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 would have happened had I 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

Added a few new tools to my bag over the weekend as I got 2 new clubs… a Cleveland 64* wedge and a new Scotty Cameron Select Newport  2.0 putter!  I got all artsy yesterday took a few pictures of the new clubs and for someone who knows nothing of photography; I’d say I did a pretty good job!

64 wedgeThe 64* Cleveland wedge was actually free as I had both a $50 and $100 gift cards from golfnow.com as reward points.  They were set to expire and I figured I might as well get something while I still can.  The gift cards could be used at either Cleveland or Srixon online shops…I knew that Cleveland wedges are top notch, so I decided to go with a 64*.  I love my Titleist Vokey wedges I have now, especially my 60*, it’s my favorite club, so I’ll mess around with the 64* here and there and see how I could fit it into my game.  Getting a 64* also gives me just that many more options when I’m going to play tournaments.  If I feel the 64* would help me at a specific course, I’ll add it to the bag, but right now I don’t have any serious plans to add it to my bag regularly as I can hit all the shots I currently need with my 60*, but heck it was free right and you can’t beat free!

20140922_135735I decided also to get a new Scotty Cameron putter, I absolutely loved my old one, but I think it was time to retire and upgrade.  I remember always dreaming of owning a Scotty Cameron putter as a 15 year old when first discovered golf…I finally purchased one 6 years ago and it did not disappoint.  It was my baby, my oldest running club in the bag, but the shaft was starting to get bent, the face wasn’t sitting square and it20140922_134852 had a few scratches in it so it was time to put her to pasture and enjoy retirement.  One of my friends, who I play golf with regularly on Wednesdays now, is a manager of a golf shop and he was nice enough to give me a great deal.  I got the brand new Scotty Newport studio select 2.0 for only $150 instead of the normal price of $350…you just can’t pass up that type of deal.  I’ll go putt with it for a few today and then put it into action tomorrow when we play a round.  The only thing is that it has the standard scotty thin grip on it currently, but I’m used to a more midsize grip like I had on my old putter.  I’m so used to a bigger grip that this standard one feels unbelievably small and thin!  So I’m not sure how well I’ll putt tomorrow, but that’s ok, I’ll probably get it re-gripped to a midsize grip later in the week.

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20140611_190427Eagle Crest Par 72 71.7/133 6,537 Yards

Score: 80 (+8) FW: 8/14 GIR: 12/18 Putts: 37 Up/Down: 0/3 Sand Saves: 1/2 Penalties: 2

Played a round on Wednesday over at Eagle Crest with a couple friends, I didn’t really get to practice as much as I would like since my round last week, so I was still a little rusty playing a very difficult course.  I started off the round solid with pars on the first 3 holes, but then played a really bad stretch of golf.  The course is already challenging, but I didn’t help myself any by hitting a couple drives into hazards, lipped out 3 different putts, threw a couple 3-putts into the mix and I found myself admits a 8 holes stretch of (+9) golf.  YUK!  I haven’t strung together that many consecutive holes of bogey golf in a while, just nothing seemed to go right, hit a ton of solid putts, but all they wanted to do was lip out or stop 1 rotation short.  I didn’t hit it well off the tee on those holes, but it was more my inability of my short game that racked up the score.  I hit a total of 12 of 18 greens in regulation, but had 37 total putts!  I’m just not taking advantage of my opportunities and can’t seem to make any birdie putts.  However, like I’ve been telling you guys, I’ve been working hard on my mental game, staying positive and “going with the flow” if you will.  Enjoying the fact that I get to even play golf and really enjoy the challenges of getting up and down if I miss a green or trying to salvage a good score after a poor tee shot.  It’s that change of perspective that has helped me maintain such a calm persona on the course.  Even the best pros in the world have some bad stretches of holes, but they don’t let it define their overall game…they know that they have the ability to turn it 180 degrees at any moment and go on a birdie barrage.  I didn’t go on any birdie barrages, but I did play the final 7 holes in (-1) with 6 pars and a birdie.  Even through that terrible stretch, I knew it was just a matter of time before I turned it around and started playing up to my ability, I kept focused on my routine and just accepted the outcomes of each shot.

Been really busy with work since Wednesday, so I haven’t been able to practice much during the past few days, but this next week should be better.  I need to start getting back into my practice routine again, the couple week layoff and this past week have gotten me out of my routine, not only with golf, but with updating the blog as well.  Hoping to be able to play tomorrow, but it is supposed to be a cool 105 degrees…the heat I can deal with as I’m used to playing golf in Palm springs type weather of 110+, but the humidity is what is hard.  Anyway, I’ll update you guys soon as I get back into the grind starting tomorrow.

