Here’s something I’m willing to admit: I’m going to play 18 holes of golf today after work.

I locked the golfing plans down yesterday and have been thinking about playing ever since. I woke up this morning with a bounce in my step and eagerly tossed my clubs in the trunk.

I thought I’d post now about some of my thoughts about the round I’m about to play…and then I’ll follow up with thoughts after the round. As a player trying to improve (we all are, there’s just more from for me to improve than others) I think how you prepare mentally before and how you assess rounds after is critical. So, here’s what I’m thinking…

~ I’ve never played this course before, so I need to remember to pay attention. Don’t just stand on the tee and give it a go. Assess the trouble areas on either side of the fairway. If it’s a short hole, contemplate keeping driver in the bag. If there’s trouble long – play a club on the short side and vice-versa. When we play the same course over and over, we forget to do these things. I’ve always believed playing new courses forces players to be better thinkers on the golf course.

~ The goal for the round is to break 90. The goal for each hole is to make a par.

~ Try with everything I have to avoid big numbers. If I get into trouble, get out pronto. Leave the zany recoveries for Phil Mickelson.

~ If your driver is killing you…don’t use it. (Write this on the chalkboard 100 times…)

~ There’s nothing wrong with trying to put together your first three-puttless round of your life. But, if nothing else, keep them to a minimum.

~ Forget where the pin is located, shoot for the center.

~ Have fun.

I’ll post tonight and let you know how it goes. What do you think about before you play a round?