Here is a short video I made from some clips I captured at the 2015 PGA Tours Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.  I like going down to the practice round on Wednesday because the crowds are small, parking is free and it’s the only day they allow video.  It’s always a treat to watch the best players in the world play golf live.  Hope you enjoy this little montage and make sure to click the HD button on the top of the video for best quality! 

It was sad to see Tiger Woods continue to struggle and ultimately withdraw from the tournament due to injury.  He has always played well at Torrey and I was there just two years ago when he won for the 8th time on this course.  It baffles me to see him struggle so badly right now, especially with chipping.  That just shows you how difficult this game of golf is both physically and mentally.  If it can make the best and most dominate player in the history of the game fall this far and look this bad, nobody is safe!  

In all honesty though,  I am rooting for Tiger to get back to form.  He is the reason the game has grown into what it is today and he has drawn millions of people into the game of golf over the past 2 decades.  I know I personally probably would never had picked up the game had it not been for Tiger Woods.  Before he won the Masters in 1997, I hadn’t even given a single thought to golf.  I had never even picked up a club or knew anything about the game.  He sparked my interest in this wonderfully cruel game and for that I will always root for him.  It’s hard to watch where he is now, but if anybody can come back and rise once again to the top from where he’s currently at, it’s Tiger Woods.  It might take him longer than the last couple times and he might have a steeper mountain to climb this time, but I believe he’ll be back.  His work ethic and drive to be the best just burns too deep for him to just sink away.  

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the video!  As far as my own game, I had a couple really good range sessions this past week, both short and long game and I’m looking forward to trying to get out to play sometime this next week.  I’ll keep you’ll updated.   

 

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First off let me say I’m sorry for the lack of posts or updates these past several months…with new schedules and the time change causing cheap twilight golf to be near impossible, I felt it was the right time to start putting more focus and time toward a new idea that I have had floating around in the back of my head. 

The amazing response and support you all have shown me and this blog, has helped me to discover a true passion for writing that I never knew I had.  I’ve discovered a passion for encouraging, helping and inspiring others to develop themselves and work toward personal growth in order to achieve their goals and dreams and live their best life. 

As I’ve talked about in previous posts, over the past several years, I’ve experienced my fair share of emotional ups and downs.  As a result, the art of self development and self improvement has become the most important component of my life.  I have a deep desire to grow…to become the best version of myself while living a happier and more productive existence.  I have a thirst for knowledge and ideas. I’ve spent much time seeking out anything that I could learn from and apply to my life in order to help me to grow and improve.  I’m infatuated with stories of success and I want to help others in creating their own.

One of the reasons I started this journey in golf was to push myself toward self improvement.  I wanted to challenge myself to excel at something that was exceptionally difficult.  I was yearning for growth, not just in golf, but with my life.

 I will talk more about my new endeavor in coming months, but I just wanted to let you guys know where my focus and energies have gone these past few months.  I’m still in the process of learning and developing the necessary skills required to bring my new vision into reality and I’m excited to be able to share it with you all in the coming months! 

 Ok, now back to golf!  I’ve now started the process of integrating golf back into my daily routine and yesterday I finally played my first round of 2015! 

The only golf that I have played since December has been just a handful of range sessions.  My handicap before this 2+ month break was down to a career low of 1.3.  With golf being a game that requires constant dedication, I can tell you I wasn’t expecting to score like a 1 handicap my first round back, but I do consider myself an athletic person with a pretty good understanding of the golf swing.  So I knew I wouldn’t play as good as my previous handicap, but I still did expect to play relatively well.

My buddy and I met up at a new course for this blog ~ Mission Trails. 

Mission Trails is a Par 71 and at just over 6,000 yards, it’s not very long, but it does feature elevation changes, blind tee shots or dog legs on about 90% of the holes, which makes it a still somewhat challenging track.  I had played out here once before, but not in several years and I could only remember about 3 holes.   Playing into elevated greens, where you can’t see the putting surface, is a difficult task if you don’t have any previous course experience or real knowledge of the green layouts. 

