Get More Out of Golf in 2018 with these 18 New Year Resolutions

Take a Slightly Different Approach to the Game in Coming 12 Months..

1. Play More! This might be the least practical resolution you can make. But then again, you love golf, so golf.

2. Help Others Play Golf. The game is tough to get into, tough to learn, impossible to master. Golfers know that those barriers to entry are the things that ultimately make it rewarding. Encourage a friend. Show them the way. Lead them to the light.

3. Be Kind to Beginners. Sure, it’s brutal to be playing behind some hackers. Play through by all means. But encourage them. Don’t make it a nasty experience for them. Remember that it can be stressful out there for new golfers, learning the ropes.

4. Play Faster. It’s for your own good and everyone else’s. Ultimately, you’ll enjoy the game more. Play ready golf. Pick up the pace.

5. Walk, don’t drive. Get back to golf the way it was meant to be played. Take some exercise and get in touch with nature!

6. Work on your handicap. In America you mostly do. In the UK it’s sometimes ignored, a struggle to maintain let alone improve. Keep score and hand in your cards. Work out where you’re losing shots and find ways to save them. Get analytical.

7. But sometimes, don’t keep score. Just play. No stress, much joy.

8. Do golf-specific exercises. Stretch too. The things you do off the course considerably and sometimes surprisingly improve what you do on the course.

9. Get with the New Rules. They’re going to be finalised in 2018 and introduced in 2019. Each and every one is meant to simplify the game. Learn them and adopt them early, at least out of competition. Fewer penalties. Leave the pin unattended. Just three minutes to find your ball instead of five.

10. And a new rule for the armchair golfer: Stop being a Power-Hungry Voyeur. Stop looking for rules infringement on televised golf and stop phoning them in. They won’t listen to you! Calls have been banned. Mind your own business!

11. Take Lessons. As a self-taught Scottish golfer I sometimes play with international friends who, simply, have much better swings, just like the guys on tv. I ask how they learned to play like that. It’s simple, they say. In Sweden (or wherever) we take lessons…

12. Practise Better. Don’t just swing away, ingraining old faults. Practise with purpose. Practise the things you’ve been taught.

13. Conversely, get out of your own way and — perhaps outside of lessons, outside of practise — swing freely and trust yourself. (Learn more of this stuff by reading the classic golf -non-instruction book, The Inner Game of Golf.)

14. Watch More Golf! But don’t sit around watching the same old PGA Tournaments. Support local amateur events, college golf, lesser tours. And walk alongside some brilliant, aspiring players.

15. Play a bucketlist course. Get yourself to St Andrews, Scotland, or Pinehurst, North Carolina.

16. OK, that’s expensive. Reign in your bucketlist and find some interesting inexpensive courses, a quirky old nine-holer somewhere, imperfectly conditioned, cheap and cheerful but fun and different. Sometimes it’s good to dance with the girls who aren’t being danced with.

17. Play solo. Get zen and get the first tee time on any given day. You’ll play fast and play well (though some of that can be the lies we tell ourselves when we’re alone…) You’ll be amazed at how much of the day you have left to yourself and your family.

18. Read The Meaning of Golf.