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Senior Golfer - On The Green

Get your golf game in great shape

The Putting Green

It's June and time to get your golf game great shape. Blue skies, sunshine, flowers, trees, water and clean fresh air-what more could you ask than to enjoy God's creation on a golf course?

To help you enjoy your golf games, I've addressed the three basic components of the game: technology, physical fitness and mental focus. In terms of technology, I've discussed the necessity of custom-fitting your golf clubs to your golf games. I noted how technology has changed the game of golf, transforming it from one of finesse and shotmaking to one of power. For us amateurs, however, the game is still one of hitting it straight.

In the last two columns, I emphasized the importance of being physically fit so that you don't tire out during 18 holes. I also added that with our aches and pains, it's still possible to enjoy the game without hurting ourselves.

And, I've highlighted the mental aspects of the game. I pointed out how important it is to focus on each and every shot, and how the mind often gets in the way of our shooting lower scores.

Now, it's time for you to put all three together when you play golf. In this column, I am becoming an advocate for playing more golf and practicing with a purpose.

I have just gone through my Chicago District Golf Association listing of golf courses, and I'm amazed at how many I still haven't played. If you play golf, live in the Chicagoland area, and are not playing golf on a weekly basis, you're missing out on some great times.

There is no other area of the country with the number, variety and quality of municipal, public, semi-private and private golf courses as Chicago. Sure, Myrtle Beach boasts of its more than 100 golf courses for your golfing pleasure, but you have to get down there. Besides, there are more than 160 courses within a 50-miles radius of downtown Chicago. Here, you can get in your car and, within 15 to 20 minutes, be ready to enjoy a wonderful round of golf. If you live in a municipality that has its own golf course, take advantage of its lower rates because no one knows how long they'll stay this way.

If you play with a regular group, you already know the joys of friendship and good, old-fashioned competition. Golf is the only game where the individual handicaps are designed to make the game competitive among golfers of all abilities.

So, play more golf. Play new courses, meet new people, challenge yourself and your golf games to get better.

On the subject of getting better, I must remind everyone that golf is a sport and you need to practice to become better at playing it. I can't tell you the number of times I've talked to people about their golf games and discovered that they never analyze their games, don't know their strengths and weaknesses, and believe that going to a driving range is the best way to get better at the game.

Like any sport, you must practice to get better. But, like all sports, you have to ingrain proper muscle memory to be successful. Simply going to a driving range and hitting a large bucket of golf balls is no guarantee of success. You have to work on correcting your deficiencies, and particularly focus on shots from 100 yards and in, which account for nearly two-thirds of all the shots in a typical round of golf.

Golf is great game because it asks you to integrate your mind and your body into one effort. Everyone can focus for the short time it takes to hit a golf shot. The question is whether we're focusing on the right things.

So, I urge you to play more golf and practice with a purpose.

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