It took its time, but it has finally arrived. It’s time to put away the snow blowers, snow shovels and ice melts. Get the clubs out of the basement. The golf season has arrived, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for those of us who call Chicago home during the wintertime.
For those of us confined to our homes during the polar vortex of January, the snow storms of February, the golf season is a welcome relief. Although some of us have been able to travel to warmer climates to play golf and others have streamed to golf domes across the Chicago area to hit golf balls, there’s nothing like playing nine or 18 on a golf course to entice us to forget all about this past winter. In addition, the upcoming golf season brings with it new rules, new equipment, and plenty of new challenges.
At the urging of golfers both amateur and professional, the two ruling bodies of golf have promulgated several major rules changes designed to make the rules easier to understand and simpler to execute. The new rules are significant, but I have neither the time nor the space to detail them. That said, I urge all golfers to learn the new rules because they have already caused quite a stir on the pro tour.
As for new equipment, the major golf club manufacturers have come out with a plethora of new drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, irons, wedges and putters to improve your game. Technology in the form of new equipment can work wonders for one’s game. But never forget, the key to getting the best value in equipment is be custom fit. As I’ve said before, custom fitting is the most important part of buying any new golf club, whether it be a driver, putter, wedge or a brand-new set of irons.
The challenges facing all golfers, both young and old, amateur of professional, are life-long. We want to play better golf. We want to improve our golf games. We want to have better focus. We want to be more physically fit. And we want all these goals to be accomplished at the same time and with very little work or effort.
As we all know, we can’t conquer the challenges of the game without devoting time and effort. We need to develop a plan to improve. It requires physical fitness as the cornerstone—but who has either the time or effort to go the gym on a daily basis? What’s the best type of exercise plan to follow? Should weight training be part of this plan?
In terms of the game itself, we can’t get better without practice. But what should we practice? How should we go about it? Is there a need for lessons? If so, who is the best teacher? Practice without a purpose is simply hitting golf balls. On the other hand, practicing the wrong things because of a lack of knowledge is a waste of time and effort. What’s our plan of attack to improve our golf swings?
As for better focus, this refers to the mental part of the game. A typical round of golf (18 holes) usually takes between four to 4.5 hours to play, but we only spend about five minutes actually swinging the club and hitting the golf ball. If we could improve our focus during this time, how much better could we be as golfers?
There are always more questions than answers when it comes to the game of golf. But never forget our goal is to not only play more golf this year, but also play better golf. See you on the course!
Jerry Koncel is a freelance writer, avid golfer,
and admirer of Chicagoland golf courses. Send him an email with your comments and questions, as well as column topics. To: firstname.lastname@example.org.