Welcome to Stuff Golfers Should Know, a GOLF.com series in which we reveal all kinds of useful golf (and life!) wisdom that is sure to make you the smartest, savviest and most prepared player in your foursome.
Now is the autumn of our discontent. At least in some parts of the country, where the end of golf season is in sight. Soon, the snow will fall, blanketing our dormant courses, smothering our spirits and leaving us with, well, free time to be proactive about our games.
In that pragmatic spirit, here are six things every golfer should do before winter settles in.
1. Check if you met your goals
Fall, harvest season, is also a good time for taking stock. Reflect on the past year. Did you lower your index? Increase your club-head speed? Dial-in your putting? Ask yourself whether you met your goals, and, if you didn’t, identify not only where but why you fell short.
2. Set new goals
Golf is a game of infinite hope. Even if it’s as simple as promising yourself that you’ll play more often, you can always aim for better the next time around.
3. Track your stats
Often, there’s a difference between feel and real. That’s true of your swing. But it also applies to how you get around. Are you really a poor driver? A dead-eye putter? Does your 8-iron really deserve its standing as your “best club the bag”? What you think you know is not the same as actually knowing. Good thing technology has your back. Today’s market is brimming with stat-tracking apps and sensors that can tell you with certainty what you’re doing. There’s no time like the present to start gathering performance data. How else to measure how much you’ve improved?
4. Establish a handicap
If you haven’t already, you owe it to yourself. And even more to your opponents.
5. Do some budget crunching
How much did you spend on golf this past year? On greens fees. Equipment. Lessons. Trips. Maybe it was more than you can actually afford. (Come on, this golf; how could that be the case?) Or, maybe, just maybe, there’s money in the coffers for something extra, whether it’s as modest as a better brand of golf ball or as grand as a club membership you thought you couldn’t swing.
6. Plan a golf trip
Any golf trip. Whether it’s a blowout golf-alooza to a destination you’ve always dreamed of, or a weekend getaway to the same spot you’ve been hitting for the past 20 years. Put in your calendar. Get all your buds on board. Then start marking the days until it comes to pass.
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