Despite my rustiness and lack of course familiarity, I did not start out playing like someone who had just taken 2 months off…after the first 10 holes, I was sitting at only (+1)! 

I was hitting the ball solid.  However, I did seem to be hitting a consistent cut off the tee, something that I’ve never really previously done.  Both my chipping and putting were surprisingly efficient.  I was making some great putts and had a few great par saving up and downs. 

The slight cut off the tee would eventually cost me on the back 9 and it would cause my final 8 holes to be more than frustrating.  On the 5 hole stretch of #11-15, I shot (+6), missing all 5 fairway to the left side.  One found a hazard while the other 4 found me in lies of either twigs or dirt or stuck behind trees with no shot except a punch out.  I bogeyed two par 5’s during this stretch and also had a 3-putt. 

What I thought might be a pretty awesome first round back, was starting to get away from me and I was now fully onboard the runaway train of the bogey express.  Thankfully, I was able to slow it down by making a couple pars on both #16 and #17 before finally crashing to a stop with a 3-putt bogey on #18. 

A back 9 of 43(+7) after a 36(+1) on the front 9 ended the round on a salty note, but I still was able to break 80, with an overall 79(+8).

Although it’s frustrating to play so poorly on the back 9 after such a great front 9, I will take away a lot of positives from this round.  Overall, I did play fairly well for someone coming off of a 2+ month absence. I was reading and seeing putts well and thankfully I didn’t develop the Tiger Woods layoff chipping yips.  I also struck the ball pretty solidly with all clubs.  I look forward to getting back to the range to work on my swing this week.

With this other project, I don’t currently have the ability to be playing 2 to 4 times a week, like I was for most of 2014.  My hope is that I can still get out and play at least once a week, but most of my time will be focused either at the range or on short game practice 3-4 days a week.  My goal for this blog is still to get my handicap down to a 0, and since starting this blog in May of 2013, I have taken my handicap from 9 down to a 1.3.  To me, that is pretty amazing!  I have almost accomplished my goal of becoming an “official” scratch golfer, although some could argue that 1.3 could already be considered scratch.  I have also accomplished my big dream of shooting under par, not once, but twice.  Not to mention I’m 3 for 3 in tournaments, having won all 3 since starting this blog.  I fully intend to defend my back to back championships at Palm Springs in August and go for that 3-peat this year with an under par round.

On another side note, tomorrow I’ll be heading down to Torrey Pines for the 2015 PGA Farmers Insurance Open.  It’s always an amazing experience watching the best players in the world play golf.  They make this difficult game look so easy…hopefully I’ll be able to capture some footage again this year and post it up for you all in coming days.  If you’re interested, you can check out my 2014 footage featuring Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson and many others here: 2014 Farmers Insurance Open

Again I’m sorry for the lack of updates.  I thank you all for your continued support of me and this blog.   Now that I’m slowly gearing back up into golf, I’ll start updating again more often.

 

 

flickr photo by JD Hancock, creative commons licensed (BY) : http://flickr.com/photos/jdhancock/4036482004

think-big-start-small-byob-post1-300x200We all have a big dream…a major goal or idea that we would like to accomplish in our lives. Maybe it is starting your own business, getting out of debt, writing a novel or running a marathon.

I believe strongly in the idea of pursuing your dreams in life, but that road to accomplishing big dreams is a long one and it’s not smoothly paved.

It’s important to have a bigger picture in the back of your mind when progressing toward a big goal, but if you focus solely on that bigger picture, there is an inevitable point where frustration will arise and your mind will tell you it’s too hard, not worth it and to give up.  This is where the importance of consistency and focusing on smaller tasks is essential.  If you put the energy into the smaller things, you will reap the big rewards. 

Take the example of working out, you’ve probably seen those 30 or 60 day workout challenges online before…notice how they start off small?  It is broken down into daily goals that help you build up your strength gradually. 

