6 Golf Goals That You Should Have in 2024
The days are getting longer. It may not feel like it, but trust me, they really are. It won’t be long before spring is in the air and we can think about putting the thermals away for another year.
So what better time to plan your golfing year? Are you somebody who sets yourself targets? And if not, why not?
Here are a few of the things I will be doing in the weeks and months that lie ahead.
Play With Great People
I have recently joined a golf club so target number one is to find myself some new golfing partners. I am lucky enough to have joined a friendly club. When you turn up on your own there will usually be somebody who will ask if you want to join them.
Having played golf all my life, I have to say that my reasons for doing so have now changed. Yes, I still like to play competitively but for me the most important thing is the social side.
I will be joining the senior section and seeking out like-minded people who play golf for the sheer enjoyment of doing so. I know that at some stage I will end up playing with people whose company I don’t enjoy but here’s the thing - I can decide who I want to play with. And so can you.
Work on Your Game
I will also be spending more time on the driving range. And I will be having a couple of refresher lessons.
I have always loved setting myself challenges on the range. I have never been able to understand why people just turn up and aimlessly hit golf balls. I like to go through the bag, pick out targets on the range and play different sorts of shots - high, low, draw, fade.
And I work hard at calculating the exact distances I hit the ball with every club in the bag. I am not in the first flush of youth so I have to accept that I don’t hit the ball as far as I used to. But if I can work out how far I now hit, say, a seven iron then it is going to make club selection easier on the golf course.
I also spend a lot of time hitting shots from greenside bunkers - and make sure that I do so from all sorts of different lies. Don’t give yourself a perfect lie because the chances are that will never happen when you get out on the course. So that means you should learn how to get the ball out of a footmark and a plugged lie!
And get on to the practice green and putt from all sorts of distances. It makes me smile when I see club golfers endlessly hitting three and four-foot putts. Most of us get on to a green and find ourselves facing 40 and 50-footers. So practice those until you are comfortable in the knowledge that you will be able to two-putt from that distance more often than not.
And please, please, please - don’t forget to loosen up before you start hitting hundreds of golf balls. And do not ever start a session on the driving range by hitting your driver. Ease into it with wedge shots.
Almost all of us have mobile phones fitted with astonishing cameras - do not be afraid to film your golf swing. You may be shocked at what you see; you may also be pleasantly surprised. But either way, you will see what everybody else sees and you may be able to quickly identify any obvious faults and put them right.
Check Your Golf Equipment
As the better weather approaches, have a proper inspection of your equipment. Will you get another season from those golf shoes? Check out your golf bag - throw away those old golf balls, broken tees, six-month-old energy bars and mouldy pieces of fruit.
Do you need to think about changing your grips? You cannot play good golf if your clubs have smooth, shiny grips. Ask your pro to fit new grips. Or learn how to do it yourself. It is a good way to start the season.
Find New Courses to Play
I will be drawing up a list of the courses I want to play in Norfolk, and I will be looking for the best deals.
As the days get longer you will be able to find cheap tee times. You may have to start later in the day but so what? This is the time of day when courses are likely to be at their quietest.
But if you are teeing off at, say, 3pm, check whether the clubhouse is still going to be open when you come off the course. I have been caught out in the past where I have changed my shoes in the locker room, gone out to play, come off the 18th, found everything locked up and had to drive home in my golf shoes. It’s a shoolboy error!
If it is a course you haven’t played before, check out the website first and see if they have a flyover and/or a course guide, buy a stroke saver and speak to the pro before you tee off and ask him or her if there is anything you need to know.
Improve Your Handicap
No matter what level you play at, you should be setting out to lower your handicap. And this may not always be as difficult as you might think. If you play golf on a regular basis you will easily be able to identify your weaknesses.
Perhaps you struggle to get out of bunkers - go and see your club pro and book a lesson.
Maybe there is a hole where you frequently end up hitting your drive or approach into a lake and end up walking off with a quadruple bogey. Think about playing the hole differently. Do you really need to reach for the driver? Do you really need to attempt that huge carry with your approach? Might it be better to lay up and leave yourself a 120-yard carry instead? It is surely better to walk off with a bogey five.
Find The Right Golf Clubs For You
It is a fact that most club golfers putt poorly. Instead of spending £500 on a new driver which you will use a maximum of 14 times in a round, maybe you should be considering buying a new putter - and consider getting custom fitted and/or having the odd putting lesson. Learning how to putt well is the simplest way of knocking shots off your handicap.
If there is a club in your bag that you struggle to hit, have you ever considered that it might be because it is not suited to your game? If you don’t get on with your three iron (and who does?), might it be time to consider replacing it with a utility club? They are so much easier to hit. I now have two hybrids in my bag and my longest iron is a five.
I have said this before and I make no apologies for doing so again - at the top of my list for 2024 is to have fun on the golf course. And I would urge you to set yourselves the same target. Golf is a game to be enjoyed.
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