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Get your game plan ready now

Eben Harrell

Yesterday morning I teed up for the first time this year at the Aspen Golf Club, my home course. It was a glorious day, sharp blue skies and majestic, snow-draped mountains making us golfers look very small indeed.

From Pyramid Peak to the Pass, there’s not a bad view on Aspen’s golf course.

Still, I wouldn’t let myself get distracted. I had a clear mission – to start formulating this year’s game plan. Every golfer should have a strategy, at least something beyond “hit and hope.”

When you drive to a golf course, you almost always have a set of directions, a route that takes into account everything from time of day to road conditions.

Playing a golf hole should be no different. And taking time in the early spring to reassess club selection and strategy is particularly crucial.

First off, it helps stave off monotony. If you play each golf hole differently each year, it’s almost like playing a different course.

It also helps erase bad memories from last season’s play. In last year’s city championship, for example, I had a two stroke lead on the 16th hole before hooking a 3-wood out of bounds and eventually losing by a stroke. You can bet I’m not hitting a 3-wood off 16 anymore.

Yesterday the conversation between me and my playing partner varied between giddy banter about the first warm day of golf and intense discussion about the game plan. “What club are you hitting here?” “I like to play this tee shot out left – it leaves a better approach into the green,” etc.

When you start teeing it this spring on your home course, start determining what clubs you’re going to hit under set conditions. Discuss it with your friends and playing partners. Have different clubs and different approaches depending on wind, turf conditions and level of confidence.

One of the neat aspects of golf is that you know what you’re about to face. Unlike most sports, which are grounded in reaction, the challenge of golf is all laid out before you. You can, and should, follow a game plan to success.

(For those duffers who make the Aspen city course their home, the course superintendent announced that the modified par-5 15th hole will open for play May 5. Greens will be aerated on May 3. The new clubhouse restaurant, Shlomo’s On the Green, will be in full operation by late April).

Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is eharrell@aspentimes.com


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