ConnectingWomen

 

How to Get Your "Touch" Back

Touch around the green will help you improve your scoring opportunities.

If you’ve had time away from your golf game due to weather, work, an illness or injury, you are likely excited to get back to golf. Many players who return for the first time will comment they are “knocking the rust off” their swing or their game. So how do you get your touch back and quickly get into your golf groove?

Work on getting comfortable with the feel of the golf club. If you are inside, practice your grip and waggle the club from side-to-side until you “feel” the weight of the club head in your hands. This is a great drill to get the feel back in your hands. Also work on grip pressure – be careful to not grip the club too tightly. You want the same grip pressure or tension as you have on the steering wheel of your car…holding the club too tightly causes tension in your forearms and prohibits a good golf swing.

Next step is to practice some putts (may be done inside to a small target) or on the practice green. Your focus is on distance control more than accuracy. Again, get a feel for the stroke and rolling the golf ball. If you are practicing outside, start with short three foot putts and gradually move back (one putter length or three feet each time) until you are 20’ to 30’ away. Continue to focus on distance rather than trying to make the ball in the hole. Move to chipping, pitching and bunker shots to help get a feel for those short game shots. Your target area should be a three foot area near the hole – so people will lay a towel down on the green and use that as a target as well.

Finally, don’t forget to get your body ready for golf as well. Stretch and condition your body for the upcoming golf season including your legs and feet. Perform some exercises so your body is ready for that first round on the course. If you prefer to walk when playing golf, get out and walk prior to playing the first time. Make sure you have comfortable golf shoes when walking the course as well. As always, consult your physician before beginning any stretching program and know your limitations. By getting your touch back, you’ll be ready when you step up to the first tee.

 

How to Practice Effectively

Make effective use of your time on the practice range with these tips.

Most golfers would rather play golf than practice, however, when you look at the time element of playing vs. practicing, you can accomplish much more in an hour of practice, than you can in two to four hours of playing.  That said, most golfers don’t really know how to practice effectively and simply go to the practice facility and hit golf ball after golf ball until the bucket is empty.  Let’s take a look at how to practice effectively that will best help your game.

  1. Practice a specific skill – many people think practicing involves beating balls at the practice facility and often times fail to spend time practicing their short game (pitching, chipping, bunker play and putting.)  If you are struggling with a specific part of your game (off the tee, fairway, approach shots or putting) or particular club (driver, fairway woods, hybrids, mid-irons or short irons) take time to practice and gain confidence again.
     
  2. Set goals for practice – rather than just hitting endless golf balls, begin your practice session with a specific goal (to hit your 7 iron at the 100 yard flag well for seven out of 10 golf balls.)  This gives you a measurable goal that helps you determine how effective the practice session is going for you.  Many times golfers hit ball after ball without a specific target or goal in mind and judge the “effectiveness” of the shot by whether it went in the air or went straight.  You will be happier with goals that you can measure and achieve.
     
  3. Create a plan – this goes with setting goals for practice.  Once you determine a club or skill to practice and have goals for practice, you can create a plan that helps you meet your goals.  Create situations that you might find on the golf course.  Do you really hit five hybrid shots in a row on the course?  Then why do golfers hit 10-15 shots in a row with one club at the practice range?  Practice like you are playing a few of your favorite holes – hit a driver, then a hybrid and a short iron and strive for three good shots in a row.  This will help your confidence and easily transition your good practice time to the golf course.
     
  4. Measure results – now that you have specific goals and a plan to achieve those goals, it’s time to evaluate how your practice session ended.  Keep a record of your goals and how your practice session was so you can make changes and revise the goals.  This will help you recognize what you may wish to concentrate on during the next practice session.  Don’t get discouraged if your practice didn’t go as well as planned – this allows you to concentrate on a trouble-some area next time. 

Golfers who dedicate time for practice quickly learn their strengths and weaknesses.  By practicing effectively you will soon see the benefits from your good practice habits on the golf course.

