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The Tour Report

June 3 2013

12:51 PM

Mental Game: Stay motivated

Matt Kuchar has won three times in the last 13 months. (Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)

By Dr. Gregg Steinberg, Special to PGATOUR.COM

How do successful golfers stay motivated to practice and compete, day in and day out?

One of the best ways to keep the fire burning bright inside is by setting goals. Matt Kuchar stated that one of his goals this year was to be a multiple winner on the PGA TOUR.  With great play in tough conditions at Muirfield Village, Kuchar reached his goal with plenty to spare.

For the past 50 years, motivational researchers have discovered that goals direct effort and persistence to a given target area. Goals also guide our focus to the areas in need of improvement and are one of the best ways to increase our fire inside.

If you have lost some of your desire to practice your game (which is common), then I would recommend setting up a goal-setting program. Here is an example of an effective goal-setting program for being a better putter:

Step 1. Discover your baseline. First you will need to know how many putts you take per round. Let’s say that you average 40 putts per round.

Step 2. Set up realistic but challenging goals. A goal should be about 10 percent change to be realistic yet challenging. Thus, your goal should be to decrease to 36 putts per round.

Step 3. Create strategies to attain your goals. A good strategy would be to practice your putting three times a week for at least 15 minutes. Also, you could use a metronome to check your rhythm.

Step 4. Assess your improvement. Check your average each month. If you see improvement then stick with your plan. If not, then you will need to change your strategies. Perhaps you need to use a chalk line on the green to check your alignment each time your practice your putting.

Step 5. Adjust and set new goals. Once you reach your goals you will need to set new challenging goals.  For instance Matt Kuchar needs to set more challenging goals for the rest of the year such as win another tour event and/or major to keep him motivated.  Given his excellent mental game, I am sure Matt has already done this to stay ahead of the game!

Keep the fire burning bright in your golf game with an effective goal-setting program.   

Dr. Gregg Steinberg is a regular guest every Tuesday on “Talk of the TOUR” heard on the Sirius/XM PGA TOUR radio. He is a tenured professor of sports psychology and has been the mental game coach for many PGA TOUR players as well as top collegiate and junior golfer.  Dr. Gregg is the author of the best selling golf psychology book, MentalRules for Golf, and you can get your autographed copy at www.drgreggsteinberg.com.