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Resolving to get better in 2009

New Year’s, huh? Well, you know the drill “ getting some exercise, clearing the junk out of the basement, finally starting on the Great Canadian Novel.

Well, since none of that’s going to happen anytime soon, consider adopting some resolutions you might actually keep _ and get a little more out of your golf game in 2009.
The best part? You don’t have to do anything for four more months!

Take it easy
From the insatiable desire to pound the ball off the first tee to the greedy impulse to fire at every single flag or try in vain to reach the par 5s in two, golf is riddled with moral tests that most of us fail more often than we pass.
If you’re compelled to seize every chance to use the game as a pressure-release valve, you’d probably be happier at the driving range _ or a batting cage. If you really want to play the game, play it for a change instead of trying to ram your driver down its throat all the time.

Take a break
Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees when you’re possessed by the game _ and stuck in the trees, to boot. My game well and truly packed it in at the end of September, and because I was too stubborn to accept it, I probably did some damage to my swing and my confidence in the process.
Take the opportunity presented by a couple of feet of snow on the ground and a few zeros missing from your RRSP and hang up the sticks for a while.

Take a stroll
It’s hard enough to find courses these days that will let you walk without having to pay for a cart, so when you find one, take advantage. It’s not only good for the soul, it’s good for your health.

Practice
The only thing as satisfying as a well-played round of golf is a fruitful few hours spent at the practice range, working out a particular kink or honing a particularly challenging shot.

The more time you spend at the range, the better you’ll play _ provided you plan your range time and practice, as they say, with a purpose.

Make the investment and your green fees will be money better spent. Not only that, but when you consider the per-swing cost of striking a golf ball at the range versus the golf course, it’s pretty damn good value for the dollar.

Upgrade
Chances are, if you’re a regular Gear Head reader, you ought to take it easy on seeking out the latest and greatest in golf technology.

But if you’re the sort of player who’s still rocking 10-year-old woods, convinced the latest and greatest has nothing to offer, do yourself a favour and check it out – you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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James McCarten

When James McCarten isn't at the Ottawa offices of The Canadian Press, where he works as parliamentary news editor, he's either on the golf course or putting off his latest freelance golf-writing gig to spend time with wife Lisa and school-age kids Claire and Lucas. With 20 years of experience in Canadian journalism, James also suffers from a financially crippling addiction to all things Scotty Cameron.

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