9 resolutions to help take your golf game to the next level in the coming year
Set aside for a moment the New Year’s resolutions about eating better and exercising more – if you’re a golfer, the top resolution on your list is likely to get your game in shape for 2021.
No matter your handicap or playing ability, there are a number of simple things you can do to lower your scores and increase your enjoyment on the golf course in the year ahead.
As with life, our golf game will only get better if we take the time and put in the effort. To get your 2021 off to a good start on the course, here are a few ideas to add to your list of resolutions…
The driving range at Classic Club is an ideal spot to work on your game, especially this time of year.
Practice with a purpose. When you hit the practice range, always have a purpose in mind. Don’t just beat balls for a of couple hours into the open range. Have a specific target you want to hit toward, and continue picking out targets you want to attack throughout your session.
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Work on your weaknesses. By pinpointing the areas where you struggle, you can hone in on what you really need to focus on rather than worrying about your overall game. For example, if putting is an issue, make it a goal this year to eliminate those 3-putts. If you struggle from 50 yards out, work on that shot. If driving is an issue, practice that. Eliminate unnecessary strokes in problem areas of your game and your scores will improve.
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Go greenside. Improving your short game can knock some shots off your scorecard. While all aspects of the game are important, there are none more significant than the short game. Getting the ball up and down from around the green is a major key for those who consistently shoot low numbers. Spend more time practicing on and around the green than you would with the full swing on the driving range. Hitting the long ball will only go so far if you cannot get the ball in the hole.
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Increase your flexibility. Develop a routine in which you are stretching for 10-15 minutes every morning and evening. Even if the routine consists of fairly simple stretches, it will help improve your swing, you won’t be as sore after a round of golf, and your overall performance will be better.
The dawn of a new year is upon us, and now is the perfect time to take control of your game.
Manage your game. Another great resolution is to become better at playing and managing the golf course. Increasing your mental toughness by envisioning and playing through a round is a great skill to have. Most golfers tend to step up to the tee and swing for the fences. By managing the course, you can effectively play away from trouble areas during your round and hopefully avoid any potential disasters. From tee to green, play to more open areas of the fairway, or play to the safe side of the green. If you put yourself in difficult short-sided situations around the greens, it makes it tough to consistently score well. Always try to give yourself the best chance for success on any given hole.
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Think smart, play smart. Taking a smarter mental approach to every shot can pay big dividends on your scorecard. With almost every swing you take, evaluate the risk-reward scenario and resolve to hit the safer shot in most instances. By avoiding the water, sand and OB stakes, you’ll have fewer recovery shots to make and ultimately will score better. This goal helps you really focus on your course management as you steer clear of those penalty shots and, in turn, those big numbers.
Hit a bad shot? Get over it. We all hit our share of bad shots in every round. Getting upset and letting your frustrations out is very natural, but to do it quickly and put it behind you. Don’t let your aggravation over one bad shot carry into the next and affect your mental approach moving forward, costing you more than the one bad shot you just hit. Always remember that the most important shot in golf is the next one. Let the bad shots go and focus on how you’ll hit the next one.
There are hundreds of great courses to choose from around SoCal, including Temecula Creek Golf Club.
Get out on the course. We all want to play more golf, so make 2021 the year that you leave the office early when you can, or get your yard work done early so you can spend Saturday afternoon at the golf course. And don’t just hit the range – get out and play 9 or 18. You can spend all the time you want on the practice area, but if you don’t take it to the course enough to truly test your training, you won’t improve as much as you could. Being on the course is where players are made and the art of lowering your scores is learned.
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Have fun. Golfers can get frustrated with the game, and everyone can benefit by working on their emotional intelligence. Have fun with the game, rather than take it so seriously. If you learn to laugh at yourself, that will go a long way toward taking the pressure off of each shot.
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Greetings, fellow golfers, and welcome to SoCal Golf Insider! We are Rob Lyon and Eric Marson and we've been reporting and writing about the game throughout the region since 1995. Here, we will provide you with the latest news, features, reviews and more on all things golf in Southern California. Let’s tee it up!
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