My 2012 Golf Improvement Plan

Every year I seem to try something new in the off season in hopes of improving my game and this year will be no different.  Last year was a concentrated effort to improve my swing through regular film review, construction of a backyard hitting platform, and a lesson with  The two prior years, I focused on short game and mental approach and while I feel I’ve improved in each attempt, a quick review of my KPIs shows otherwise:


No. Rounds

Scoring Average


Total Putts/Rd.


























I’m not the only golfer out there who’s stuck at the same level no matter what they try, but I firmly believe you need to change something that’s not working.  The biggest source of my frustration is my ball striking.  As a 5-handicap, who’s on-line index at the end of 2011 was down to 3.9, I’m flabbergasted that I failed to average even 50% of my GIR.  There’s untapped potential in there and a reasonable improvement target is 11 GIR.   This would yield a scoring average drop of nearly three strokes per round even if my putting stats did not improve.  The lesson with was enlightening and demonstrated that I lacked the sufficient radial motion in my swing that makes true consistency possible.  I found it very hard to correct my loss of spine angle on the downswing.

The other day I took a few tests recommended by Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) and confirmed what I suspected; I have terrible range of motion in my shoulders, hips, and ankles.  This is precisely what you need to make an effective golf swing and is clearly the source of my inconsistency.  Any attempt to correct a swing flaw without the physical capability to make the change will be impossible.  So 2012 will be the year that I work to improve my balance, power, speed, and agility, and let those improvements deliver a better golf swing as an artifact.  TPI recommends a program that I ran through in about 45 minutes and has got me hurting in places I never knew I had muscles.  The plan is to work these exercises three days a week through the end of February and then hit balls in early March and hopefully get a positive read on what improved flexibility and strength can do for my ball striking.  Can’t wait to get started!


11 thoughts on “My 2012 Golf Improvement Plan”

  1. Love the way you are looking at your stats and your physical limitations. The combination of your mental work, short game work, full swing work and now physical fitness are going to pay huge dividends for you. Great approach!

  2. Thanks for the words of encouragement. I’m going to work on this thing to the extent that a guy with a day job can. My short game is much better than in years past but I miss the days when I could stand on the tee all limber and loose and know there were no physical limitations; it was all technique. Getting old sucks doesn’t it?

  3. Brian I think the biggest stat you are overlooking is the rounds played. You must be playing only about once per week during the golf season and quite frankly that is not enough. My one suggestion would be to play more and practice less. Even if you can only get in 9 holes that is still much better than a 2 hour practice range. I think a good ratio of play to practice should be about 3 or 4 to 1. I am not saying that you do not need to practice at all but believe me for many reasons practice is overated. I am semi retired but still work 4 days a week and played 70 full rounds of golf and a least 25 9 holes. Try it and you will improve. Play baby play.

    1. Very interesting observation and I would add that with an average of 30 rounds per year, my frequency of play is actually less then one round per week because 10 of those rounds are typically crammed into one week at Myrtle Beach. Typically, I’ll play every other weekend from March to November and practice once every weekend. Admittedly it often feels like a new activity when I step on the first tee, and not that familiar comfortable feeling you want. On the other hand, I do work full time and if I played 95 days of the year would probably be in divorce court 🙂 You are very right, I do practice a lot and would estimate my ratio of practice to play time is 1:1. Would it help if I substituted a weekend morning of practice with nine holes or is that enough to make a difference?.

      1. Yes it would make a big difference. In reality practice in my mind only serves only 2 purposes. To learn something new and to get golf muscles in shape. The one of many problems in golf is that there are so many variables. Wind temp terrain grass humidty and lies. You can not duplicate these things with practice.. The only way to get the experience is to play. I like to get out in that wonderful time of the year that i call daylight crazey from May 15th to about July 15th and I can play at 5:30 to 6 am get 9 holes in 11/4 hour by myself and still get to work on time I will do that 1 or 2 times per week.

  4. Thanks Vet; excellent suggestion. Will need to leverage my two work from home days in the summer for either an early morning nine holes (if I can get my rear out of the rack) or an emergency nine around 5:00 pm. Like anything else, if you want to be successful, you need to put in the effort to find a way.

  5. Here’s a great set of exercises that focus on lower body stability, strengthening the hips and butt, and preventing a lateral slide forward. Some are a repeat of the TPI set of 10 noted in the post, but others are new and should be very beneficial. I’m planning on adding to the initial 10.

  6. Well Lee, it’s time for another 12 rounds in 6 days at Myrtle Beach. I hope we can handle the weather and the physical stress the game puts on our bodies. There’s always the Advil drip if it’s needed LOL. I think I’m ready and so are the rest of the guys in AZ. I do agree with the statement above, you just don’t play enough. I’ve known you for a long time and we’ve played hundreds of rounds together. Even though I only see you once a year now, I can still fix your swing in 5 minutes. As you know I probably play too much, almost everyday. One of the benefits living in the desert. I play 18 holes on Saturday and Sunday and play 9 during the week. I use the weekday rounds to practice. For some reason working on the range just doesn’t improve my swing. Looking forward to seeing you in a few days. Dylan is so excited to go again. He made his second eagle from a greenside bunker yesterday. Hard to believe he’s as tall as me now.


  7. Fred, it’s clear I don’t get enough game action to improve much less maintain. The play is also more beneficial than practice for me but unfortunately, available time is the issue. I’m not giving up though, just resetting the current level of expectations. As soon as I get more time, I will rededicate. Looking forward to MB in four days. Thanks!

  8. Lee, I have 7 more hours to work then the vacation starts. Going to play tomorrow then pack up the sticks and head to the airport. See you Sunday, keep the convoy safe on the drive down.

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