My track record for keeping New Year’s resolutions is abysmal. Each year I faithfully promise but sometimes mine don’t even make it to January 2nd.
A number of years ago I resolved to play more often, even if it was only a few twilight holes and to take my wife and children for a family experience that can’t be beat. However, problems arose even before the snow was off the ground when I bought a new company and soon was spending 12 hours most days in the office, many times seven days a week.
Unfortunately for our golf games without taking decisive changes old habits return with the warm weather so each new season soon tends to look similar to the previous one.
However, here are three resolutions for 2017 you can keep and they come with an added bonus. With a little determination they will change your game forever. After all one of golf’s oldest maxims is the better you score the more fun you have.
Resolution #1 Learn how to chip and putt – You’ve heard it before, to score well you must play well within 100 yards of the green so not being proficient at those little shots is just wasting strokes. On the green start with a putter that fits you and fits your stroke. It should be the correct length so your bend at the waist allows your arms hang relatively straight and the putter head should have lots of forgiveness since we don’t hit the ball in the center of face as regularly as we would like. The second tip concerns chip shots. Use a less lofted club to get the ball on the ground and rolling as quickly as possible. My observation is the poorer the player the more likely he will be using a lofted wedge when a 9-iron or even a 7-iron would produce better results more easily. Plus, if the collar is fairly smooth, a putter is likely to the best choice.
Resolution #2 Take enough club – There is absolutely no question the single biggest mistake recreational players make hitting into a green is not using enough club. Golf course architects know this of course which is why if they want to make a hole really tough they put sand or water in front. Still not convinced? The last round you played how many times was your ball past the pin or even pin high? Was there even one? The corollary to this point is, just because in 1999 you hit a 7-iron 150 yards downhill downwind to a concrete-like green doesn’t mean that’s your 150-yard club. Be realistic as Harry Callahan (a.k.a. Clint Eastwood) said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”
Resolution #3 Get a driver fitting – The height of ridiculousness is spending $400 or more on a driver without knowing if it’s the one best suited for your particular swing. Most days a driver is hit only fourteen times and hopefully always in the fairway but let me give you an example. My last session with a master fitter at the local Club Champion location found I could raise my smash factor (ball speed divided by clubhead speed) from an average of 1.45 to 1.50 by changing drivers. That may not sound like much but the effect was immediate. Roughly ten yards more off the tee which means one full club less into the green. I don’t know about you but I’m more accurate with an 8-iron than with a 7-iron. The cost isn’t prohibitive either, at Club Champion a driver fitting is $150.
So give these three resolutions for 2017 some consideration. They are easy to keep and will change your game forever.