Focus on Your Fundamentals

Focus on the fundamentals, including the grip, as you restart your season

If your golf season has been hampered by winter weather, no doubt you are excited to get back out on the golf course.  Start by looking at and reviewing your fundamentals before you head to the practice facility or for that first round of the season.  Reviewing and practicing your fundamentals is the best way to improve.

Posture – how you stand to address the golf ball is important in your golf swing.  It determines the path of the club so it’s important to work on your posture (even without a golf club.)  You can work on your posture inside, outside, at the gym, the office or wherever you are comfortable.  Stand with a slight bend in your knees (so you can see the laces in your shoes – with a slight knee flex.)  With your arms hanging at your side, place your hands just above your knees.  This creates a perfect position for your golf posture – now let your arms hang again – move them in front of you like you are gripping a club.  Practice this a few times a day and when you head out to play, you will feel comfortable and have great posture.  

Grip – how you hold the club in your hand.  As Ben Hogan once said, “Good golf begins with a good grip.”  The grip choice (interlock, overlap or baseball) is personal preference but reviewing the basic fundamentals will help.  Take your normal grip and check to see if your right hand covers your left thumb (for a right-handed player).  A favorite drill of mine is to take two golf tees and put one in each hand, right between your thumb and index finger.  Then take your grip and see if the golf tees line up or are pointed in opposite directions.  Ideally you want the golf tees lined up, so work on adjusting your hands on the club until they line up with the shaft of the club.    

Aim – lining your body and club to the desired target.  Get in the habit of standing behind your ball and looking at your target.  Then pick a spot (grass, divot, broken tee, discolored grass or weed, etc.) that is about a foot in front of the ball.  As you take your stance, aim the clubface at the spot, then align your body with the clubface.  This is a great pre-shot routine that can be used with every swing and will help you line up toward your target and not setting up to the right or left.  Most amateur golfers tend to line up to the right of their intended target but think they are fading or slicing the ball to the right, when in fact are hitting it straight, but just lining up incorrectly.  Practicing with an alignment rod (or a golf club) at your feet helps with aim. 

Ball Position – where the ball is in your stance.  There are two locations for ball position – moving the ball forward and back in your stance and how close or far the ball is from your body.  Most Professionals will teach ball position for the driver and woods as being just inside the heel of your forward foot.  As you move to irons, it’s usually accepted to play irons from the middle of your stance or where the golf club is at the lowest point of the swing.  As far as how close to stand to the golf ball, a simple check-point is to take your grip with the club and hold your golf club straight in front of your body (parallel to the ground.)  Now move back to your set-up position and where the club makes contact with the ground is where the ball should be in your stance.  As the club length increases, you will stand a bit farther from the ball. 

Practice your golf fundamentals so they become comfortable and you’ll be on your way to hitting better shots and lowering your scores.

Accessorize like the Pros

Colorful golf tees surround a white golf ball

In addition to having clubs you like in your bag, there are additional accessories to keep in your bag to make your round comfortable. You may not need all the items during every round, but it’s good to have these items in your bag, should you need them. Take an inventory of what’s in your bag and add the missing items below, before you head out to the golf course.

