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The ladies give us their New Year's golf resolutions

By Cynthia Boal Janssens, Contributor

Resolutions are a tricky business, right? We forget them about as fast as we make them. Particularly those that deal with our golf game.

So this year instead of just looking at my own goals, I decided to poll a couple dozen of my close lady golf friends to find out what their New Year's resolutions for golf would be.

Not surprisingly, many said they would either play more or practice more. Unfortunately, both of those goals are time-dependent, and finding more time in any woman's life is nearly impossible. However, there were lots of other interesting resolutions that I want to share with you. They might give you some ideas for your game.

"I would learn to be more patient with myself, realizing that I'm not a pro, and enjoy the game more by not imposing such tough expectations on myself. This would, in fact, be better therapy for my husband than myself." -- Susan

"No. 1: To practice my game at least one hour a week and No. 2, to consistently score below 100. This, of course, can only happen if I am faithful to resolution No. 1. And, finally, to cure my boyfriend's slice (and hence, his need to hit three or four drives on each hole)." -- Joan

"To practice my putting. It's the only skill I can practice in my living room, any time, any weather. And it would probably pay off more than anything else I do." -- Dale

"I have made a commitment to myself to improve my strength over the winter season. I have joined the gym here in town and am working out three times a week. I feel it is very important to regain some of the strength that I have lost over the years due to aging and lack of activity. I feel the program I am on will improve my golf game over a period of time by increasing my upper body strength. I really am enjoying my workout program, not only for my goals in golf but for my mental and physical well being. " -- Nadine

"In my next life I will start playing golf at an earlier age! I could have more years of fun and aggravation!" -- Pidge

"I would like to slow down my swing and quit 'helping' the ball to the target." -- Pat

"I will accept any invitation to golf no matter how bad my last golf round happened to be!" -- Mary

"I would resolve to get some lessons and then head out to the driving range at least three times a week." -- Kathy

"My resolution would be for all rounds to be played in under four hours! And about that Augusta membership ..." -- Karen

"Mine would be to play nine holes or so after work at least once a week with some female golfer friends, once daylight savings time permits. Maybe that would inspire me to really improve my game." -- Carol

"I would like to re-read that little red book you have at the house in Florida and go out and buy myself an old-fashioned weedwacker!" -- Beth

(That's from my sister and that book is Lessons and Teachings from a Lifetime of Golf by Harvey Penick. Needless to say, I gave her a copy for Christmas.)

"I'm inspired by the women pros who have lost weight, seriously worked on their fitness, and thus carried their games to a higher level. I hope to practice more, play more and see if I can shave a few strokes off my game." -- Donnelle

"If I had to make a resolution about golf it would be to practice every day and stay focused. But I would never keep the resolution as there are too many other fun things to do." -- Michaele (At least she is realistic.)

And while the last response is rather lengthy, it is too priceless not to share with you in full. It comes from Michelle:

"For me the obvious would be GET BACK OUT THERE. Ever since I met a professional golfer on a rickety driving range at sunset (Tin Cup all the way) out in California and we opened up a golf travel company about five years ago, then consequently two small children, my golfing days have been restricted to corporate tournaments and a few range balls after Easter brunch.

"I have just recently dusted off my Callaways and am now going back to a basic clinic series for women at our country club and while fighting down the guilt of extending the babysitter, putting the e-mails off until tomorrow and turning off my cell phone, I have spent the last three Tuesday afternoons gloriously driving balls and sharing a laugh with the other women either beginning the game or brushing up their skills.

"You actually can forget how amazing it is to play on a wide open course in the late afternoon with nothing but the breeze and the trees and the water fowl to distract you. I can't even get upset that I waste an almost 200-yard drive off the tee with a 30-foot 5-iron shot because I haven't played enough recently to expect better.

"My kids are both getting old enough to just start behaving on a golf cart and in just a few years I'm sure our son will start outdistancing my irons while the baby girl can soon rake bunker shots and still think it's a game.

"Their daddy thinks it's funny to have taught the 2-year-old to say 'Mommy hits it in the water' but I am not bothered by this because even a penalty shot or two around the water is better than the mountain of work and bills that await me at the office.

"I envy the camaraderie that the men enjoy every week with their tournaments, men's clubs and skins games but I am hopeful that more and more women will pick up and stay with the game to make it fun and competitive for all of us.

"P.S. The golf clothes for women are getting a whole lot cuter as well, which always helps! I am grateful to wear pants and more fitted shirts so as to not compound my embarrassment while I am traversing the fairways after my errant ball. Thanks for asking."

Thank you, Michelle, for reminding all of us what this game is about.

Now if that does not inspire each and every one of us to get out there and play this glorious game as often as you can in 2004, then it is definitely time for you to pack up your clubs for good. (Nah, I didn't mean that.)

I do have one final resolution of my own and that is to try to make sure that every golf club in America sponsors a yearly Rally for a Cure ladies golf tournament to raise funds for the eradication of breast cancer. If you want to know more about how to start a rally at your club, check out www.rallyforacure.com.

Cynthia Boal Janssens is a former newspaper writer and editor turned freelance writer. She is the former travel editor and Sunday magazine editor of The Detroit News. In addition, she has worked for newspapers in California, Georgia, New York and Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of Ohio University.

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