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.