  • Golf Clubs - maximum of 14 clubs, including a putter
  • Golf Balls – carry the number of golf balls that’s similar to your handicap (a single digit handicap golfer need not carry two dozen golf balls in his/her bag)
  • Tees and Ball Markers – you probably only need two or three of each in your pocket – not half a dozen of each. They weigh down your pocket as well as your golf bag
  • Permanent Marker (Sharpie®) – to put an identifying mark on your golf ball
  • Divot Repair Tool – to repair ball marks on the green. Be kind and repair your mark plus one other one.
  • Golf Glove/rain gloves – keep a spare glove in the event yours tears or if you play in hot weather. Rain gloves are often times used in hot, humid weather in addition to rainy weather
  • Rain jacket/golf umbrella – if it’s not raining or threatening to rain, leave in the car so you don’t weigh down your bag
  • Towel – wet on one end to keep your clubs and golf ball clean
  • Rangefinder or GPS device – golfers of all abilities will benefit from knowing the distance to the hole or where trouble may be on a hole. Some prefer GPS with a map of the hole, while others like the exact number a rangefinder provides. Pace of Play improves if you use one so you don’t walk around looking for yardage markers and distances.
  • Hat or Visor – to protect eyes, ears and face from sun and glare
  • Sunscreen – apply half an hour before going out in the sun and re-apply if you perspire
  • Bug spray – Try not to spray it on yourself while on the golf course as it kills the grass – stand on the cart path or apply in the locker room (if using spray vs. lotion)
  • Band-Aids®, pain reliever (aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc.) – no one wants to pay $3 at the clubhouse for two aspirin. Keep your own in your bag.
  • Healthful snacks (almonds, nuts, raisins, fruit, veggies, Granola bars, energy bars, protein bars, etc.) – much better for you than the hot dog and candy bar at the turn.
  • Water bottle – to fill with water from a drinking fountain or water cooler. Stay hydrated!
  • Business cards – you never know who you will meet on the golf course – come prepared with business cards for networking
  • Cash – comes in handy for use on the beverage cart or if you are playing a friendly wager with your partner and/or opponents or the outside staff who cleans your clubs after the round. Remember some facilities don’t have an ATM on site and may not cash checks.
  • USGA Rules of Golf book – for reference should a Rules question need an answer during the round

Include your name and phone number on your clubs, umbrella and ball retriever. Without a doubt, you will leave a club (or two) on the course during your golf career. Stickers for your clubs can be purchased at most golf shops, golf stores and online or you may also use address labels or make your own. Having your contact information on it helps you reunite with the lost items not deposited in the golf shop “Lost and Found” box. Add these items to your golf bag to make your round more enjoyable.

Picking the Right Set of Golf Clubs

We are big fans of golfers getting properly fit for their equipment (see last week's article on 'The Importance of Club Fitting'). Once you go through the club fitting process, your Professional or club fitter will help you determine your set composition (the number of woods, irons, hybrids and wedges) or make-up of clubs in your bag.  This means thinking about which clubs you plan to put in your bag to get to your 14 club limit.  I like to call it, “What to use…and what to lose.”

Years ago when you bought a set of clubs, you automatically purchased eight irons – a 3 iron through pitching wedge.  There wasn’t much difference from the manufacturer other than sometimes a set of eight irons included 4 iron through pitching wedge plus a sand wedge.  Since most irons were sold in sets of eight irons, a typical set “composition” was eight irons, plus a driver, 3-wood and 5-wood, pitching wedge, sand wedge and putter.

As golf technology evolved and hybrid clubs were introduced, it was a great opportunity, especially for women to ditch the harder-to-hit 3 and 4 iron, while adding a few easier to hit hybrid clubs in their place.  The hybrid clubhead usually looks similar to a fairway wood but has an iron-like face, lie angle, length and weight making it launch like an iron and generally easier to hit.

The benefit of going through a club fitting is you can purchase five, six or however many irons you like – there is no pre-determined number of irons you have to purchase.  Your local PGA/LPGA Professional or club fitter can help you determine your set composition as you go through a club fitting.  Perhaps your set begins with a six iron through pitching wedge (5 irons), sand wedge and lob wedge, two or three hybrids, a driver and two fairway woods and a putter.  You have the unique ability to determine your set composition based on the clubs you like and use.  Also, don’t limit yourself to just one wedge – have a minimum of two or three wedges with different lofts and bounce to help you hit different yardages and shots.

For women, it's important to have the right clubs in your bag that you like to hit and will help make the game a bit easier and more fun.

