The start of a new year gives everyone the opportunity to reflect on the past year and set new goals in various aspects of their lives targeted for personal improvement.
Golfers are very goal orientated. For recreational players, resolutions might range from breaking a scoring threshold, playing and practicing more, gaining distance off the tee or taking that long-awaited golf trip with friends.
Competitive tournament players have set their goals for the upcoming year, as well. Whether it’s winning a specific tournament, successfully meeting analytical measurements or reaching new levels of fitness, the top players in the world are constantly striving to take their games to the next level.
We recently reached out to a handful of the top amateur players in the world and asked them to share their golf resolutions and goals for 2022. From USGA champions, seniors, mid-amateurs and top collegiate players, their answers all have a common thread: to improve.
Hopefully, their answers will inspire you to set New Year’s resolutions and goals for your game in 2022.
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Blakesly Brock (Chattanooga, Tenn.); 2021 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Champion
My win at the U.S. Women's Mid-Am provided me with some exciting exemptions for 2022. Some of my tournament-specific goals are to be the low amateur at the U.S. Women’s Open, win the U.S. Women’s Amateur and repeat at the U.S. Women’s Mid-Am. I’d also like to win the Tennessee Women’s Amateur and qualify for the 2023 U.S. Women’s Four-Ball.
Fitness is also one of my focuses for 2022. I have recently become kind of obsessed with the biomechanics of the golf swing. I just read Joey D's (Diovisalvi) book and it helped me identify the areas of my body that need work. It also helped me design a specific plan to improve mobility in those areas. My goal is to add these golf-specific exercises into my current workout routine at least six days a week and measure my progress every three months. These exercises should help make it easier to get into the positions I want to in my golf swing, as well as prevent injury and add strength.
Improving my mental game is another goal I have for 2022. I specifically want to improve my self-talk and body language, even when I'm just practicing or out playing for fun. Reading books to keep my mind fresh and focusing on having a growth mindset throughout the year will be part of the process.
Statistically, I've set goals to make more putts from 15 feet and in, increase my up and down percentage, and improve my average proximity to the hole with my wedges.
Jeff Burda (Modesto, Calif.); 2021 AmateurGolf.com Super Senior Player of the Year
You know, in my business career, it was routine to develop detailed short- and long-term plans. But, in my golf career, I never really did that. It was more about trying to get better, stay healthy and enjoy the time on the course. I always wanted to compete at the highest level possible but to win this event or that event, that wasn’t my focus.
Now, as I’m in the fourth quarter of my golf career (and, as my friend Randy Reifers says, “I hope it’s not the final two minutes!”) I find that my focus is on getting to the next age group! I do spend much more time now trying to stay healthy, keeping my swing speed up, looking forward to playing great venues and just seeing all the guys that I’ve come to know and respect.
Jensen Castle (Greenville, SC); 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur Champion
In the spring season, my goal is to average 14.5 per greens per round and hit eight in positions (inside 20 feet). I also have a goal to average under 30 putts for the spring season.
Gene Elliott (West Des Moines, Iowa); 2021 AmateurGolf.com Senior Player of the Year
Repeat as British and U.S. Senior Amateur champion; finish in the top 20 of the British and U.S. Senior Opens; lose 15 pounds and run three miles by the time I’m 60.
Randy Haag (Orinda, Calif.); Six-time Northern California Golf Association Player of the Year
Since I just had major ankle surgery in early December, my rehabilitation and prep for 2022 will be more intense and thought out than ever before. When I was 30 years old, 60 seemed like a million years away, and it just seemed like there was not a sense of urgency on the number of opportunities to cross off big goals on the bucket list. On Jan 9th I will turn 63, I can still bang a driver out 280-290 yards, but it requires more work and effort than ever before. At 30 I always felt that I had an endless number of years to accomplish things in golf, and there was not a lot of pressure to do so. Yes, I always was very competitive, but thinking about limited opportunities has me working harder on just this, setting up a schedule for the upcoming year, setting realistic goals, and then planning what I need to do in the way of physical and mental training to accomplish these goals.
First, listen to my body. Being well-rested mentally and physically is the key to my success going into an event. I don’t even like to play a practice round the day before the event begins. Specifically for 2022, I will need to work very hard to regain the stamina and strength I lost while I was in a cast for eight weeks and wasn’t able to do any cardio or strength training. I use a TPI training program for my strength and fitness. I will focus on my core and leg strength.
Lauren Greenlief (Ashburn, Va.); 2015 U.S, Women’s Mid-Amateur Champion
Have a successful year at the national level in USGA events; make another deep run at the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur; qualify and make match-play at the U.S. Women's Amateur; qualify for the U.S. Women's Open for the first time. Regarding fitness, continue to work on swing speed and get to 100 mph and 250-yard driver carry distance consistently. Statistically, continue to improve my putting, especially the make percentage from 5-15 feet; improve proximity to the hole with wedges and get 1-2 more makeable birdie chances from 10 feet and in per round. Also, I’d like to focus on actions to help grow the women's game, especially the mid-amateur / post-college age group via a board of directors’ role with the Virginia State Golf Association and through supporting newer events on the calendar.
