Is That The Golf Season Around The Corner?
I'll be leaving Monday night for my 30th annual trip to the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando. This is the big golf industry showcase extravaganza held the last week of January every year. Nearly every company engaged in the golf business will be there, exhibiting their products to the thousands of golf professionals and industry buyers who will be roaming the aisles.

Because EIDOLON sells direct to our golfers, and has little-to-no retail distribution, we don’t exhibit at the Show; we attend as observers and to rekindle relationships with industry friends and suppliers. It’s also our chance to have in-depth meetings about where we’ve been and where we’re going. Our modus operandi is to rent a home away from the Convention Center madness, and set up corporate HQ there for a week. Except for the couple of days at the Show itself, we’ll fill our time with discussion and planning, and play some golf . . . sometimes lots of golf.

Besides the business implication of this annual trip, it usually kicks me out of the winter doldrums to think about what I want to do with my own golf in the coming year. I’ve neglected my game the past few, as we have been so busy with EIDOLON’s growth . . . and planning this new product launch for 2011. Somehow, actually playing has taken a back seat to this effort.

But I’ve been giving thought to putting in the effort to get back to the kind of game I used to have. 2011 will be my last year of playing golf in my 50s (sheesh, that’s hard to imagine). Since he hasn’t seem me on the course in a month, my golf pro was on my case the other night about how I’ve let my game deteriorate, and challenged me to put forth the time and effort to get back to scratch “one more time”. I think I’ll take him up on it. That means a commitment to flexibility and strength training to restore my more youthful golf muscles, and to hours on the practice tee, and on and around the practice green. But it will be fun. I’ve always been a range rat, and love to spend time alone hitting balls, learning, practicing.

So, there’s my plan to kick off the 2011 season. What do you guys have that you want to do with your golf this year? Get stronger and longer? Sharpen your iron game? Improve your short game skills? Get deadlier with the putter?

Here’s a challenge to you as you wait for it to get warmer so that you can get back into it. Think about where holes “got away from you”, and where entire rounds got away, too. Analyze those holes on your favorite courses that always give you the most trouble, and think about different ways you might play them.

What would it mean to your game if you hit in the fairway just a couple more times per round? Hit a few more greens? Chipped it closer more often? Made better lag puts? Drained a few more 3-6 footers? And that will lead you to a plan for the 2011 season.

My one recommendation for all of you (especially those of us who are not in our 20s anymore) is to build a regimen of stretching into your daily routine, preferably, but most definitely into your pre-round preparation. If you find yourself rushed when you get to the course, take five minutes to stretch thoroughly first thing in the morning on days you plan to play. You’ll be surprised what a difference it makes.

What other ideas do you guys have to share that can help all of us make 2011 our best golf year ever?
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[ comments ]
Bryan K says:
I need to eliminate the 4-5 shots every round that end up costing me 10-15 strokes. Example...say my buddy, whose handicap ranges from 5-8 strokes better than ine, and I both hit identical tee shots to an ugly lie in the trees on an average length par four. My buddies second shot, nine times out of ten, will either end up on the green or close enough so that he has a legitimate shot at going up and down for par. I, on the other hand, will play for bogey from that point and just try to hit my second shot to a place where I'm comfortable. Problem is, I suck at that shot. I'll put too much loft and hit a tree limb...or I'll not get enough loft and watch my shot roll into the woods on the other side of the fairway.
SD Charlie says:
Thanks Terry, I totally agree about the fitness aspect. A friend of mine recently switched careers and is now a personal trainer. He has learned a lot about the effects of aging in terms of athletic performance. Once you pass age 30, you have to put in work just to not lose muscle mass and flexibility. I learned the hard way after some injuries in running, hiking and rec. softball. Now I stretch and warm up my joints before any kind of physical activity.

