Last year was the first year taken this game up in earnest, after having played an annual scramble with a bunch of friends once a year for the past few years. I was making progress last year, took a series of lessons, then got derailed by a broken foot last August. So this year, I'm starting out early, and have played 2 rounds at a local short course (par 29).
My first round I shot a miserable 58, and my iron shots were either topped or shanked. Having determined that I need to work on my irons and chip shots, I hit the range 3 or 4 times and practiced chipping in my back yard, and the result 2 weeks later was a 42 -- took 16 strokes off!
Just goes to show: find your weaknesses, work on them, and see results.