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I have always had high expectations for my golf. These expectations have brought me quickly into the ranks of the advanced women, but at times, they've also managed to steal my entire focus away from having fun.

I am not a very good goal-setter. Thanks to the PDGA, however, it's easy for me examine my scores, track and graph them and my round ratings, and generally use it as another tool to assess my progress. Disc golf has helped me to rediscover the joy of achieving personal goals.

As the 2008 Oregon Series approaches, I've been mentally formulating how I want my season to look. I try to be very specific in my visualization about how my throws will look (perfect, of course), how my body and mind feel when I'm playing my best golf, and of course, how good it feels to win and hold a trophy in my hands! After much rumination, I've come up with 5 goals that encompass the improvements I want to see in my game at the end of the season.

1. Have Fun

It's a game! That's the point, right? We golfers tend to be a bit perfectionistic, and let's be honest--we've all had our meltdowns. Some people DNF, some people throw their bags...personally, I curse a lot, stop talking and laughing, and cry--if the feeling of failure is strong enough to pervade my other senses of self. GAWD! This season, I'm going to do my best to fill myself with gratitude for the course, for the day, for the golf, for the female camaraderie, for a strong and healthy body, and for the fun!

2. Play My Best Golf

One of the things that separate novices to aficionados (in any skill or criteria) is the ability to accurately self-assess. We all know somebody who thinks they’re the shit at something they love to do and the whole world around them knows they suck. Then there are people who are so self-critical that they simply can’t and won’t ever be good enough at anything (they usually stop trying, so you don’t see them very often). In the middle are people who can compare their performance against others’ and who generally have a good sense of how their skills rank against others’. Those tend to be the people who really get good at something they love to do. The PROBLEM with using this fantastic sense of comparison during a competitive round of golf—for me—is that I tend to focus on the games of my round mates, thinking about the golf that I have to beat, instead of focusing on my game, my golf, my performance. The result is not good! This is why I’m going to remind myself to have fun, then remind myself to play my golf, my BEST golf, every time I step up to throw.

3. Par

At my level of women’s golf, par golf is winning golf.

Par golf is winning golf.

I’m finally at a place in my game where I can realistically par almost every hole (except for a couple at Milo, and even then I’m close). No matter what kind of hole I just had, I want to step up to every hole and par. I know the path to par golf is paved with putting practice…but that’s getting into my training goals, not my season goals. Though, I should blog about those goals, too.

4. Top 3 Finisher: Tourneys and Series

A lofty goal! So my highest finish last year in a single tournament was fourth place at the Eugene Celebration. Third place was only one point lower than mine. This season, I believe I am in a position where I can place in the top three of every Oregon Series tournament. To do this, I will have to play my best golf EVERY HOLE. And, of course, top three placements equal a top three finish for the series…

5. Player Rating: 825

By the end of the season, I would like to have a player rating of at least 825. This sounds impossible, since I’m at 760 right now. But here’s the thing: Last year, I started the Oregon Series with NO player rating. After the first player ratings came out, I had a 699. I was super disappointed when they changed again and I had only gone up 11 points to 710. After the season ended, however, and some of my strongest tournaments were factored in, I ended up with a 760. My goal was to finish the season with a 750, so even though it felt impossible when I had a 710, a 50-point jump is totally plausible for me in a couple months time. That being said, I know my rating should go up at the end of April to reflect some strong rounds I had over the winter in the Stumptown series. I’d love to be coming up on 900 when I turn PRO APRIL 2009!

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Comment by essjay on April 17, 2008 at 7:18pm
Love the goals sista! I'd like to steal them from you, but I missplaced my confidence and I need to go find that instead!

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