It’s hard to believe, but Halloween is in the rear-view mirror and November is already here. Just around the corner: Thanksgiving, Christmas and the turning of the calendar to 2017.
For golfers in most of the Northern Hemisphere, this is a bummer, because the traditional golf season is either winding down or over altogether. Temperatures are plummeting, leaves are jumping off trees, and snow and ice are either falling or on the way in short order.
And as we get ready to welcome a new year soon, here are a few “New Year’s Resolutions” golfers should make … and stick to for a change:
Play More Golf!
This is the easiest resolution to make, and probably the hardest to keep. But it’s possible, even if you can’t quite take it to the extreme of Barry Gibbons, the Ridgefield, Connecticut, resident who is on pace to play more than 800 rounds in 2016. But if you played 20 times this year, shoot for 24 next year — that works out to twice a month, or four times per month in the prime golf season. If you played 40 rounds, shoot for 50, and so on. Even if it’s just one more round per month, that will make a difference.
Become a Better Golfer (for Real This Time)
It’s funny (in a depressing way) to watch golfers who play all the time and buy new clubs seemingly every few months shoot the same disappointing scores over and over again. Most of it comes to the way golfers practice – when they do practice. The average amateur golfer’s pre-round warm-up consists of maybe 10 full swings, most of them with the driver. I would always recommend allowing at least 20 to 30 minutes for practice before a round, but if that’s a nonstarter, you should at least consider forsaking those half-hearted range swings for some brief but intense chipping practice. Get a feel for the greens, and if you’re really feeling ambitious, hit a few chip and pitch shots.
Track Your Stats
You may not be able to benefit from the same hyper-detailed statistical tracking that PGA Tour players use, but if you’ve never been that technologically inclined, you might be surprised just how close you can get through a variety of apps and devices aimed at giving you a more complete picture of your golf game. Arccos and GAME GOLF are two of the more-expensive apps and services, but even if you just keep track of your fairways hit, greens in regulation and putts per round, you can get a pretty decent idea of the parts of your game that need the most work. (Hint: It’s probably your putting.)
There are other, more granular resolutions that golfers can have, but if you can put these three on your list – and stick to them – you will become both a better and happier golfer.