Golfer's List Of New Year's Resolutions

Ten simple steps every golfer can take to help make your round more enjoyable - and golf courses in better shape

January 19, 2009

By Larry Gilhuly, USGA

Not another New Year's resolution list! 

You're right; this is not just another New Year's resolution list. When followed properly, this list will make your golf course more enjoyable to play, easier and less expensive to maintain, and will help the maintenance staff keep it in better agronomic condition.  At a time of budgetary scrutiny that requires 20-20 vision, how you leave your golf course after playing it has a major impact - positive or negative - on those who follow.  With this in mind, let's look at 2009 with the following in mind every time you tee it up! ( Click on the underlined phrases to view animated video clips relating to these tips. )

1. I resolve to understand that a bunker should be left the way it was when I entered it by properly raking my footprints and blast mark, regardless of how good or inept my attempt has been.

2. I resolve to bend over when filling my divot with sand/seed to make sure the area is filled properly so as not to damage the mowers.

3. I resolve to learn how to properly fix all of my ball marks by pushing and not lifting them up, thereby exposing soil and causing weeks of recovery.

4. I resolve to realize that any sign that has a directional arrow with the word "carts" on it means I should go in that direction when driving a power cart.

5. I resolve to avoid walking over ropes held up by stakes that are meant to move traffic away from a weakened area. When I trip over said rope I will take personal responsibility for my mistake.

6. I resolve to understand that those operating maintenance equipment can be injured by my attempts at striking a very hard white ball. A few seconds of patience is always the best policy.

7. I resolve to remember that cart paths are not like a road where parking is needed on the edges. I will park/drive my golf cart on the hard surface only to avoid wearing out the edges.

8. I resolve to understand that trees never grow smaller as they age and shade/roots sometimes mean tree removal is necessary.

9. I resolve to understand that all greens are different, thus green speed should not be the same from course-to-course. Detecting and adapting to different course conditions is an inherent part of the challenge of the game.

10. And finally, I resolve to remember that the game is just that - a game. I will accept responsibility for my success or failure at this difficult game, even while sitting in the 19th hole!

Larry Gilhuly, Northwest Director of the USGA Green Section, can be reached at or 253-858-2266. For additional tips, click here to view an animated video clip about preventing unnecessary damage to the golf course.



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