At any rate, this will be my 2nd full year in golf, and my big goal is to get under 100 and stay there. I'm going to start with better course management and trying to hit more greens.
Bryan K says:
SD Charlie: Just sayin'....but getting under 100 and "staying there" might be easier said than done considering my scores last summer ranged from 81 to 123 on regulation 18 hole courses. The 123 was shot on a course that had championship length roughs that I just could not chip out of. My game was relatively strong overall that day if you can somehow manage to ignore the 30 chip shots that I had to take.
aaronm04 says:
Thanks for the article Terry. I gotta go with the flat stick this year. I've missed way too many 3-6 footers in the last year. Frustrating missing those when it makes a par into a bogey after a great drive and a GIR. Equally so when you make a great chip and miss out on the par. Any suggested reading on improving one's putting?
DoubleDingo says:
Since I had to wait from July 2010 to January 2011 for tendinitis to heal in my left elbow, my goal this year is to try a more relaxed grip, smoother swing, and gain accuracy. My putting is usually pretty good. So it will be a mental thing for me to stay focused on the new swing technique, and not revert to squeezing the life out of the clubs and trying to kill the ball each shot. I feel that my game will improve greatly if I do those things.
Birdwell49 says:
I recently started hitting the weights a little harder to try build a fat-burning engine. Will start with some stretching as well since I'll be leaving my 30's this year.
Most importantly for me, I intend to practice more, but less. Time is such a commodity that I've decided to heed the advice of so many Champions Tour players and practice smarter. Basic fundamentals will be included in every practice session with set times for each skill I work on.
I can' t count the times that I've banged balls for hours only to start developing bad habits...
Banker85 says:
i need to be able to make the 5 footers for par or bogey saves. I hate when i chip it close enough to save par and choke the putt or hit a GIR and three putt cause i missed a 4 footer for par.
aaronm04 says:
@Birdwell49: The teaching pro I see recommends no more than 45 minutes of full swings per range session. He says to go beyond that is really when the bad habits start form due to fatigue. After 45 minutes, he says to hit the chipping or putting greens. HTH
cicero says:
I'm going to pay attention to the short game this year, especially putting. And by that, I mean that I'm going to consciously go out and practice it. The putting green is free to use a the range I frequent. Even with a toddler in the house, there's no reason that I can't find a way to get out to the putting green or putt and chip at the house for an hour or two every day, so that's my goal for this year.

I'm long enough, and I keep it in play most of the time. It's amazing that, in one round I played last year (THE round I played last year), I could have shot in the mid to low 80's instead of shooting a career low of 94 because of three-putts, short game, and bad course management; none of these are going to be improved by beating balls at the range, which is the only type of practice I've ever done to this point. The two things that I am going to be working on the range are adopting a fade as my shot of choice, and hitting it in the middle of the face.
larrynjr says:
At the end of last season I was starting to figure out how to keep from dipping my shoulders into the shot, thus hitting it fat and also keeping my club on plane. We've had good weather this weekend and I hit a bunch of balls in our back yard/field and it still seems to be working for me so I'm seriously hoping to finally break 90 this year and better yet, start approaching 80. I'm finding that my iron shots and a bit shorter but they now have some bite to them, doing what I've read others say, throwing darts. Hit it and it sticks on impact. Here's to another great season!
tcjonny says:
for my game this year, i want to actually take a lesson (which I've never actually done). Also, in 2010, i went from shooting in the mid 80s to the mid 70s. With lessons in 2011, I would like to start shooting consistently in the 60s and possibly get back into some competitive golf!
Niramas says:
I bought an opti-shot and am using it this winter to work on my swing in the garage. It's not very realistic as a sim, but as a swing path/face analyser it is great. I have already fixed my over-the-top problems with the feedback of the analyser. It is awesome to get patch, face angle, impact location, and and swing speed feedback with every swing! I have found it much more effective when I can go out into the garage for 20-30 swings a couple times a day rather than hitting 100 balls 2-3 times a week......
larrynjr says:
@Niramas; I've been considering the opti-shot for the off season but was looking for more feedback as to how good it really it. Let us know when you get back on the course to see if what you've done at home translates to the course. If it does, next year may see one of those at my house too...............
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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