golf springSpring has finally arrived. It is time to get your clubs out of hibernation and dust off the footjoys. I am asked all the time about how I get back into playing shape after the winter layoff. Today I want to share how to get the best ROI on your golf game this season.

For me, the best investment for golf (or any endeavor) is in yourself. Don’t worry about buying the newest equipment yet. I know, you watched Jim Furyk break a three-year winless streak and you immediately look to see what is in his bag. If you must know, check this out from  I say take that $500-$1000 and invest in YOUR game.

Here are three things, in addition to practice, you can do now to get the best return on your golf investment.

Get instruction- Every spring I begin the season with an assessment and lesson from my coach, Robert Linville. I have done this religiously since 1994. This does two things for me. It allows me to see what natural tendencies have resurfaced that I can work on. Second, I let my coach know my golf goals for the year and we come up with a plan for improvement that I can execute.

Play somewhere new- Get away from the familiar. I know guys that can play their home course blindfolded. They know every break on every green, they know every club to hit off the tee, and every decision. This is great for playing nassau against some weekender. This is not good for learning how to manage yourself around a golf course.  I recommend going to a course you’ve never played before or are unfamiliar with once a month.  The green fee is an investment into lowering your scores. Playing a new layout will teach you to read greens better and assess targets and club choice. These are great skills that can be learned.

Compete- Nothing gives you a better learning experience than posting a score. You don’t need to enter the U.S. Open to compete. There are any number of local and regional tournaments you can play in. How about a club championship, city amateur, or charity event? Any of these give you the opportunity to tee it up when it counts.  If you are uncomfortable, enter a tournament that is flighted by skill level. Who cares where you finish. This is an investment into you.

I am not saying you don’t need to buy new equipment ever. I am just saying that if you gave Anthony Kim a set of Northwestern irons he would still be a tour player. The secret is his fundamentals and deposits into his own game. By the same token, take my brother Doug, a new set of Mizuno irons will not have him playing in the Arnold Palmer Invitational this week. If you are playing Wilson Staff Goose-neck blades then I suggest spending your money on something made since Google was born. Other than those cases, invest in yourself, you will play better and have more fun.

Are you investing in your game this year? How?