Most people make their resolutions at New Year’s, but golfers make theirs when the courses open in the spring. Not surprisingly, I tend to make mine while we’re preparing Westchester/Hudson Valley Golf for publication. I guess you could call it a fortunate occupational hazard.
This year, I resolved to work on one (and only one!) swing improvement, although it’s a big one. Craig Thomas, head pro at Metropolis Country Club and competitor on the PGA Champions Tour, pointed out that I’m not getting enough hip turn in my swing and gave me a couple of really good drills to correct that. I got some workout suggestions to strengthen that move from Ali Gilbert, director of golf performance at Clay Health Club + Spa.
I also resolved to start playing smarter, more age-appropriate golf. Stepping forward to a tee box that makes sense for me will make the game no less challenging but a lot more fun. Quite frankly, it’s a bigger thrill and takes more skill to stick a wedge for a one-putt birdie than to bomb a driver, hope to hit the green with a hybrid, then lag a 30-footer for a par. It’s a game, folks, not a test of your manhood!
And games are supposed to be fun. Which brings me to the most important resolution I made this year: Enjoy yourself. As Walter Hagen said, “You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”
There are so many opportunities to enjoy yourself on the golf course: Take in the scenic vistas of the Hudson from the 16th tee at Sleepy Hollow; meander through the ruins of the old Hessian Club next to the fifth tee at Hudson National; peruse the historic keepsakes on display at Winged Foot, Saint Andrew’s, Knollwood, and many other clubs in the county; watch a kid take a lesson—or better yet, give a kid a lesson with a contribution to The First Tee.
Above all, next time you snap-hook one into the pond, stop and take a deep breath, exhale slowly, and smile—you’re having fun on the golf course.