GET INTO GOLF: Resolve to improve your game in 2020 |

GET INTO GOLF: Resolve to improve your game in 2020

If you cook for the holidays, you know the feeling. You just spent days thinking about a menu. The day before likely included some prep work. The day of starts early and our primary angst has to do with timing. We do our best to finish the side dishes very near to the completion of the bird or beef.

At the appointed time and a host of friends and family dig in. What took hours of planning is gobbled up in a matter of minutes. We are grateful that everyone enjoyed the food and fun, yet we also feel an imbalance between the amount of effort and the rate of consumption.

In a larger sense, that most can relate to, we look at another year coming to a close. We often lose track while living day to day. For some, this new year will simply be a turn of the page. For others a fresh start is a welcome opportunity.

It has been said that golf is a microcosm of life. How we approach the game, the discipline required to excel, the interaction with others, the emotional ups and downs, our reaction to adversity, are ready illustrations. So, as we look toward a new year, let’s have some more fun in golf and life.

Of course, the number one resolution for the New Year might be 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. Hope for a glorious finish will encourage us to continue the pursuit, even though all of us have experienced our share of setbacks. 

Names like Brooks Koepka and Lexi Thompson 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 2020, Get Into Golf would like to offer a number of resolutions that will help your game and your confidence, because these goals are within your grasp. 

Resolution No. 1: Practice. This does not include any “warm up” balls you hit or a few putts you make immediately prior to a round of golf.  No, that is not enough time. And, prior to playing, you do not have the best 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 on long way toward maintaining a proper focus. 

Resolution No. 2: This might be Resolution 1B…get some golf lessons. Take a guess at who will arguably receive the most golf instruction in 2020. Hmmm…it’s 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. 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.    

Everybody is wearing size 15 shoes, right?  Why not? Everybody has size 15 feet. 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 when women are playing with a set of men’s clubs (gee, why didn’t he want them anymore?) and juniors are playing with their parent’s “hand me downs”. To a lesser, but still significant degree, seniors are often playing with clubs designed for younger men and athletic players are using clubs built for the masses. 

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 okay, too), just get out of your comfort zone a little bit. Who knows? It could be start of beautiful friendship (to borrow the 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 2020, 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 a PGA professional, VP of Yugi Golf Management, and provides golf instruction at local courses.

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