The holidays are over, and it is a new year! It’s the time of year to start making plans for 2014, including abetter golf game. Creating a game plan is the single most important step to improving your golf game and hopefully you are getting ready to develop yours for the upcoming year. Here are 5 areas to think about when deciding what you want your focus to be on for the upcoming year. Trying to accomplish all 5 may be optimistic but it is doable! Good luck and cheers to health, happiness and lower scores in 2014!
A good stretching routine is crucial to starting your round off right. What is the first thing you do when you step out of the car after being in it for an extended period of time? Most likely, the first thing you do is stretch. Most golfers associate hitting balls withstretching but typically refer to it as “warming up”. You are not warming anything up simply by hitting balls. Most likely, without stretching your body is not ready to go, and the shots you hit during your warm-up are poor and only “warm-up” your temper. Spending 10-15 minutes of true stretching can do more for you than hitting balls for 30-minutes prior to your round.
4. Develop a pre-shot routine
Practice swings, waggles, visuals, etc. The pre-shot routine is your 40-second sanctuary that allows you to put everything else aside and focus on what is important. The shot at hand! It is a tool used to help golfers focus on the right things at the right times. Most golfers do have some type of pre-shot routine, but they don’t do it all the time. For example, if a player is not playing well, most likely they are running through the motions with their pre-shot routine and the self-talk is negative and condescending. Make a point in 2014 to keep your routine consistent and positive no matter how you are playing.
3. Accept and move on
Whether it’s a bad shot, or a bad hole. Try not to dwell on it. Move on and put it behind you. Golfers are a lot like local or national news stations in that they tend to talk more about the bad or negative things that happen vs. the good. It is just human nature. However, it is interesting listening to the greats like Jack Nicklaus discuss good and bad rounds in interviews. What you consistently hear with the game greats is they can vividly remember all the great shots from their career, even shots from decades ago! When you hear them asked about mistakes or poor shots they hit they will tell you they don’t or can’t remember that shot. They completely eliminated the poor shots from their memory and stored the great shots.
2. Arrive early
Treat your tee time like a job interview. Allow yourself plenty of time to calm yourself and prep for your round. Rushing to the tee box will only cause pre-round stress that will impact your game in a negative way. If you get to the course a little later than you intended, it is wiser to stay calm and simply go hit some chip shots and putts and casually make your way to the tee box. Hurrying to the range to smack as many balls as possible will not help you “loosen up”. As a general guideline, try to arrive 45 -60 minutes early if possible to give you time to check in, stretch, warm-up on the range, hit some chip shots, roll a few putts, and start your round off calm, cool, and collected.
1. Eat well and stay hydrated
Remember the phrase: “you are what you eat”? Well, having good nutrition during the round ensures your body and mind are properly fueled up for the 4+ hour trek around the golf course. Eating a hotdog might taste good at the turn but on the back nine it’s only going to help you play like a dog. Instead, eat an apple, an orange, or an energy bar. Instead of reloading the cooler with beers add some water or a Gatorade to the mix. If your goal is to play well then choosing better foods and drink on the course need to match up with that goal.