When it comes to making New Year’s resolutions, I don’t make many, let alone write them down and publish them. But this year, I’m making an exception when it comes to golf goals. I really want to get to a single-figure handicap index by year end. It’s going to take some work.

A full year of golf?

The last two years of COVID lockdowns have seriously reduced the time available to get out, practice and play. My handicap has wobbled a bit but levelled off at 10.7. Hopefully, we’ll get a full year of golf this year – government rules and weather permitting – so I’m going to make the most of it and do my best to get my handicap into single figures.  Here’s the cunning plan:

Target golf

My overall performance target is to get my handicap index on or below 9.5. To do that, I’ve got to pay attention to a few key indicators and set some more detailed actionable targets relevant to key areas of my game:

  • Driving accuracy: >45% drives on the fairway
  • Greens in regulation: >55%
  • Around the greens: Proximity <18 feet
  • Putting average: <1.9

And to achieve those numbers, I’m going to need a simple game plan and start capturing more data.

Game plan

Data: I need an efficient way to record three extra data points during a round in addition to my gross score: Fairway Y/N, Number of putts, Putt distances. All the sub goals can be calculated from these.

Fitness and diet: I definitely need to work on my fitness while avoiding a recurring back problem. This body isn’t getting any younger. I’m thinking a 30-minute workout three times a week should be a good starter – jogging (brisk walking), weights and lots of yoga stretches. Less wine, bread and cheese – my favourites.

Practice: I reckon two hours a week should be a good start. Range work for an hour, and on a different day, another hour of chipping and putting.

Lessons: If I need to reduce my swing and rotation speed to lower back stresses, I’d better improve my wrist hinge snap to compensate. In 2022 I’m going to need help on three things: new swing mechanics, fairway woods and accurate approach irons.

Scoring: I’m going to alternate practice rounds with scoring rounds so I can course-test what I learn from lessons. Realistically, my playing season is the start of March to the end of October. That’s 35 weeks. If I can play 80% of those, I’ll get 28 rounds in and 14 scoring cards. I’d also like to play a new and different course every month, just for variety and a different learning challenge.

It’s going to take time

And in between all this time spent on golf – I calculate it’s an investment of 11 hours a week if you include travel – there’s the small matter of running the rapidly growing PuttBANDIT business with my brother and enjoying home life with my partner. I know what you’re thinking. But she doesn’t play golf. Good thought though.

Happy new year

PuttBANDIT | Visibly Better Putting | Paul signature


What are your golf goals in 2022?  Let us know in an email to contribute@puttbandit.com

Paul Hart is a founding director of PuttBANDIT Ltd, co-inventor of the PuttBANDIT Ball Marker and focussed on a single-figure handicap in 2022.

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