It’s easy to start the year with a huge list of resolutions. Personally, I plan to go vegan, drink more water, do lots of yoga, organize my finances (and sock drawer), travel, spend more time with loved ones, AND reduce screen time. Do you think I’m going to accomplish everything on my list, all the time? Probably not. So, I’ve given myself permission to incorporate these practices slowly and naturally and settle on “doing better” as my new year’s goal.

The same goes with my golf game.  If I had to make a 2019 list of golf improvements, it would include chipping, putting, fairway shots with my five iron, and focusing. Imagine how a round of golf would go if I carried that list in my bag.

Sure, maybe some of my chip shots would improve, and maybe I’d have fewer 3-putt catastrophes. But I think, for the most part, my rounds would be a hodgepodge of good and bad, with no real consistent improvement.

With this in mind, I’ve decided to carefully select one area of focus, and practice this until the cows come home. Or at least until the sun sets on my next round.

You can do the same.

For example, let’s say you want to be a better putter in 2019.  Well then, start with the putter itself. First, is it the right size? Is it too old? (i.e. Maybe time to replace the one you stole from your brother’s golf bag.) Also, do you secretly hate your putter? Evaluate, and if needed, get a new one.

Next, decide how you’re going to get better. Here are some suggestions on how to go about this:

Off the course. Do your homework.

Hit your favorite golf site and search for “how to improve putting” or “I can’t putt to save my life.” See what comes up and watch or read those tutorials.

Get out there.

As in hit the putting green.  Spend quality time practicing all kinds of putts, and figure out what you’re doing wrong (and right).

Can’t figure it out?

Ask your golfing partner to watch you next time you play. Better yet, sign up for lessons and get a pro’s two cents.

Keep at it.

When things start to improve is not the time to let up.  Practice, practice, practice with the same vigor you played piano in third grade. (Or maybe not like that. Practice like you like it. ) Bottom line, really get to know how you operate on the green.

Already an expert putter? Well, (golf) hat’s off to you. What’s your struggle, then?

Decide what part of your game that could use the most work, and go at it in a similar fashion. Analyze your equipment, educate yourself, take a look at your strengths and weaknesses, set up a plan of attack, and just plain GET OUT THERE!

And finally, you can always rinse and repeat this same process year after year. Because the thing is, we’re never really going to master everything, every round.  This news should take the pressure off and remind you that whatever it is you need to work on, you’ve got some time to do it. After all, golf is a lifetime sport. You’ve got many years to play, so you might as well have fun with it all… the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Here’s to a great year!