If your big goal is to be strong enough to be able to do 300 push ups in a day, you don’t accomplish it by doing 300 push ups every single day.  You start small; Day 1 with 20, Day 2 with 30, on and on until finally one day you’re strong enough to do those 300 push ups.

If you just did as many push ups as you could each day and then judged yourself based on how close you were to doing 300, how motivated would you be to keep working hard if after the first couple weeks all you could do was 30 or 40 push ups a day? You’d probably become frustrated realizing just how long it would take until you could do 300 a day. By focusing only on your big goal, you’re more prone to give up.

When you think smaller you’re able to put all your energy and focus on the small specific tasks that you have to do that day alone.  Mentally it’s not too demanding to do just a few more push ups than you did the previous day and before you know it, you’re strong enough to do those 300 push ups in a day and you’ve accomplished that bigger goal you set for yourself.

I know when I was working extremely hard to accomplish my big dream of shooting my first under par regulation golf round, I would often get frustrated with just how far away that goal seemed at times.

That day I finally broke through and accomplished my big goal, it came as a result of me breaking down my round into the smallest parts possible.  I knew that if I took care of the small things on each hole (Fairways and Greens), the bigger picture (Score) would take care of itself.  So when I stepped up on the tee of a par 4, I was focused only on trying to hit the fairway, nothing else…my score up to that point or any score I needed in the future to shoot under par was furthest from my mind.

So when you start off on your journey to accomplishing your biggest goals, have a plan and break them down into monthly, weekly or daily goals.  Focus your energy on those smaller tasks, stay dedicated and stay consistent.  Set a streak for yourself and see how long you can go completing your smaller goals.  You’ll find more motivation and the possibility for ultimate reaching your biggest goals will increase!   

5307917592_916b56c7d1_zI finally got to actually play a golf round!  Been battling a sore back for the past week, but this past Thursday, I met up with a couple friends and we played a round over at Riverwalk golf club.  Not having been able to actually play in 2 weeks, I didn’t come in with high expectations, but maybe that was a good thing because after the first tee shot, I knew it was going to be a good day.  I ended up shooting a 77(+5).  My long game was locked in and I hit a total of 11 out of 14 fairways!  I only hit 9 of 18 greens, but never missed a green by much and 5 of them missed just short either because of spinning off the front or a misjudging of the wind.  I account that to not playing much over the past couple months, as being able to accurately judge the wind is something that starts to get dialed in the more and more you play.

Nevertheless, I did hit a lot of close iron shots, but my putting continues to be my Achilles’ heel and I was not able to make many birdies.  Despite having multiple great looks from inside 10ft, the only birdie putt I did make on the day was from about 40ft.  Golf is a funny game and it always seems like the putts that have little chance of going in actually go in and the makeable ones slip by….at least for me lately.  I think that just comes down to the idea of having no expectations.  Dave Stockton calls it going “unconscious” when putting and it’s something that I’m working on getting better at doing.

I know I need to become less result oriented when it comes to my putting and just try to keep my same routine and put a solid roll on the ball.  If I can do that, then I’ll make my fair share of putts.  I’ve been trying to just pick a spot 1 inch in front of my ball on my line and roll the ball over that spot.  It’s hard to miss a spot 1 inch in front of the ball, so it allows me to put more emphasis on the speed of the putt.  I find my mind freed up with longer putts, but I still catch myself over thinking and steering closer putts or ones I feel I “should” be making, especially for birdie.  I’m getting better at it however and if I keep working hard on getting to a point where I can go “unconscious” on the greens, I know that’s going to give me the best chance to start going low.

Final stats for the round:

unnamedRiverwalk Presidio/Mission 6,550yards 71.7 126

Score: 77(+5) FW: 10/14 GIR: 9/18 Putts: 32 U/Down: 4/8 San Save: 0/1 Penalties: 0

nietzsche_3Do you have a why? Why do you want to do what you do?  My why found me five years ago…

It was five years ago today, at the age of 24, I was sitting next to my mother as she lay on her deathbed dying of cancer and I watched as she took her last breath.  As I sat there, staring blankly at her now soulless body, my mind was flooded with so many thoughts and emotions.  Most importantly, at that moment, I truly realized just how short life can be and I now had a deep desire and a “why” to do something great with my life. 

