Golfgal’s 10 step program to better golf

It’s almost December 2010. Where did the year go? It seems like only yesterday I was contemplating my NY’s resolutions that I knew I would break faster than it takes to yell “FORE!!!”. 
For the past ten years, I’ve vowed every year to lose weight and get into shape. Sound familiar? I even had the magic numbers all picked out – i.e. optimal weight and dress size. But every year I not only failed, I gained more weight and was in worse shape than the year before.
But this year, instead of practicing insanity – doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome – I decided it was time for a change.
After my 2009 trip to Maui where I felt my golf game had come to a screeching halt, I made a promise to myself to reduce my handicap by 3 points (which at that time stood at 20.6) in 2010.
Just that subtle change in mindset, from a wish to a promise, made an incredible change in my attitude, and I believe… my outcome. In my mind, I could already see myself as a better golfer because:
1. I’m passionate about golf and committed to improving my game.
2. My goal was SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely)

Once I made that promise to myself, I sat down and thought about what it would take to fulfill it…

Last year golf had finally been recognized by the Olympic poobahs as a real sport. And who plays sports? Athletes, of course. So I looked into the mirror and said to myself, “You’re an athlete and it’s about time you started acting like one!”

Okay, so how do athletes behave? Well, they:
  • Start with the right equipment.
  • Work with a good coach.
  • Train physically and mentally.
  • Practice, practice, practice.
  • Evaluate progress, review goals and repeat the process.

So with that in mind, I put together my 10 step program to a 17.6 handicap:

  1. I signed up at a gym near my office and hired Jonathan, a personal trainer, who designed a program for me that was focused on improving my golf game. We worked out together every week.
  2. I set up a buddy system with a friend so that we pushed each other to work out at the gym at least 4 mornings a week. When one wasn’t there, the other sure heard about it.
  3. I scheduled bi-weekly sessions with a massage therapist to work out some serious calcification issues I have with muscles and joints long abused by bad living and bad golf habits.
  4. I scheduled a club fitting to buy new equipment that was right for me.
  5. I signed up for numerous golf lessons with my new swing and mental coach, extraordinaire Ginny Golding.
  6. I bought Dr. Bob Rotella’s books: Golf Is a Game of Confidence and Golf is Not a Game of Perfect to help me feel less naked on the first tee.
  7. I chose to eat healthier foods – only whole grains, lower fat, higher protein meals. I thank my lucky stars my golfguy is an amazing chef.
  8. No more martinis – only red wine, purely for medicinal purposes, of course. 😉
  9. I bought a journal to help record my progress.
  10. I woke up every day and said to myself, “It’s not the destination that matters, it’s the journey. Enjoy the journey.”

I took my first step to better golf on January 5, 2010, and on November 19, 2010, after shooting an 87 on the Wailea Emerald course on Maui…

my handicap factor dipped to its all time low.


That night, back at the condo in Lahaina, I drank champagne on our lanai, watched the sun set, and celebrated reaching my goal. 

I felt a bit like Julie cooking her way through Julia Child’s 524 recipes in a year, with one exception; Julie’s journey was over the day she completed recipe 524. For me, when I hit my goal to reduce my handicap by 3 points, I knew I was just getting started. 

Next year I’ll start a whole new journey to 15 and love every minute of it!
Pamper yourself on Maui! Book your little piece of heaven in golfers’ paradise. Book now at and tell them Golfgal sent you!

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  1. Congratulations, Gayle! And you made it with a month to spare!

  2. Monique Agatep Ignacio

    That’s really inspiring! Congratulations!!!!!!

  3. Thanks Mike and Monique! For so many golfers, this achievement isn’t a big deal, but for an old hacker like me, it’s a reason to get up everyday at 6 AM and head to the gym. If I keep working hard, I may just break double digits someday 😉 (or die trying!) 😉


  4. Congratulations on a huge accomplishment. I think being able to set personal and measurable goals is one of the great things about golf.


    That is some serious dedication to the game (I mean you did give up Martini’s) and you accomplished the goal you set for yourself… very cool Gayle and admirable for sure!

  6. Congrats Gayle! It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we change our focus.

    I’m curious though – do you enjoy your game more? Did you achieve any of your past goals through this new process?

  7. Thanks Heather, Brian and Elizabeth! I did have champagne which broke the “all red” rule, but I figured that was okay 😉 But I kept away from Martinis as they can be deadly!

    Elizabeth, I love golf, but to say I love my game more would be a stretch. I guess every golfer wants to keep getting better. But I do love some of the shots I can now make that I couldn’t before. I never used this process before, so this is a first. Next year, I may tweak it a bit with more focus on my putting, but most it will stay the same. If it ain’t broke… 😉

    Thanks all!

  8. Congrats! Sounds like your hard work really paid off. I need to get back into a steady routine so I can be on top of my game before the spring. Years ago when I was extremely motivated and completing my golf program, I would spend hours in the gym and on the course.

    Oh, to be young again 🙂

  9. Congrats!!! I am going to use those tips!!! They are great! So happy for you

  10. Thanks Christina and “GolfGirlJunior”!

    I wish I had played golf when I was young – didn’t start until my mid 40’s and it’s a hard battle when you’re close to “over the hill”. 😉

    But being able to play and improve at my age now makes me feel younger somehow.

    Next week I’ll add more tips that I learned along the way too. And some great books as well.

    Thanks ladies!

  11. Congratulations Gayle!!! I think you’ve just inspired me to start setting some goals.

  12. Congratulations Gayle!!! I think you’ve just inspired me to start setting some goals.

  13. Thanks Patricia. I guess that makes us even. You’ve inspired me to write a book someday! 🙂


  14. Congratulations, Gayle! Thanks for visiting the Wailea Emerald Course. Please let me know the next time you visit Maui, we’d love to have you back and maybe we can get out to play!

  15. Hey Jennifer! Would love to play a round of golf with you in paradise. I need to reach my new handicap goal of 15 next year and I’d love for it be at Wailea.

    But I don’t want to wait until November to do that, so I’ll have to find a way to get back sooner 🙂


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