 

 

news-golf_tournament_bannerGot back into the swing of things this week with a range practice session on Tuesday night and then a round with some friends on Wednesday at the Vineyard.  Didn’t touch a club since last Wednesday, so I came back feeling fresh, but with an understanding that I’d be a little rusty so I had low expectation.  I shouldn’t keep doubting myself as I hit the ball well at the range on Tuesday and actually felt really confident in my ball striking heading into the round the following day.  I was most concerned about how the couple week layoff would affect my short game, chipping in particular, as that depends mostly on feel and takes constant practice to keep it sharp. 

The round yesterday went great and I shot a solid round of 74(+4).  I made a couple of really bad course management mistakes that cost me in what coulda, woulda, shoulda been my 3rd under par round! I made 2 double bogeys on the day, both on short par 3’s and both because I tried to play a cut into flags that really didn’t even call for it.  My go to natural shot is a slight draw, but I’ve also been working hard on developing a cut, to give me options, which I can use to take out the right side when needed.  I can hit it well a lot of the time, but it’s not as consistent as my normal shots yet.  Anyway, both of the par 3’s have hazards in front of the greens and I tried to hit cut shots into both and hit them both heavy and they came up short in the hazards.  I ended up taking double bogey 5’s on both the par 3’s.  So some bad course management on my part, followed by poor execution and if I had just parred those 2 holes I shoot even on the day…bogeyed the par 5 9th also after being only 65 yards out for my 3rd shot.  It’s these little mistakes that I need to work on eliminating. 

I’m proud of the way that I bounced back though mentally after my two mistakes on the par 3’s, I had a birdie the next hole after the first par 3 double and then on the back after the second, I rattled off 6 straight pars to end the round.  I feel like I’ve made some great strides in the mental aspect of my game, I’ve been able to move on quickly from disappointing shots and stay focus on the next shot at hand.  I lost track of my score again during the round and didn’t know my final score till after the final putt on 18, which is something I love doing.  It’s not always the easiest thing to achieve, but I’ve been able to do it a lot in recent rounds, it really keeps you focused when you get in that zone.  My chipping and putting surprisingly were solid despite the couple week break, zero 3 putts and had a lot of close chips, even chipped in for birdie on the 5th hole.  Will most likely have to wait till next Monday to play again, but in the next few days I’ll be practicing short and long game.

Total stats for the round were as follows:

The Vineyard Escondido Par 70 71.0/126 6,531 Yards

Score: 74 (+4) FW: 9/14 GIR: 12/18 Putts: 32 Up/Down: 2/6 Sand Save: 0/0 Penalties: 1

Just a quick update for you guys…I haven’t been playing much golf in these past two weeks following my tournament win.  I felt it necessary to take a week or two off after I got home from Palm Springs because I’ve been so intensely focused on playing well in the tournament for many months now that I felt I needed to take some time to just enjoy the win.  I also needed to clear my mind and reset before going full speed again with playing and practice.  Also, they haven’t posted many of the pictures from the tournament still, only ones I can find are from day 1 at the Norman course and the final day banquet. So the couple pictures you see are of our day 1 group at the Norman course and the one of me being announced as champion.

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I haven’t completely left golf alone over these past 2 week(I’m too obsessed for that), I have been to the range a couple times and did play once this past Tuesday.  I actually played real solid, played at the Vineyard with a couple friends and shot a 74(+4).  My putting, as usual is what cost me, definitely a little rusty after not putting for a week and a half…I had three 3 putts and missed a birdie putt inside of 3ft…so that’s is 4 strokes right there that I gave away.  My tee to green game was fantastic and I’m excited that I can take a week or 2 off and still have my ball striking remain solid.  For the round I hit 10/14 FW’s and 15/18 greens, but had 37 freaking putts!!  Anyway, like I said, I’m not focused on anything these past 2 weeks, still a solid score and I know what I need to work on heading back into full time practice and playing mode here again next week.

I have the idea of playing in some Golf Channel Am Tour events here in San Diego starting next year, so over the next few months I’ll be working hard to improve with that goal of playing well in those events in mind.  Have any of you guys ever played in a Golf Channel Am tour even before?? I’m curious to know what your experiences were with them, please let me know in the comments!