16 simple New Year’s resolutions every golfer should make

Looking for a golfy New Year's resolution? Try showing up to a course alone.

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The problem with New Year’s resolutions is that they tend to focus on trivial matters such as love, friendship, finances and health. This year, we’re shifting our attention to a topic of true import. This year, we’re making resolutions around golf.

By that we don’t mean promises we can’t possibility keep. Bomb it like Bryson! Win the Masters! We mean realistic pledges that point us toward improvement, if not in our scoring then at least in our outlook.

With hope in our hearts, here are our 16 targets for 2022. We suggest you take aim at them, too.

1. Play More Often. Duh!

In the eyes of the industry, playing 25 rounds a year makes you an avid golfer. From our perspective, sticking to that baseline number makes you non-committal. Even if you’re just squeezing in nine holes, surely you can try for more than twice a month.

2. Play Faster

It’s not all in your power but you can do your part. Take fewer practice swings. Skip the plumb bob. Be ready to fire when it’s your turn to hit. These easy steps will make you better company on the course. Odds are they will make you a better player, too.

3. Plan a Trip

“There is never any other time than now,” the Buddhists say. Ok, yeah. But there’s also the future. As in, next year, when you finally make good on a golf getaway.

4. Peg it at a Muni

In an era rife with anti-government ranting, it pays to remember that muni golf is golf by and for the people, and many of the courses are flat-out terrific. They are also where the game replenishes itself.

5. Show Up as a Single

Your regular foursome is a sacred group. But there’s something to be said for flying solo. At the risk of sounding like a cut-rate Will Rogers: shake hands with a stranger on the first tee, and the likelihood is high that you’ll walk off 18 with a new friend.

6. Be Less Emotive

Frustration. Fury. Surprise. Delight. You’re allowed to feel them, but no need to make a big deal of them. Works for DJ, anyway.

7. Be More Emotive

The exhilarating highs. The devastating lows. Golf is a wellspring of extreme emotions. Embrace them. Display them. Worked for Seve, anyway.

8. Get Your Kids into the Game

It’s quality time together, no doubt about it. But there’s also the fact that golf is like a language: there’s no substitute for learning when you’re young.

9. Make a Swing Change

Not just any random modification. A thoughtful tweak, overseen by a trusted instructor, carried through with confidence and commitment. It won’t be easy, but not much worth doing ever is.

10. Play without Fear

Hitting a bad shot can be sickening, sure. But what’s harder to swallow is striking the ball without conviction. Try this out for size: an entire round enjoyed without worrying once about results.

11. Don’t Keep Score

See resolution #10.

12. Putt Everything Out, Play Everything Down

This may seem at odds with the resolution around playing faster. But there’s no reason it can’t be done with dispatch. It will also teach you something about your game.

13. Enter a Tournament

With apologies to Bobby Jones, there are two types of golf: casual golf and competitive golf, and everyone should try the latter at least once, whether it’s the State am or a hit-and-giggle, handicapped event.

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14. Get Custom-Fit for Clubs

When done right, it’s your fastest guarantee for improvement.

15. Take a Caddie

Whether you’re paired with a grizzled curmudgeon or a fresh-faced kid, walking 18 with a looper is a rewarding exercise in camaraderie and collaboration of the kind that can’t be found in any other sport. Unless the caddie is inept and annoying, in which case you wind up with a story to tell.

16. Splurge on a Round

Pebble. Bandon. Pinehurst. Sawgrass. The bucket list is boundless. It’s worth saving up to scratch at least one of the items off.

Josh Sens

Golf.com Contributor

A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.