Archive for July, 2013

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This week has been a real struggle for my golf game….I played on Monday and Wednesday, at Vineyard (Mon) and Riverwalk (Wed)….both rounds were disappointing.  Shot a 78 (+8) at Vineyard and an 82 (+10) at Riverwalk, birdied just once for the two rounds total and struggled off the tee.  My putting was horrible at Vineyard, but improved by the end of my Riverwalk round.  Once I started to move the ball more toward the middle of my stance, I was able to get solid contact with each putt and over my last 13 holes at Riverwalk; I putted the best I had in months.  Now that I’m able to get consistent solid contact on my putts, my lag putting was spot on, no possibility of 3putts.

Golf is such a frustrating game and I keep questioning myself as to why I can’t stay consistent.   I seem to find my swing and then lose it almost on a weekly basis.  I know through coaching from my instructor that my tendency is to get too steep on the downswing….this leads to real inconsistent strikes.  So I have spent the past 2 days analyzing my swing for hours in front of a mirror and on video.  I got a new phone this week, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and it has given me the ability to download apps that can help improve my game.  I am now able to record my swing and use the golf apps to draw lines to analyze my swing. Seeing my swing on video proved that I was indeed getting too steep again on my downswing….I used trial and error over the course of a few hours trying to see if I could get my swing back on plane, but nothing was working.   I spent the next hour or so before work just thinking about what I could do to keep my club on plane on the downswing…..and then it clicked.  I already in my mind tried to get the butt of the grip on the backswing pointing toward the ball, this is what helps me get the club started on plane, but I was forgetting to make sure it’s pointing at it on the downswing.  I had just assumed that in my downswing I was basically on plane or that my arms were subconsciously just continuing to follow the plane from my backswing.  Once I figured out how to get my club back on plane on the downswing, I did a few pump drills to make sure that I was getting the feeling.  After work, I was able to head to the range and test out my theory…..it worked!!  I hit the ball better than I have in months, more solid contact than I can remember having ever and the ball flight was consistent.  Had a few misses to the left and right, but I realized that my tempo was causing that.  Once I slowed down my tempo and made sure my club was on plane, I hit the ball exactly how I have dreamed I could.

I’m playing rounds again next week on Monday and Wednesday so I hope that I can get back to scoring well, after last night, I’m confident that I am going to improve.  Now that I have the ability to record my swing at home and analyze it, should help me stay consistent…now I just need to keep the ball in play off the tee and start rolling in those putts!  In a few weeks time, working on keeping my club on plane, I feel like I can get my scores back to the +1 and +2 I was shooting just a few weeks ago.

Also, I have signed up for a tournament coming up on August 16th-18th in Palm Springs.  I’ll post more about that in coming weeks, but it will be my 3rd year in a row attending this tournament.  Was in 2nd last year heading into the last day, until I blew up for an 83 on Sunday, so I’m hoping to improve from last year.

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This years British Open has been really fun to watch, there is the possibility of a 3 or even 4 putt on any given hole which makes for some exciting golf to watch….no lead is safe.  I love watching the US and British Opens because they are always the toughest tests in golf, where par is an amazing score.  Tiger is just 1 shot back going into the weekend and I must say that I am pulling for Tiger to win his 15th major and 1st since doing it here in my home town of San Diego at the US Open in ’08 at Torrey Pines.  It seems that every major over the past couple of years, Tiger has found himself at this exact same spot, in the lead or 1 or 2 shots off the lead heading into Saturday.  Saturday is “moving day” as Tiger likes to say, but lately he’s played his worst rounds on Saturday and instead of moving up, he’s moved way down and has dropped out of the competition heading into Sunday.  I’m hoping he can reverse his trend tomorrow, he’s hitting a ton of FW’s right now, if he can continue that and keeps making those clutch 10ft putts for par, I think he will easily be in or close to the lead by days end.  Honestly with how tough this course is playing, you could potentially be 6 or 7 shots back heading into the final round and still win…..can’t wait to watch the conclusion of this awesome weekend of golf!

