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If you want to find out how good you are - go somewhere else
Those of us lucky enough to belong to golf clubs obviously enjoy playing at our home track but in order to improve - and certainly to meet a fresh challenge - you should consider playing 'away' much more often, and now's the perfect time of year to do it.

Simply, once you've played a hole or a course many times over, no matter what your powers of concentration, there will be times when you play on auto-pilot. For example, you know that the first par three is a 7-iron in summer and a 6-iron in winter so you stop looking at the hole in the same way you would as a visitor, grab the club from the bag and blast away.

But if you play a different course, with which you are much less familiar, every shot will make you think, as you ponder the challenge ahead.

And at this time of the year, with many courses affected by overnight frosts and often played to temporary greens, it's a good time to seek out some of Scotland's superb links courses, which tend to stand up to the rigours of bad weather much better than their inland counterparts.

©    31 - DECEMBER 2003

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