Aim Small. Win Big!

“Aim small, miss small” is one of my favorite movie quotes from the film The Patriot. It is certainly a key principle for success on the golf course and in life. I’d take it one step further and propose “Aim Small. Win Big.”

Tuesday, a friend of mine, Justin, and I played a round at Tobacco Road near Sanford, NC. Few courses epitomize this lesson as well as Tobacco Road. The Mike Strantz design features multiple elevation changes, blind shots, and undulating green complexes. Some shots require such deft precision that par or double bogey are separated by feet or inches versus yards (I am pretty sure there were colored lights and a Clown’s mouth on one hole). It was a great experience, but not a course I would fancy playing regularly. However, if you are seeking a course where you can learn valuable life lessons, Tobacco Road will not disappoint.
In golf, one of the greatest things you can do for your game is learn to pick the smallest possible target to hit. Doing so will minimize any resulting distance from a perfectly placed shot. Have you ever played darts, practiced archery, or shooting? If so, do you aim at the bulls-eye or just the target as a whole? My guess is the bulls-eye. This allows us to hit closest to the mark of perfection. Focusing on a small or specific target also uses more energy and focus which mutes the noise of distractions, pitfalls, and compromise. This results in our ability to make confident decisions and accurate execution.
Next time you practice or play, pick the smallest target you can find. Instead of aiming at the fairway or green, aim at a small spot in line with the fairway or green (golf architects usually place trees, bunkers, and other land marks to give us a bulls-eye).
I have learned this principle is also true in life. We are all taught to set goals in order to achieve what we want out of life. Are they specific enough? Or broad and vague? Here are 3 targeting tips to help you Aim small and Win BIG!
1. Clear Vision– Sometimes goals are too far away to see clearly. Pick an intermediate target in line with your goals, that you can see and visualize hitting. When I am hitting off the tee to a spot 300 yards away, I will usually have a target in between that I can specifically see.
2. One Target– It is impossible to aim at two things. Try reading two different pages at the same time. Our eyes will focus on one or the other and usually will not comprehend either. Pick one target at a time.
3. Command yourself– Speak out-loud what you are going to do. The subconscious mind works like a gyroscope and seeks what you tell it. Saying specifically where you want to go or what you want to do, your mind gravitates your thoughts and actions to make your words come to pass. Note: the mind doesn’t distinguish between negative and positive. So focus and speak only what you want. If you say “don’t hit it out-of-bounds” your mind hears “HIT it out-of-bounds.”

Most people play a par 5 just trying to hit it as far as they can until they land on the green. A green 500 yards away is too BIG of a target. Chances are, one or more of your shots will leave you in a position of weakness to make par or birdie (your goal). Its ironic that most people also    take that approach to their life. Just going through with some end goal 60 years from now sipping smoothies on a tropical island. Too Big! Pick a specific target off the Tee, Lay up to your best yardage into the green, and leave yourself an approach to the green from a position of strength. You will more times than not give yourself a chance at birdie and at worst make par. Either way you accomplish your goal and the journey is more fun and the process more beneficial for reaching future goals. Take the same approach in your journey towards having a successful life, AIM SMALL! and WIN BIG!