How to Prepare for the First Round of the Year

Today, even in the midst of forty degree weather and gusting winds, I had the pleasure of playing my first round of 2016 with my dad at our home course in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. With the lack of snow and surprisingly mild temperatures lately golf courses have started opening up, and as my family was sitting around breakfast this morning my dad and I decided that nothing could beat spending our afternoon on the golf course.

1st Hole at Hawk’s View Golf Club

We had a blast playing, trash talking each other, and catching up on some of the news back in my home town (since I spend most of my time up at school) and honestly, the day couldn’t have gone much better. For having opened up recently the course was in excellent condition. The grass wasn’t a vibrant green yet but the greens were fair and everything around the course was ready for a new year of golf. There were only a handful of people out on the course so we breezed through our round and before we knew it we were heading down the home stretch towards the club house. As the sun started to dip down in the sky we finished up our last few holes and headed into the clubhouse to have a few drinks and look back at the golf we played today. Now tell me that doesn’t sound like time well spent!

And it only gets better… to add to all of this I actually played pretty well too even though I haven’t gotten nearly enough time to practice over the last few weeks (apparently school is more important…). After tallying up the score inside I ended nine over and my dad (who wasn’t nearly as lucky) ended almost 20 over(still not bad for day one).

Although I just went out on the course to enjoy my dad’s company and play a little golf, I couldn’t help but look for ways I could have prepared myself to play a little better today. As I was looking through things in preparation for this article I decided to evaluate my performance today a little different than I normally do, and this is what I came up with.

I set up categories for all of the different parts of my golf game and assigned them either a “good”, “okay”, or “poor” rating. Now while evaluating my game is nothing new, setting it up in a table or creating different categories to organize my information from the round is something I’ve never tried before. While it might take a little more time and effort to create, maybe keeping track of my performance in a more consistent, objective way will help me focus my practice into the areas that need the most improvement? This is all very early in the process, but I’ll be sure to keep up to date with how my little golf experiment is going.

But enough chit chat, here are the categories I came up with:

  • Putting: (Poor) While I didn’t do anything horribly wrong with my putting, my distance control was very inconsistent along with some of the reads I was making. Definitely an area that needs practice!
  • Chipping: (Okay) At the start of the round my chipping was horrendous. I was chunking balls and none of my shots seemed to set me up in a position to score. As I continued though, a few chips on the back nine were really spectacular and led to easy pars. Just consistency problems mainly, but the basics are still there.
  • Irons and Driver: (Okay-Good) My long game started out incredibly well. I made the first five greens in regulation and if my putting had come through for me, I would have been well on my way to scoring well. As the round wore on though, there were a few shots that came off thin and a few the I ended up pulling into the first few cuts of rough. While that’s not necessarily a good think, it’s nothing a few buckets at the range can’t iron out.
  • Decision Making: (Good) I focused a lot on making sure my mental game was on point today and it paid off. Looking back at the round all of my decisions were well informed when it came to the type of shot to hit, or different club selections and I think this was a big part of my success today. All in all, good day for my mental game.
  • Emotional Consistency: (Good) As I’ve grown up this has been something I’ve always had to work on. It was so easy for me to lose my temper as a kid and let my round snowball out of control. Maybe age and maturity are finally starting to help but today I stayed in a pretty optimal mental state. I was never too high after a good shot and never too low after a bad one. It’s nice to start out the year positive and I’m hoping I can only build on that moving forward.
  • Fun: (Good) I mean why come out if you’re not gonna have a good time! I had a blast playing with my dad and I hope I can find some time to come home from school and play with him again.

So what’s the final consensus? Well, I did some things well but there are definitely things to improve on. Spending a few more hours around the practice green is going to help get my short game back on track and as long as I hit a few balls on the range over my spring break I’ll have my a solid, consistent long game too. Now your first round isn’t a make or break point of your season but we all want to start the year on a good note. In my opinion, spending time at the range and especially around the green with your wedges and putter is a must.

Besides some of these obvious recommendations I would highly suggest you spend some time looking at the information provided by this great community of golfers online too! I know that reading this information during the off-season has not only helped me prepare myself for the season, but it’s also gotten me excited to go out on the links and play, even on cold, windy days like today. While I try to offer as much quality content as I can for my level of expertise, there are other golf bloggers with information this is just as good if not even more helpful than some of the stuff you can find at The Golf Academy! So don’t be afraid to do a little digging, I guarantee whatever information you find from this great community is only going to help your game improve. So until next time golfers, dust off your clubs and get ready to start your year off with a great round of golf! And here’s to another great year of golf!



2 thoughts on “How to Prepare for the First Round of the Year

    1. Johnson,
      Absolutely! I would argue that in a game as mentally intensive as golf, emotional consistency is even more important than others. Thanks for stopping by!



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