What are your 2020 golf goals? Do they include lowering your handicap or perhaps visiting a new golf course? Allow me to suggest some 2020 golf goals for you:
Lowering your golf handicap can be a tough challenge — mainly because as amateur golfers, we tend to have an extremely high opinion of our golf skills! We believe our swings are smooth as silk, as seen on TV, and that we can thread golf shots through the narrowest of gaps in the forest. We find it difficult to play safe, to play conservatively, we go for glory on far too many shots and we end up with cricket-like scores. Playing conservatively to lower your handicap is a battle of mind over matter, substance over form — it is not easy, it requires discipline.
For the mid handicap golfer, handicap 12 to 22, aim to lower your handicap by two strokes — this is not far-fetched.
Stop hitting driver off each tee box, play a bit more conservatively on the long par-4s, accept that bogey is a good score there. On the par-5s, aim for getting on the green on regulation. Too often I see amateur golfers attempt to muscle the par-5s, for heaven’s sake, you are an 18 handicap golfer, the eagle isn’t your cup of tea, take par and run! On the long par-3s, play away from trouble and accept bogey, your handicap allows it.
For the high handicap golfers, 22 to 36, aim to shave your handicap by up to four strokes. As a handicap 24, you have strokes, use them, stop thinking like a five-handicap golfer and accept, as much as it hurts your ego, that you are 24 for a reason. Stop attempting flop shots get rid of that lobe wedge, use your 3-wood more, club up on your approach shots, swing easier. For the single handicap golfers, losing even a single stroke is an achievement, and since it has been a decade since I played off a such a handicap, I doubt I am qualified to advise these golfers.
However, I believe that stroke is to be found around the green — chipping, sand saves and putting.
Golf is a sport that demands that you practise consistently and methodically, this isn’t squash. And before the squash players come for my neck, let me explain myself. In sports like squash and lawn tennis, you can be a poor player and still enjoy the sport, there isn’t too much you can wrong whilst hitting a rubber ball against four walls. Golf, on the other hand, has a million variations and a poor player in golf is a curse on himself/herself, his/her four-ball and the entire field! So, practice more, spend some time on the range, seek the help of a better player, caddie or golf professional, get some feedback, practise something new.
Buy a new glove, change your grips
When is the last time you changed or even cleaned the grips of your clubs? Like really scrubbed them with soap? And that glove, full of holes, when are you going to retire it? Many players suffer the effects of a poor grip unknowingly yet the fix is sometimes nothing more than a good wash and rinse.
A round of golf includes a 10km walk across undulating grounds. To make your round better, ensure that your footwear is appropriate and that the studs are not worn or uneven. Treat your feet kindly, they will thank you for it.
Is it me or do you also find that the poorest of players are also the slowest? Have you ever played with a guy who takes 90 seconds to study each shot and then proceeds to hit it into the bush? Or the guy who reads each putt from 16 angles and then proceeds to three putts?
In 2020, aim to play faster, four-hour rounds should be the norm.
And at the turn, spend no more than five minutes to get a snack and move on!
This year, I have a simple golf goal — to play one less bogey and one less double bogey, if I achieve that, I will perhaps play off a single handicap figure once more. Enjoy 2020, tip the caddies well, play with some new people and play a golf course you never have.
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