Make 2019 Your Best Golf Year Ever

Chances are you approach the bigger decisions in life with some dutiful strategic planning. Managing your finances, changing jobs, picking the right partner, buying a home. All these things require due diligence. If golf is your main hobby, why not treat it the same way? I’m not saying it’s in the same stratosphere relative to ultimate life satisfaction, but if you’re going to spend a lot of time playing golf you might as well plan to get better.

For the purposes of this post, I’m not going to state the obvious. Yes, you should take lessons regularly and get clubs that fit you. If you’re playing with clubs that are 10+ years old, you’re missing out on the millions of dollars of R&D that the industry has pumped into club technology and you’re at a disadvantage. Take lessons and get fit, please.

Let’s look at some less evident ways to be the best golfer you can be in 2019.

Picture What You Want
Picture yourself in November. What did you accomplish this year? It can be anything. Maybe you finally beat a friend for the first time or broke 90. Maybe you won the Club Championship or the State Two-Man (shameless plug). Maybe you lowered your handicap by 5 points. Maybe you didn’t throw a club all year. Whatever it is, picture who you want to be as a golfer at the end of the season. You can’t get to your destination if you don’t know where you’re going.

Practice Smart
We’re all guilty of it. We get to the range, pull 7-iron and hammer away until we find a groove. Unfortunately, this only makes you better at hitting 30 7-irons in a row and has no semblance to real golf. Quality over quantity is key. You need to practice like you play, which means hitting different clubs to different targets each swing. It also means strengthening your weaknesses and trying to hit shots you’re uncomfortable with. Golf is a game that will inevitably present you with a shot you’re not used to at the worst possible moment. Be ready.

Walk
Exercise. Save money. Take in the surroundings. Get lost in your thoughts. You don’t need to walk every time you play, but try it a few times and see how much it benefits your game. You’ll be surprised.

Play Somewhere You’ve Never Played
The beauty of golf is how much it changes depending on where you play. West river golf is different than East river. South Dakota golf is different than Florida golf. U.S. golf is different than U.K. golf. Playing different courses expands your game. If you’ve never putted on Bermuda or Poa annua, you’re in for a shock. Try somewhere new.

Swing in the Winter
Hank Haney often prescribes taking a lot of practice swings (100 per day is the recommended dose), and I can’t say I disagree. 100 swings sounds like a lot, but it will only take around 10 minutes. This is the quickest way to groove a feel for whatever you’re working on. Here’s the trick: each swing needs to be independent of the previous swing, meaning you need to set up like you’re hitting a ball each time (no swinging back and forth repeatedly). Pick a target on the ground that acts like a ball and step into it the same way each time. You’ll groove a consistent swing, even if it’s not perfect. This leads to…

Take 5 Minutes to Get Better Every Day
A good deal of golfers are searching for an instantaneous breakthrough, some tip that changes their game for the better forever. If you’ve been playing for any amount of time, you know this doesn’t work. You don’t have to workout for two hours or play 36 holes on the sim everyday (though that would qualify). Take 5 minutes and stretch to get flexible. Do some pushups. Do the Haney drill above. Hit some putts on your carpet. Get a calendar and mark each day you’ve done something (ANYTHING) to improve. 5 minutes doesn’t sound like a lot, but you’re building a habit (check out Atomic Habits by James Clear). Worthwhile goals always take time, but you’ll be amazed at how quickly little changes add up.

Let’s resolve to make 2019 our best golf year ever. We’re looking forward to a great season and helping you improve each and every day. Happy golfing!