 

 

The Importance of Club Fitting

If you are a seasoned golfer or even a new golfer, chances are you’ve heard about club fitting – but wonder if you should consider custom fit clubs.  Many golfers think club fitting is for the tour professionals and not amateur players.  I like to ask people, if you have a size 8 foot, would you wear size 10 shoes?  Most likely not, yet golfers appear content playing with equipment that is not custom fit for them and their golf game.

Research shows that 92 percent of golfers don’t play with the right clubs for their swing – so this means once you get custom fit, you will see an immediate improvement in your game.  Women more than men, tend to “accumulate” handed-down clubs – which many times are too long and too heavy – not to mention have larger and usually worn grips.  Treat yourself to the experience of club fitting to make sure your clubs are right for you.  Your session may cost between $50 and $100 (depending on full fitting or just a few clubs) but most Professionals and fitters will credit the fitting fee toward a purchase if you buy new clubs.

How do you get started?  Visit your local PGA/LPGA Professional or club fitter and ask to have your current clubs fit for your body type, height and swing.  You can schedule a club fitting to check your current clubs and the club fitter can make adjustments to your set based on the results of the club fitting.  If you are in the market for new clubs, you will definitely want to be fit for the new clubs so they are made for your body type, height and swing speed to help you achieve the best results.

Many variables and characteristics will be evaluated during your fitting, including the shaft type (steel or graphite) shaft flex (women’s light, regular, stiff, etc.) loft and lie angle, hand size (to determine proper grip size), grip and swing speed.  You can imagine a five-foot female would not want the same clubs as a six-foot male – and vise-versa.  Perhaps you feel like your 7-iron and 8-iron go the same distance – this could be due to the fact that both clubs have the same loft – and your Professional or club fitter can check this for you.

Ask your Professional or club fitter to help you determine the distances you are hitting the clubs.  Ideally you should have a difference of 10 yards between each club (if your 6-iron goes 130 yards, the 7-iron should go 120 yards, the 8-iron 110 yards, etc.)  

If you decide it’s time for new clubs, now what do you do with the old clubs?  Before you find a spot for them in the garage, basement or attic, ask your Professional or club fitter if he or she accepts trade-ins.  Similar to trading in a vehicle, golf club trade-ins are hassle-free and allow you to earn credit toward purchasing new clubs.  The value depends on the condition and age of the clubs, but the industry standard PGA.com Value Guide can give you an idea what the fair market value for your equipment will be if traded-in. 

You will enjoy the game more with properly fit equipment and will soon save a few strokes each round.

Here's What's New in Equipment for 2017

Every year Golf Digest releases their "Hot List". Check out the 2017 preview below!

 

The annual PGA Merchandise Show just wrapped up a little over a week ago with more than 1,100 vendors showcasing their equipment, apparel, accessories, etc. to the more than 40,000 people in attendance. This is the chance for golf manufacturers to show their “latest and greatest” to golf Professionals and buyers, who will in turn offer the equipment and products for consumers. Every year Golf Digest magazine hosts a “Hot List Summit” at The Wigwam in Litchfield Park, Arizona where clubs are tested and evaluated for the Golf Digest Hot List. A full detailed list of clubs and their ratings will be in the March 2017 issue of Golf Digest or can be found online at GolfDigest.com.

Here’s a sneak peak of what to expect for 2017 for each club category (those earning GOLD ratings):

