Now that spring is here, for those of us in places with winter climates, it’s time to shake off the rust and get ready for another great season of golf.
Depending on the weather, you may have started up already. If so, I’m hoping you didn’t just grab your clubs out of the garage and head to the first tee. There are a number of things you can do to make this your best playing season ever.
First and foremost, you should inspect all of your equipment and make sure it’s in good shape or you could find yourself wondering why you’re not scoring like you should. Let’s take a look at some of the specifics.
- Spikes – if you play regularly, you should change your spikes regularly. I change mine a few times per season. Spikes help you keep your footing on wet or steep ground. Having worn spikes can affect the quality of your footing and thus the quality of your shots.
- Grips – It’s a good idea to change your grips every year, especially if you play and practice a lot. You might be one of those people who never changes grips and you probably don’t even know what you’re missing. New grips can save you strokes by providing extra control and confidence.
- Grooves – You should inspect the grooves on your wedges, at a minimum, and optimally on all your irons. As you know grooves help to provide spin, and thus stopping power, on your approach shots. Hot Stix golf showed that worn grooves can cut your spin in half. If your grooves are worn, you’re losing strokes. Think about replacing any irons or wedges with worn grooves before the season starts.
Stock Up on the Essentials
In the world of golf, it is a fact of life that you’re going to expend balls, tees, gloves, and the like throughout the year. Spring is a good time to stock up on these essentials.
It might not feel good to spend the cash to buy balls for the year all at once, but it’s better than showing up at the first tee with one ball in your bag, and you won’t have to worry about it again. Buying in bulk has advantages, too.
Check with your pro-shop or golf specialty store to see if they might cut you a deal for buying balls in bulk quantities. If you buy, say, ten dozen at once for the whole year, you might be able to save a nice chunk of money. It might not feel good to put out that much money at once, but you’ll save in the long run. Especially if you forget to stock up and end up having to pay exorbitant prices at pro-shops because you showed up for your tee time with no balls in your bag.
Even if you like to play “experienced” (used) balls, the same principle applies. Retailers may cut you a deal for buying in bulk.
Stop by your favorite golf specialty store for the rest of the essentials like tees, ball markers, and so on. You can get a big bag of your favorite kind of tees that will last a long, long time. It’s better than hunting around on each tee for someone’s discarded scrap tees.
Plan for the Year
What are your goals for the year? If you’re content with showing up to the course and hacking around with your buddies here and there, then it’s OK to not have any stated goals. But if you’re trying to take your game to a new level, then it’s going to take some thought and a lot of work.
Define Your Goals
It’s not enough just to say you want to “play better” this year. Of course you do. We all do. But that’s not an actionable goal. You need to be more specific. What do you want to improve? Putting? Finesse wedges? Driving? Hitting more fairways and greens? Playing better from the sand? Decide which parts of your game need improvement and then you can devise a plan of attack.
Devise a Plan
Now that you know what you want to accomplish with your golf game this year, you have to create a plan of attack.
The best first step is to schedule some regular lessons for the year. Without a doubt, this is the single best thing you can do to improve your game. If your spring golf checklist includes game improvement, this is the way to do it. After you’ve noted down your improvement goals for the year, a pro will be able to help you achieve them.
The next step is to try and work in some regular practice time. Set aside some time each week for practice. Use the time to work on the things your pro has identified for you, or if you’re going it alone, work on the things you identified in your goals.
Commit to Fitness
If you’re serious about improving your game this year, then a commitment to fitness should probably be on your list. If you’re allergic to the gym, then start with basic stretching to limber up all those muscles that are critical to the golf swing. The Titleist Performance Institute is a great place to start looking for golf-centric stretches.
If you don’t mind hitting the gym on occasion, the next most important thing is cardio vascular fitness. This will increase your stamina and allow you to play longer without fatiguing so much. You can ride a recumbent bike, use an elliptical machine, do intense weight training, or run.
If you want to take the next step in golf fitness, then a golf-specific strength training program is what you’ll need. You can also get a great start on that at the Titleist Performance Institute, as well as from several golf fitness experts you can find down below in my blogroll.
Put it All Together
These are the big things that you may need to do to get ready to have your best golf season ever. You may not need to do all of them and your list might include things that I didn’t mention, like planning a golf vacation or attending a golf school.
The bottom line is, the best path to success by utilizing a plan and a checklist is the easiest way to capture that. Tailor your checklist to the things you need or want to accomplish this year and you’ll be ready to hit the ground running now that spring is here and you’ll be embarking on your best season ever.