, making goals for your golf journey can create so much internal and mental satisfaction for yourself. Making your first par, hitting your first successful bunker shot, hitting your first drive over 200 yards and so much more can help you put how much progress you are making on paper (or on a notes app).
It is okay if you do not reach your original goals. Justin Thomas had a few red “X” marks beside his bullet points, and he still expressed how proud of himself he was. He did win a PGA Championship, remember.
This can open doors for making new goals, or ignite an even stronger motivation to complete the goal next time. The goals you make are for yourself, not for anyone else. You are the one standing over the ball in the end.
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