It is certainly the time of year again when the days are short and the nights are long. It seems to be permanently dark and it can be very easy to let the darkness of the days affect the darkness of our mood.
It is often tough to keep going solo on things and making the effort on your own. Golf can sometimes be a solitary offering and those who play their sport in teams have a natural support network. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you decide to take some decisive action yourself.
I know of a number of proactive people who last year decided in January to create their own range club. They had to think of a number of people who they knew really wanted to play better golf in the year ahead but weren’t doing anything about it, so they took action by ringing up a number of others golfers and organising their own range session. Other sports do this as a normal action, in that Tuesday night and Thursday night is often a training for football or rugby.
If you enlist a number of like-minded people and you pick a couple of nights a week so that, for instance, Monday night at 7pm and Wednesday night at 7pm are range club nights.
You agree to get together at the range and collectively do some work on your games. If you can get over six people this really works because it becomes self-sufficient in the sense you will know others will turn up even though you might be thinking the weather is too horrible to bother. In knowing this fact you are far more likely to make the effort yourself. If you can get your pro involved in this then even better and for him it can prove financially beneficial as you will all be taking lessons from him at a time when you would normally not bother.
Once at the range the fun can really start as you can then engage in some really meaningful practice. Do some work on your swing but then get cracking on some challenges. Play a game I created called 10 Chance, whereby you create a fairway on the range of 25 yards and you all get 10 chances to hit that fairway. You note down the score of how many you got within the fairway and there can be a winner for the evening. Or you can play an eliminator where the lowest score is eliminated until there is only one survivor.
The point being with this kind of practice is it simulates the real thing. Having to hit fairways in the presence of other people under a little bit of peer pressure is real quality practice because you are placing yourself in realistic conditions. The other upside to this is it is fun. You are gaining a social support group propelling you towards a better season in 2018.
The most important thing I can say though is you need to be the one to take action. Draw up the list, make the phone call, decide on the nights to go and make it happen. Action is the ultimate key and I see the problem on a daily basis that we are drowning in information but taking less action. We can read all we want about practice routines, launch monitors, psychology, you name it, but nothing will happen to your game unless you actually do something different than you have done before.
What you also have the chance to set in motion is what I call the group effect, whereby when one of your group starts to shoot lower, it is amazing how this can motivate others in the same group. There can be a sense of, ‘if he can do it then so can I’.
Creating an environment of supportive people around you is one of the single biggest factors, not just in golf but in your business, your fitness or your life in general. Surround yourself with good people on a regular basis and amazing things can happen. Make it happen, don’t wait for it to happen. Just think if you enjoy some great rounds in the summer sun this season then those days will have begun in the dark days of winter and a decision to do something instead of nothing.