  • Drivers
    • Callaway Big Bertha Fusion
    • Callaway GBB Epic / GBB Epic Sub Zero
    • Cobra King F7 / F7+
    • Cobra King LTD Black
    • PING G/ G LS Tec / G SF Tec
    • TaylorMade M1 (2017)
    • TaylorMade M2 / M2 D-Type (2017)
    • Titleist 917D2 / 917D
  • Fairway Woods
    • Callaway Big Bertha Fusion/li>
    • Callaway GBB Epic / Sub Zero/li>
    • Cobra King F7/li>
    • Cobra King LTD Black/li>
    • PING G/ G SF Tec / G Stretch/li>
    • TaylorMade M1 (2017)/li>
    • TaylorMade M2 (2017)/li>
    • Titleist 917F2 / 917F3/li>
  • Hybrids
    • Callaway Apex
    • Callaway Big Bertha OS
    • Callaway Steelhead XR
    • Cobra King F7
    • PING G
    • TaylorMade M1 (2017)
    • TaylorMade M2 / M2 D-Type (2007)
    • Titleist 816H1 / 816H2
  • Game Improvement Irons
    • Callaway Apex CF 16
    • Callaway Steelhead XR
    • Cobra King F7 / F7 One Length
    • Mizuno JPX 900
    • PING G
    • Srixon Z 565
    • TaylorMade M1
    • TaylorMade M2 (2017)
    • Titleist 916 AP1
  • Super Game Improvement Irons
    • Callaway Big Bertha OS
    • Cobra King Oversize
    • PING GMax
    • Wilson D300
  • Wedges
    • Callaway MD3 Milled
    • Cleveland RTX-3 Blade / RTX-3 CB
    • Cobra King Pur
    • Mizuno S5
    • Mizuno T7
    • PING Glide 2.0
    • Titleist Vokey Design SM6
  • Blade Putters
    • Bettinardi Queen B (2017)
    • Bettinardi Studio Stock (2017)
    • Cleveland Huntington Beach Collection
    • Edel Torque Balanced
    • Odyssey O-Works
    • Odyssey White Hot RX
    • Odyssey Toulon Design
    • PING Sigma G
    • PING Vault
    • TaylorMadeTP Collection
    • Titleist/Scotty Cameron Select
  • Mallet Putters
    • Odyssey O-Works
    • Odyssey White Hot RX
    • PING Sigma G
    • PING Vault
    • TaylorMade Spider Tour
    • TaylorMadeTP Collection
    • Titleist/Scotty Cameron Futura Series

 

 

GET READY FOR THE 2017 SEASON: Replace Your Soft Spikes

Soft Spikes Need Frequent Replacing to Ensure Maximum Grip

Last week we talked about the importance of getting ready for the 2017 golf season and to evaluate your golf club grips.  This week it’s time to look at your golf shoes – most golfers will walk anywhere from three to five miles during an 18-hole round.  If you play two rounds of golf a week, you would walk more than 500 miles a year.  Due to swinging, twisting, torque, balance and walking on all kinds of turf and pavement, the need to replace your soft spikes increases even more.

Here are some helpful hints for taking care of your golf shoes and more importantly, your feet.

  • Keep a minimum of two shoes in your rotation of “favorite” shoes and never wear the same pair back-to-back for consecutive rounds.  That means alternate between a minimum of two pairs to keep your feet comfortable plus it adds to the overall life of the shoe.
  • Change spikes (if wearing shoes with replaceable spikes) after every 10-15 rounds or when they show signs of wear or cause your feet to slip when swinging or walking.
  • Purchase replacement spikes before you need them.  With many manufacturers and shoe varieties, there are multiple types of replacement spikes available and many golf shops have stopped carrying replacement spikes since there isn’t just one uniform spike.  Plan ahead!
  • If you wear spikeless shoes (sometimes referred to as “nubby” shoes) try to resist the urge to wear them to the course, driving the car, going to the grocery store, etc.  While they are marketed to be more versatile, the more you wear them for non-golf activities, the more wear you are putting on the shoes off the course.  If you wear spikeless shoes for every round, make sure you have two pair of these shoes in your rotation as well.

An advantage of two pair of shoes allows you to have waterproof shoes if you tend to play early morning when the dew is still on the ground or to have a “nicer” pair of shoes that you can wear to guest day events or for tournaments.  Plus, most women golfers I know are experts at having multiple pair of shoes that “match every outfit!”  Technology has come to golf shoes as well - designed to keep your feet comfortable and dry - while still looking good.