She is why I want to go after my dreams.  She is why I want to inspire others to go after theirs and she is why I want to work to improve myself each and every day, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

The last words I spoke to my mother were “I promise I’ll make you proud.”  At that time, I did not know how I was going to do that and for the next few years following that day, I had a hard time finding a true passion that I could focus my energy on.  I struggled with life, battling anxiety, depression and a continuously frustrating inability to seemingly get going and a fear that I wouldn’t be able to live up to that promise that I had made.

However, after rediscovering my passion of golf and starting this blog in May of last year, it has given me the means to keep my promise to my mother.  I can pursue my passions and dreams in life, but more importantly it has given me a platform to help and inspire others to realize theirs and do the same.  In the end, if I don’t capture all my personal dreams in golf, but my blog succeeds in helping others to reach their goals in their respective passions…then I know my mother would be proud.

I know a lot of you who follow my blog already have your own “why” for reaching your dreams.  But if you don’t, I urge you to find one and you don’t need a personal or family tragedy to find it.  Your why can simple just be you, it doesn’t need to involve anybody other than yourself.

I’m reminded of a speech I heard Les Brown give where he talked about this idea and it’s been a motivator for me as well.  He said imagine if you will, being on your deathbed and standing around your bed are the dreams given to you by life.  The ideas that you never acted on…the talents, the gifts, the abilities that you never used and there they are standing around your bed looking at you with large angry eyes saying “We came to you and only you could have given us life and now we must die with you forever.” 

If you died this very moment, what would die with you?  What dreams, what ideas, what talents, what greatness that you showed up to bring?  Don’t allow the fear of failure or the attractiveness of playing it safe in life to draw you in.  Life is short, start now on your dreams so in the end you’ll never have to ask yourself “what if?”  What if I had thrown my whole self at my dreams?

So I ask again what is your why? Why do you want to do what you do?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments below, so please share!

I try to look back at the death of my mother in as much positive light as I can.  She was a very special woman and I’m grateful to have gotten 24 years with her.  She gave me the gift of life not once, but twice.  Once when she gave birth to me and once the day she died…

I Love You Mom and Thank You!

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{FB92BDB3-BAF4-4835-8600-54D48EF1F23A}mcilroy_abudhabi13_cameronputter_610_0Here is just a quick review of my latest golf rounds over the past 2 weeks.  Unfortunately, I didn’t play my best golf and my scores are a reflection of that…I had a lot of great shots over these 3 rounds, but couldn’t avoid sprinkling in some large numbers.  I had two triple bogey 6s on two different par 3s during these rounds, very uncharacteristic for how I’ve been playing lately, but I just left myself in some absolutely terrible spots on the holes and it cost me.

I’ve been working on the plane of my swing over the past couple weeks as I mentioned in my previous post and I’m still working on being able to repeat it consistently.  When I get it right, I hit the ball better than I ever have before, just perfect contact, height and ball flight, exactly what I’ve been searching for.  But in working on this change, I have a tendency to leave the face slightly open on impact, blocking shots to the left.  I’m not doing it too often, but often enough to seriously affect my scores right now.  My contact is a lot more consistent with this swing change, I’m just going to keep grinding and we’ll see how it goes in the next few weeks.

My putting continues to be a struggle however and it is the part of my game that is costing me the most strokes right now.  My short putting has been solid, but it is my lag putting that is just killing me.  I can’t get the long putt speed right with this heavier weight in my putter right now.  I had 3 3-putts at Riverwalk, 4 at Vineyard and 1 at Doubletree…this just can’t continue to happen.  31-35 putts a round is unacceptable in my opinion.  Shooting (+4) or (+5) with 35 putts is ridiculous…I’m hitting enough fairways and greens to be shooting under par consistently, if I could only get my putts to 27-30 a round.  I will get there eventually, it might feel impossible to me right now, but I know that it is possible to do it, so I’m just going to keep telling myself that it’s possible.  I’ll have to start spending more time on the putting green with longer putts…I can do this! 

