By Tim Dietrich

This is the time of year when people make promises to themselves about the upcoming year. (Fitness clubs sign up the most new members at the beginning of January, and you can guess why!) Now, how about golfers? We make promises, too. Well, I thought I would offer my five most valuable or useful resolutions. So here I go:

1. On the first tee of every round you play this year, promise yourself two things: 1) I will try my best throughout the whole round, and 2) I will enjoy myself regardless of the score. How do we enjoy ourselves when we aren’t playing or scoring well? It’s simple – we can always learn something new regardless of our current performance. I know we all stand on the first tee, wondering if today is the day we will shoot our personal best. As soon as we realize this is not going to happen, it is easy to throw in the towel and just go through the motions. Instead, shift your focus from trying to score to trying to play one hole at a time. Treat the round as if it is match play and concentrate on “winning” the upcoming hole. It is one of the great advantages of match play that bad holes don’t have to ruin our round.

2. Practice more – especially the short game. There is a saying in the golf teaching business that you are either getting better or you are getting worse. Just think of how much better you will score if you can get up and down 2 more times a round. The average 14 handicap golfer will only hit 4-5 greens in regulation. Think about it.

3. Introduce someone to golf. Some of the best memories and moments between friends happen on a golf course. Bring someone into the game and be their mentor. I can still remember who took me on my first real round and how much I appreciated playing golf with a real golfer.

4. Improve your golf fitness. Most golfers who are serious about the game know enough about the golf swing to make a reasonable move through the ball. What they lack is either the strength or flexibility or kinesthetic awareness required to do what they know they should do. If you have ever asked yourself the question, “Why can’t I consistently do what I know I should do?” take a real hard look at your golf fitness level. Check out any of the many fitness programs for golfers on the market.

5. LOL. Laugh out loud whenever you make a poor shot. I guarantee that everyone in your foursome, including you, will love your positive spin on a negative event. If you can laugh at yourself and not take the results of your efforts too seriously, you WILL play better in the long run.

Well, have a great 2024!