Finally, take a personal golf shoe inventory of your collection of golf shoes.  Most golf manufacturers offer a one or two year waterproof warranty – meaning if your shoes are older than two years, you may benefit from investing in a new pair with a new waterproof warranty.  Whether you replace spikes or purchase new shoes, make sure they are comfortable and keep your feet stable during your golf swing.

 

 

Get Ready for the 2017 Season: Re-Grip Your Clubs

If you are in a part of the country where golf is seasonal, one of the best ways to get ready for the new golf season involves some simple maintenance.  Take a look at your golf grips – if the grips are worn or haven’t been changed in the past six months, it’s time to get new grips. 

To get ready for a new season, clean your grips with a wet, soapy towel and wipe them thoroughly.  If your grips are slippery or appear worn, you need new grips.  Slippery grips cause you to hold the club with more pressure and this interferes with making a good golf swing.   A general rule of thumb is to re-grip your clubs once a year, so the beginning of the season is a great time to re-grip.

Visit your LPGA or PGA Professional for help in getting the proper size grip for your hand.  He or she will ask your glove size or will measure from your wrist to your longest finger-tip.  Next your Professional will ask the types of climate conditions you play in – is it wet/humid conditions, fair weather or dry, sunny weather?  Do your hands sweat when you play?  Do you prefer a soft or firm grip or one with a smooth or rough texture? 

Grip technology is constantly improving and manufacturers now offer grips designed for a number of variables - some with cushion under the grips and some designed to absorb moisture (perspiration, rain, etc.)  Grips come in a variety of fun colors - which allows you to add some color and personality to a normally boring grip. 

Once you have new grips, your clubs will feel new again and you will notice an immediate improvement, which leads to better shots and lower scores.

 

 

Get Fit For Your Golf Ball

Woman swinging at a fitted golf ball

Most of us know it's important to have our golf equipment properly fit. For example, using the correct clubs that are fit to your swing and body-type can vastly improve your score and your enjoyment of the game. But did you know that there's more to "fitting" than just the clubs themselves? Take your game to the next level by making sure you've been fit for the correct golf ball.

If you think about an average round, most scoring opportunities happen around the green.  Many women have difficulty reaching the green in regulation, so when looking for more distance, they select a low spin golf ball that helps with additional distance but isn't designed to hold shots into the green.  Most golfers can benefit from a softer ball that is designed to land softly and stop on the green rather than hit and skid off the green.

Many golf ball manufacturers offer golf ball fittings, however how the assessment is completed may vary. Some manufacturers use online fittigs - where you answer questions about your game and the computer determines the best ball “fit” for your golf swing, shots, etc.  Alternatively, you may be lucky to participate in a ball fitting at a local demo day – where you can actually hit and compare golf balls using actual measured data. One added benefit of completing a ball fitting is that you will typically score a sample pack (usally two golf balls) for to try and test out the results!

Most companies have moved away from "compression" golf balls and offer two and three-piece golf balls designed to help players score better.  When you are shopping for golf balls, look for a ball with more spin and stopping power.  Go through a golf ball fitting and you will find and be able to tell the softer feel of the ball coming off your clubface. They are designed to offer more stopping power and to help you shoot better scores.

Keep the fun going and lower your scores - talk to your local Professional to help you find the best golf ball for your game.

 

Start Your 2017 Season the Right Way

Start the 2017 Season the Right WayWhether you make New Year’s resolutions or not, you likely have goals when it comes to your golf game. As we discussed last week, you may want to practice a specific part of your game (short game or putting), take additional lessons or maybe shoot a specific score or achieve a certain handicap. As part of starting the 2017 golf season properly, make a list of some goals you’d like to achieve this year.