So here are the round stats for these past 2 weeks, hopefully I’ll get out a few times this week.       

10/8/14 The Vineyard Golf Course 6,531 Yards Par 70 (Blue: 71.0/126)

Score: 75(+5) FW: 9/14 GIR: 13/18 Putts: 35 Up/Down: 1/2 Sand Save: 1/1 Penalties: 1

10/9/14 Carmel Highlands Doubletree: Par 72 71.4/129 6,428 Yards

Score: 81(+9) FW: 6/15 GIR: 8/19 Putts: 31 U/Down: 5/10 San Save: 0/1 Penalties: 1

10/1/14 Riverwalk Friars/Presidio 6,627yards 71.9 128

Score: 78 (+6) FW: 5/14 GIR: 12/18 Putts: 35 Up/Down: 3/5 Sand Saves: 0/2 Penalties: 1

0615131526559/19/14 – Played a round over at Carmel Highlands Doubletree and shot a 78(+6).  I was (+6) alone on the front 9 as I had a triple bogey on the 2nd and a double on the 7th.  I birdied the 9th hole par 3 after sticking it to ft and went on to shoot even on the back 9.  I had 4 birdies on the day, so it felt good to actually make some birdies for a change, but I just couldn’t avoid the big numbers on the front 9.  Shooting +6 with a triple and double isn’t terrible though.  Final stats for this round where:

Carmel Highlands Doubletree 6,428 Yards Par 72 (71.4/129)

Score: 78 (+6) FW: 7/15 GIR: 12/19 Putts: 33 U/Down: 3/5 San Save: 0/2 Penalties: 1

0605132044049/24/14 – Got to test out my new putter as I played a round with a few friends at the Vineyard.  I started off rough again, hitting my first two tee shots into hazards on the 1st and 2nd.  Also 3 putted the first after hitting my drop onto the green for a nice opening double bogey 6.  The new putter is and feels slightly heavier as it has 15 gram insert weights whereas my previous putter only had 10 gram insert weights.  It took me a few holes to adjust to the heavier weight on longer putts, but my only 3 putt of the day came on the first…so I did putt well overall on the day and I continued to confidently roll and make my 2-5 foot putts, which is a great sign.

My ball striking was solid on the day, I hit a ton of really good shots, but I still had too many bad shots mixed in.  I don’t mean bad as in shanks or fat or thin, but blocks.  I’ve been working a lot on the plane of my swing this past week really trying to stop getting so steep on my downswing.  I just want consistent contact and strikes and getting the club more on plane will certainly make that easier for me.  The only miss I see right now with that is leaving the club too open on the downswing, causing me to block a few shots badly.  The positive is when it does occur I can certainly feel it and that is the key.   The more I work on it the more consistent I’ll get with squaring it up.

So I shot a 75 (+5) overall on the round, (+1) 36 on the front and a (+4) 39 on the back.  Had 3 penalties that cost me from having a really solid score, but again I need to eliminate the bigger mistakes of penalties, I’m hitting plenty of FWs and Green in regulation to be shooting close to under par each round, but I must eliminate these penalties, 3 putts and maybe roll in a few more birdies while I’m at it…much more easily said than done I’m afraid.

One highlight of the round is I did drive the 296 yard Par 4 7th hole in one during the round to about 15ft.  I lipped out the eagle putt, but did get a much needed tap in birdie.

The Vineyard Golf Course 6,531 Yards Par 70 (71.0/126)

Score: 75(+5) FW: 7/14 GIR: 10/18 Putts: 32 Up/Down: 2/4 Sand Save: 0/1 Penalties: 3