John Renslow
Golf Columnist

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January 2, 2013
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Golf goals within grasp

As I have mentioned, my number one resolution for the New Year is to follow through on the other resolutions. We tend to start off with the best of intentions, only to have the cares of the day sidetrack us from our lofty goals. Keep them realistic and refer to them often. It feels good to see them through.

On balance, we golfers are an ambitious lot. Inclement conditions will not deter us from heading out for a round of golf. The hope for a glorious finish will encourage us to continue the pursuit, even though all of us have experienced countless failures.

Names like Mickelson and Creamer inspire us to become better players than we are today. We take the game seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. (In golf and in life, thinking too highly of ourselves will always be counterproductive.)

As we bravely head into 2013, Get Into Golf would like to offer a number of resolutions that will help your game and your self-esteem because these are goals that are within your grasp.

Resolution No. 1 – Practice. This does not include any range balls you hit or putts you make immediately prior to a round of golf. No, there is not enough time, and you do not have the right mindset for any real improvement.

I know how this goes. You hit several balls. If the results are high enough on your scale, you hit a few more, and you’re off to the putting green. Once on the practice green, you’re so happy with your golf swing you don’t care about the putts.

This is not practice. You must commit to a certain amount of time each week to rehearse good things. It doesn’t even have to be a lot of time. Just 30 minutes a week would go a long way toward lowering that score.

You can even make it fun. I know a group of guys who spend many of their sunsets hitting putts on the practice green. There is some friendly competition included, and this goes a long way toward maintaining a proper focus.

Resolution No. 2 — This might be Resolution No. 1B … get some golf lessons. Take a guess at who will arguably receive the most golf instruction in 2012. Hmmm … probably the top players in the world. If the best players in the world are taking lessons, we should too.

Resolution No. 3 — Get some golf clubs that fit you. Everybody out there wearing size 15 shoes right now? Why not? Everybody has size 15 feet, right? Yet, most folks are playing with a set of clubs off the rack that probably are not the right “size.”

We often take this to an extreme with women who are playing a man’s clubs (gee, why didn’t he want them anymore?), and juniors are playing with their parents’ hand-me-downs.

To a lesser but still significant degree, seniors are playing with clubs designed for younger men, and athletic players are using clubs built for the masses.

Most pro shops do not charge for this service, and I would bet that this change will result in more accurate shots and greater distance.

Resolution No. 4 — Read at least two golf books. Pick one entertaining, inspirational book and one instructional (hopefully entertaining book). The former will give you a better perspective on the game. The latter will give you a better perspective on your game.

Resolution No. 5 — Walk the course when you can. If you are able, walking the course gives you the opportunity to “smell the roses” and may even provide your game a little built-in therapy.

Resolution No. 6 — Play with someone new. It doesn’t have to be a stranger (but that’s OK, too). Just get out of your comfort zone a little bit. Who knows? It could be start of beautiful friendship (to borrow the famous Humphrey Bogart line).

Resolution No. 7 — Have fun. We all know that this is a great, rewarding game. As golfers, we meet new people, get some exercise, enjoy nature and, where applicable, compete. At the same time, our joy can erode if we forget … it’s a game.

In 2013, tell a joke, smile, look up at the trees and, on occasion, take the long way to your golf ball. Granted, we would all feel better with a lower number on the scorecard, but that doesn’t always happen. Commit to laughing a little … or laughing a lot.

Happy New Year everyone!

John Renslow is general manager and director of golf at Alta Sierra Country Club. Please contact John with your questions or comments at

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The Union Updated Jan 11, 2013 01:07PM Published Jan 2, 2013 11:25PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.