Most of us make New Year's resolutions each year: lose some weight, exercise more, read more self-improvement books, etc.
Well, how about making some golf resolutions along with everything else you plan on improving?
By starting to work on key elements of your golf game now, you'll be more prepared when the active season of events have arrived.
In the short term, you may not see immediate results in your score, or even how you feel about your game, but in time, you'll almost certainly see the benefits of your hard work.
We can divide our improvement program into three sections: physical, mental and golf itself. If there's a fountain of youth in life, it's exercise. The sooner you start a consistent workout program, the sooner you'll be able to get in shape.
Some simple ways to get started can be with your everyday activities, such as parking your car a distance from stores you visit, taking the stairs when going up floors in a high rise building (at least halfway to start) and walking, a good way to get the legs in shape.
Start out with 10 to 20- minute sessions and build up to one hour at a brisk pace. Also, be sure to ask your favorite pro to give you some good golf drills that will specifically benefit your swing faults, and put them into a regular program. Every aspect of your golf game will be made better when you're in shape.
The mental side of golf is an area that doesn't get enough thought or consideration. How you feel about a given shot or situation will make or break the outcome. Your confidence stands on a foundation of positive self-perception. Make a commitment to improve your self-talk and visualization when getting ready to play a shot.
Jack Nicklaus was a master of seeing a good shot in his mind before getting over the ball.
He called it "going to the movies;" that is, seeing the flight of the ball heading toward the target. Once he had a vivid picture placed in his head, he'd pull the trigger. I can't tell you how much this will help every aspect of your game.
Now let's talk about the game itself. Golf is a high-speed motor skill that requires control of both mind and body. The more often you have a club in your hands, the better, so leave an odd club laying around the house and pick it up from time to time, making sure the grip is correct. Doing this "homework" will pay off on the course when the grip just falls into place effortlessly.
If you can't play, try to get to the practice tee as often as possible.
Remember, golf is a fun and challenging game, but it's twice as much fun when you are playing your best golf. If you put some time and effort into improving yourself during the next few months, you might find 2007 your best season yet.
Yours for better golf.
Del Starks is a PGA teaching professional at Abacoa Golf Club in Jupiter. Contact him at (561) 262-0708, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.delstarks.com.