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New Year’s Resolutions for Golfers

New Year’s Resolutions for Golfers

While a New Year invites lofty resolutions, here’s a list of 10 realistic pledges that point towards improvement, both in on-course performance and general outlook.

Lower your handicap. Golf is the most quantifiable of sports. Your handicap tells the story of your golfing success—or not. What most players really want, in addition to long straight drives, crisp iron shots, and putting wizardry, is a handicap they can be proud of. For serious golfers seeking to lower their handicaps, it’s a never-ending quest. Find ways to improve in 2024, whether it’s a fitness routine and / or a golf lesson (see below).

Develop a fitness routine. Fact: a golf pro cannot teach what your body cannot do. Get as fit as you can. Focus on exercises to improve flexibility and increase core strength. You’ll boost swing speed and stamina and decrease the chance of injury. Getting in shape is a long-range resolution that will pay handsome dividends as you get deeper on the back nine of life. A proper fitness regimen will enable you to play golf, the “game of a lifetime,” reasonably well into your later years.

Take a lesson. Struggling with the same old swing issues? Lacking consistency? Squandering strokes on and around the green? Director of Golf Antonio Reynante and his staff can get you back on track. Plus, the oceanfront practice facility at Quivira Golf Club is a truly inspiring place to refine your swing and hone your short game. Practice doesn’t make perfect in golf, but working on the fundamentals (grip, stance, posture, alignment) will serve you well.

No more gimmes. Stop raking away short putts. Putt everything out. Your game will improve dramatically if you focus on drilling those two-footers into the hole. Same goes for mulligans. Unless you’re a purist, mulligans (do-overs) should be permitted on the first tee only, not throughout the round.

Proper alignment. Invest in a pair of alignment sticks. Ensuring that shoulders, hips and feet are parallel or square to the target line is imperative for good golf. There’s a reason most Tour pros carry a pair of 44-inch microfiber or wooden sticks in their bags for use on the practice range. Alignment sticks can also improve ball position and swing plane. They’re an essential golf training aid.

Better balance. When it comes to the full swing, Tour pros emphasize tempo, balance and stability. Rarely will you see a pro out of balance at the conclusion of his or her swing. Get grounded. Make a conscious effort in the New Year to improve your poise and steadiness. A balanced swing will lead to solid contact--and a picturesque follow-through.

Course management. Watch the pros in action. They play the percentages and rarely make costly mistakes. Based on your ability level, be realistic about your strategic options during the round. Keep the ball in play off the tee. Aim for the middle of the green. Take speed and slope into account on and around the putting surfaces. Quivira rewards prudent, tactical play, not heroics. Savvy course management will help you save strokes and lower your scores.

Play without fear. Hitting a poor shot can be demoralizing. What’s harder to accept is striking the ball without conviction. Try this out in the New Year: play an entire round without keeping score. If you’re a results-oriented type of player prone to performance anxiety, the simplest remedy is to keep the pencil in your pocket and not keep score. With the pressure off, your fears will subside.

Custom-Fit Clubs. Getting properly fitted for golf clubs (including a putter) used to be reserved for Tour pros and elite players. Not anymore. Professional fitting studios are widely available. Done right, custom-fit clubs inspire confidence. They’re your firmest guarantee of improvement—and your fastest route to a better game.

Have fun. The hard-boiled quip of famous Scottish course designer Donald Ross still resonates: “Those who play golf for fun soon get over it.” But golf is a game, after all. At Quivira, it’s played in a stunning desert-meets-ocean setting with several holes routed along sheer granite cliffs that drop to the boiling sea. Take it all in. Smile more. Enjoy every minute of the subtropical paradise that is Los Cabos. With a more carefree approach, who knows, you might even play better.