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Take a fresh approach for better results in 2014

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With the arrival of 2014, there is excitement and anticipation of better things to come, and on the golf course that hopefully means longer drives, a better ball flight and lower scores.

Did your game improve this past year? Did your scores go down or were you stuck in the same range as you always are? Is something specific holding you back from playing good golf?

Doing the same things will produce the same results, so maybe you should try something different this year.

Here are a few areas on which you can focus when it comes to making some changes in the New Year:

• Find a coach and take lessons. Taking a lesson can help you identify what the priorities are for improvement in your game. Spend time after the lesson getting in plenty of reps on your swing changes. It takes time to create new habits so be patient and persistent. Follow-up lessons with your coach can ensure that you are accurate with your changes, and the feedback is valuable to the learning process.

• Establish goals and develop a plan for your game this year. Maybe you would like to hit two more greens per round and improve your up-and-down percentage. Plan your practice time based on your goals. Every time you practice, you should have a specific goal in mind, whether you are working on a swing change or trying to reduce your number of three-putts. I suggest to students that they work to improve the two weakest parts of their game.

• Keep stats. What can be measured can be improved. Keeping your stats can help you identify what areas need the most work. If you are averaging 34 putts per round with an average of four three-putts, you can set a goal of reducing the total number of putts per round, as well as the three-putts, and build your practice plan around these goals. Stats also can be a great measuring tool to see if your hard work is paying off.

• Work on your short game. Many golfers, when practicing, only work on the full swing. Split your time between the full swing and short game. Commit to working on your short game first when you arrive at the course. For many golfers, improving their short game is quickest way to lower scores.

"School of Golf" host Martin Hall says, “If you keep doing what you've been doing then you'll keep getting what you've been getting.”

So make the commitment to do something different this year and you will see the improvement you're looking for.

More more tips from Golf Channel to help you with your game, click here.

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