Before you play your first round of golf, make at least one trip to the practice tee. PGA Professional Chris Foley offers the following hints to include during your first session:

Stretching
Start your session by doing some general stretching of your shoulders, back, hips and legs. It is important to get your golf muscles loose anytime you go to the course or practice facility, but especially the first time back or if you haven’t been very active. A good way to loosen up is to take a couple of short irons, holding them together and swinging them back and forth slowly. Also hold a club behind your neck on your shoulders and do a few twists at the waist to help loosen your back.

Putting
The short game is the hardest area of the game to get your feel back. Good putting is critical to scoring well and spending some time on the putting green important. Begin by finding a putt with very little break on the putting green. Place several balls at a distance of about three feet and work on hitting solid putts into the back of the hole. Try to make 10 to 15 in a row before ending your putting practice.

Next, get a feel for distance. Pick out the two holes farthest away from each other on the putting green. Take several balls and putt the balls back and forth, trying to get all of the balls to stop within a foot of the hole.

Chipping
The motion made chipping the golf ball is a miniature version of the full swing. Hitting crisp, solid chip shots will translate into solid hit shots with the full swing. Remember, the correct technique is to set-up with a narrow stance, weight on the front foot and the ball position off the instep of the back foot. Grip down on the handle of the club and make a short, brisk accelerated stroke. To make the ball go up in the air, let the leading edge of the club work down to the ground.

Full Swing
Start your practice of the full swing with your shortest club (lob wedge, sand wedge or pitching wedge) and make short, easy swings. As you start to get a feel for finding the center of the clubface, start to make full swings. Progress your way through your clubs by hitting a series of shots with every other club in your bag. Move from sand wedge to nine iron to seven iron, etc. Finally, hit a hybrid, a fairway wood and then the driver.

Going through this type of practice session will give you a good idea of where the golf ball is going and give you a feel for hitting the ball solidly. Confidence plays such a big role in how we play, so starting the season off properly will make lowering those scores much easier.

Golf Resolutions for 2017

What are your Resolutions in 2017?As we just flipped the calendar from 2016 to 2017, many people start the New Year with a list of New Year’s Resolutions.  Common resolutions include the typical things like exercising more, eating smarter, losing weight, etc. but how many of you have Golf Resolutions?  Who doesn’t want to play more?  But have you taken time to sit down and plan some golf resolutions?  Do you want to practice a specific part of your game (short game or putting), take additional lessons or maybe shoot a specific score or achieve a certain handicap?

Golf, unlike most sports, involves a new start and reset at the beginning of every year.  The professional Tours reset with the official money earnings starting over and the golf manufacturers launch new equipment, new golf balls, new apparel, etc. all designed to help golfers improve and play their best.  

Last year at an LPGA event, I heard LPGA Founder Shirley Spork challenge everyone to play 9-holes of golf once a week.  If you live in a part of the country that allows year-round golf, that’s a great challenge to accept since playing more golf will generally lead to playing better golf.

While many golfers like to say they will play more golf, a better golf resolution for a new year should focus on game improvement.  Start with a realistic goal of practicing the part of your game that causes you the most trouble.  Do you struggle getting off the tee?  Perhaps you shy away from using fairway woods?   Do you have confidence hitting bunker shots both from the fairway and around the green?  Do you routinely have more than 36 putts during an 18-hole round?  Make a plan to practice on your trouble area for 30 minutes once a week for a few weeks.  Many golfers prefer to play vs. practicing – when in fact, the best way to lower your score is to actually practice.  Establish a one-hour time frame to practice your short game – spend half an hour chipping, pitching and practicing shots from the bunker, then practice putting for half an hour.  You will gain confidence in your short game as well as save a few strokes each round.

Other common golf resolutions include working on your game by taking additional golf instruction from your local PGA/LPGA Professional.  You may have specific things you want to work on with your Professional (not hitting a slice, gaining more distance, hitting hybrids better, getting out of the bunker on the first shot, etc.) so be sure to explain your goals and have them incorporated in your lesson plan from your Professional.  By seeking additional golf instruction, practicing and playing, you will be on your way to lower scores and meeting your 2017 golf resolutions.