Ten Goals for Improving Your Golf Experience in One Year

The fall golf season is quickly fading into winter and your game is just getting warmed up, or at least you are still trying to perfect it, just in time to hang up the clubs and start dreaming of next year.

Unless you want to be sitting in this same position at this time next year, it's time to start working toward an overall improvement in your play, and there's no time like today. The best way to make a giant leap in your game is by taking smaller baby steps. Here are 10 goals to set for yourself for 2016:

Set your goals: This one may seem obvious, but the most important step is the first one. That means identifying the weaknesses in your game. Take an inventory of your game over your next few rounds. What shots are costing you the most strokes? What areas do you need the most work – woods, irons or the ever-critical putter? Those are the areas where you want to concentrate your efforts in practice and goal setting.

Have your swing analyzed: Many courses and golf outlets offer computer swing analysis that can break down every millisecond of your stroke and show you things you could never catch in real time. If your swing plane is off the mark, the slightest adjustment in your grip, hips, feet or shoulders can have a major impact on your game.

Check your clubs: A good craftsman never blames his tools, but a faulty set of clubs can adversely affect your game while making you think the problem is you. Have your clubs regripped regularly and repair or replace older clubs if needed. And no matter what happens, don't wrap it around a tree or chuck it in the lake.

Take lessons: Some guys seem to have a hard time admitting they need help. The idea of having a teacher is akin to stopping and asking for directions: I know I can get there on my own, we say. Once you get over that mental hump, you will find that golf pros can be a huge asset for fine-tuning your game.

Pick a number: Every golfer has a goal score in mind; usually the nice round ones like 70, 80 or 90. But those are only pipe dreams unless you are willing to work for them. Pick a realistic number, say 3 to 5 strokes lower than your personal best, and try to shoot it within a year. If you get there early, you can always set a new one.

Knock 10 points off your handicap: This may be a more accurate measure of improvement over a one-round score. To put such a sizable dent in your handicap you will have to show consistency, which really is the mark of good golf. Break it down into quarters if it helps to reach the more attainable 2 1/2 strokes over a three-month period.

Put in the time: Like anything in life, practice is the key to improvement. Muscle memory is critical to a quality golf swing and the only way to achieve it is through repetition. If your schedule is tight and you can't sneak in any more rounds without getting fired or divorced, find time to hit the driving range for an hour or so a couple of times a week.

Keep practicing in the winter: Working on your game only to take two or three months off is a waste of time and energy. Stay active in the winter and much of your improvement will carry over to the spring. Set up a tee box or putting green in your garage or man cave, and take full advantage of those mild days when you get them.

Physical fitness off the course: Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of golf is physical fitness. Some golfers think they can sit behind a desk for 40 hours a week, sleep for another 40, and kick back in the recliner for the other 40, then walk out on the course on the weekend and dominate. A good fitness program improves strength, stamina and flexibility, and it's good for you.

Practice visualization: Lots of golfers work on their physical abilities but not their mental games. You know it's a factor in many of the rushed shots and missed putts that add up to high scores but do nothing to fix it. One of the most popular practices in sports psychology is visualization, where you learn to totally focus and picture yourself making shots. See the ball's path and watch it roll into the hole, and then do it.

Reward yourself with a Myrtle Beach golf trip: This one may be last on our list, but it's certainly not least. Show off the improvement you've made by testing your skills in America's ultimate golf destination. Tee off at elite local courses like The Dunes Golf & Beach Club and Caledonia Golf & Fish Club for a quality course to match your game.

Let MyrtleBeachGolf.com help you accomplish all of your goals, especially the last one.