Making a concsious effort to play your best involves taking some steps to set yourself up for success each and every time you go out.  A plan for your practice and good preparation for each round you play will result in improved ball striking and a more enjoyable time on course.  Take a look at the following tips and decide what you can commit to in order for your game to improve.

Take A Lesson (or Two).  Golf to to find great instructors in your area, one of which may be the PGA or LPGA Professional at your home club.  Commit to taking a series of at least three lessons to give you fresh thoughts and to make sure your fundamentals are sound. Challenge your instructor to give you something to work on to help you improve your on course game.  Also talk to your Instructor about what you want to accomplish - set some realistic goals.

Commit Yourself to Practice Time.  If you do not venture onto the practice tee or putting green except to warm up for your round, then you have no where to go but up!  Commit a reasonable amount of time each week to work on your game.  Start with 1/2 hour per week for a month.  At the end of the month, evaluate your use of the time and analyze if that time spent has translated into improved play on the course.  In the second month, see if you can increase your time a bit.

Practice With A Sense Of Purpose.  Give yourself a chance to improve by making whatever time you have to practice, quality time.  Don?t just go out there and beat balls; instead, plan your session and work on a specific area of your game.  Identify the worst part of your game and work on making improvements in that area.

Warm Up Before Every Round.  Give this a try.  Instead of arriving at the course 15 minutes ahead of your tee time, rushing to check in and get your bag loaded up and your shoes tied, get there 30 minutes ahead of time and spend 15 minutes preparing your mind and body for your round.  Slow down and take a few deep breaths; take three clubs to the range with you and hit 5 balls off a tee with each club, making a purposeful rehearsal swing between each.  That will give you 30 swings before you head out and give you a far better chance of making solid contact and finding the fairway off the first tee (as well as throughout your round).  Then take two balls to the putting green and stroke two putts from 30 feet, two from 20 feet and two from 10 feet.  This will help you find the speed without getting fixated on your stroke before your round.  Now go play!

Take Time To Smell The Roses.  Make a conscious effort this year to look around and enjoy the scenery, the lush foliage and colors of a well-manicured course and the amazing wildlife who take sanctuary on our local courses.  Remember it is a game and we should be enjoying our time out there.