Sean Knapp (Oakmont, Pa.); 2017 U.S. Senior Amateur Champion
Many of my goals are a continuation of some of the things I started last year in terms of analytics and equipment changes. I tweaked a lot of things in my bag from loft on my irons, shafts and ball experimentation and it took me about six months to get adjusted. Changing the loft on my irons was a home run but the new shafts were a disaster, so I went back to what worked for me. There was a lot of trial and error involved. It wasn’t until late in the year that I started to feel comfortable so 2022 will largely be about verifying and trusting the changes I made last year. Of course, at 59, physical fitness is always a priority.
Billy Mitchell (Atlanta, Ga.); Low amateur at 2021 U.S. Senior Open
Well, I had a nice year but as a trainer and performance coach, I'd love to see one of the players I train win on their respective tours. I would love to be the low amateur at the U.S. Senior Open and win the R&A British and U.S. Senior Amateurs. That would be a career, I guess. But more important than that I would love to win the Stocker Cup team event with my boy Martin Conolly.
Ellen Port (St. Louis, Mo.); Seven-time USGA champion
I have always wrestled with new year's resolutions and goal setting as they can set you up for failure and discouragement. So here is my approach this year -- I have seen a concept out there by Jon Gordon, an author and sports psychologist. He challenges you to pick one word for the new year and live it out.
So, I am going to pick one word for 2022 and live it out in every area of my life and not just in golf. The word is CONSISTENCY.
If I live this word out each day to the best of my ability, I think I will look back on 2022 and say it was a very good year.
And since I want to be "consistent" about consistently giving credit where credit is due, a dear friend of mine, Janet Moore, who is also a fantastic golfer, planted this word in my brain a couple of months ago and it has stuck. Now it has become my one word for 2022! Thanks, Janet!
Bob Royak (Alpharetta, Ga.); 2019 U.S. Senior Amateur Champion; 2021 Georgia Mid-Amateur Champion
Oddly I am looking forward to playing less golf than I did in 2021. I’ve always been conscious of my health and fitness so that will be a top priority again. I feel if I can avoid injuries, gain strength and maintain swing speed, that will go a long way in keeping up in my 60’s and get me in contention as often as possible. Something new for me is paying closer attention to my stats and tracking them. I started to use some of the Scott Fawcett Decade fundamentals in 2021 with positive results. Mostly being more conservative with approach shots. Amazingly it does pay off when you don’t aim at every flag. So, this year I have subscribed to Decade and will go with it 100%. The hope is that tracking my stats and numbers will provide a better road map for strategy and what to focus on in any game weakness.
Latanna Stone (Riverview, Fla.); junior at LSU; recent winner of Dixie Women’s Amateur
My goals for 2022 for the upcoming season and year consist of winning my first individual college title. This has been a goal of mine since I started playing for LSU. I also have been working hard on my putting with Mark Sweeney who started AimPoint to get my putts lower and being able to convert more in-positions. I also have my fingers crossed that I’ll receive an invitation to the Augusta National Women’s Amateur in the mail since that has been a dream of mine to play the legendary golf course. My last goal I always tell myself is to have fun and enjoy myself no matter what.
Rusty Strawn (McDonough, Ga.); World’s No. 2 ranked senior player by AmateurGolf.com/Golfweek
My main goal for 2022 will be to continue to work hard on my short game, specifically shots within 100 yards of the green. I feel most successful players are very strong around the greens and to be able to get the ball up and down a high percentage of the time. I think your thought process needs to start back in the fairway. I try not to leave myself in a position around the green where getting up and down is impossible, therefore, continuous course management is critical to good scoring.
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Pete Wlodkowski, Founder/Publisher
Not to leave my clubs where they can be stolen like they were in Tucson.
Chris Brauner, Website Operations Manager
To be as excited about playing golf as I was when I was 12 years old.
Jim Young, Managing Editor
Make a commitment to physical fitness (strength/cardio/agility); practice with a purpose; lower my handicap to single digits; play five new courses; continue to tell amazing stories of amateur golfers.
Sean Melia, Staff Writer
Hit at least 20 practice putts a day; play 40 new courses in Massachusetts; increase my swing speed with strength and speed training.
Kent Paisley, Staff Writer
Rediscover how to hit a driver consistently and stop leaking across the course; commit to a stretching routine; continue to play the game with joy; play with friends monthly; and return to the competitive amateur arena with at least one tournament appearance, which will definitely require hitting the driver more consistently.