I did end up playing a golf round on Wednesday, but we were not able to get onto Riverwalk.  We ended up having to emergency drive up to Vineyard and luckily we were able to get a golf round in.  I did not play very well and ended up shooting a very disappointing 80.  I’m not going to do a golf recap of my round, I’ve been obsessed with watching every second of the British Open and it’s on very early in the morning in the US.  I will give a quick over view of my round however, just could not get up and down all day long.  Ended my round 2 for 7 on up and down chances, not that I was hitting bad chips, just couldn’t make a putt.  Still getting used to not lining up my ball on putts inside 10feet and I’m just struggling with confidence right now.  My lag putting is improving nicely though, I did have two 3 putts, but they were not because I left my first putt 6-8ft short like I have been….this round they were just missing the short 2nd putt.  Frustrating, but I feel like it is just a confidence thing, I finally found a set up and stroke that is making consistent contact in the center of the putter face and thanks to my lesson last week, I now have a better ability to self diagnose and understand the feelings I have when I have a miss hit.  With more putting practice, my kinks should start to iron themselves out and help me gain more confidence.  My driving took a slight step backwards during this past round, just couldn’t find the center of the club face and as a result I hit a few very poor drives.  One of them cost me big time and I made a triple bogey after hitting a tree just in front of the tee box on #8.  The tees were extremely far back and tucked to the left, forcing me to try to hit a big cut shot as I’m lefty.  I’m not comfortable with that shot at all yet, and I pushed it left into the trees.  Also had a double on #3 as I hit my tee shot in the water on the par 3 and was unable to get up and down from the drop zone.  Back 9, I started off par, par, but then went on a bogey streak that lasted the next 5 holes, until paring 17 and 18 to end.  It’s tough to go from 71, 72 on the exact same course to 80 just a few days later……but that is golf, the true definition of a love/hate relationship.  I’m going to take the weekend off from golf and just relax, clear my head again and watch the British Open.  Will be playing again on Monday and Wednesday next week, so fully back to the grind on Monday….will continue to hit up the range if I can after the work for the next few days.

Final Stats for round:  Fairways Hit (FW) 7/14 50% Green in Regulation (GIR) 9/18 50% Up/Downs 2/7 28%. Sand Saves 0/2 0% Penalties: 2 Putts: 33

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My buddy had to cancel on me today a few hours before our round.  I debated not going up to play now that I did not have a partner, but you guys are keeping me motivated and accountable to keep putting out content, so I decided to just go up and try to play by myself.  I was hoping that this blog would help push me forward, that I would gain some accountability from my followers and it would give me that motivation to keep practicing and playing.  Over these past 7 weeks, I have gained more support from you guys than I could have ever imagined.  Your positively supportive letters and notes from all over the world have given me great motivation to see this journey out to the end….I will accomplish my dreams and when I do, a big part of that success  is going to be because of you guys, thanks!

When I got up to the course, it worked out exactly how I imagined and I was able to head out immediately upon arriving and got to play by myself the entire round!  No warm up probably cost me the first hole, but it’s no big deal.  Because I was by myself with nobody in front or behind for most of the round, I played my first ball for score and hit a 2nd ball occasionally for practice.  Love being able to have the time for some true course practice, it is almost impossible to replicate it on a practice chipping green at a driving range.  Had a lot of fun out there and even though I did not feel like my ball striking was as great as last week, was still able to put together my 2nd +2 round of my life.  So I tied my 2nd lowest round ever, so happy I decided to come out and play today, enjoy!

The Vineyard Golf Course 6,531 Yards Par 70

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Front 9

Hole 1: 420 Par 4

No warm up and I kind of rushed my first swing, hooked it pretty badly, really lucky that it stayed inbounds just outside the hazard.  Was able to advance it to just in front of the green, where I had a pretty simple chip, but I over cooked it and had about a 12 footer left for par.  Missed the putt to start my round with a bogey.  Bogey

Round (+1)  

Hole 2: 351 Par 4

Short dogleg left with water surrounding the left side and green.  Hit a 4iron today and drew it perfectly back into the middle of the fairway.  Only had 112 to the center and just 123 to the back, a very thin green where the pin was located on the far right side.  Took a SW that I hit solid, but blocked it out left and it finished middle of the green about 20+ feet away.  Made a real solid lag putt to a tap in par.  Par

Round (+1)

Hole 3: 125 Par3

Pin was middle back today, but tees were up and was playing a total of about 108 and downwind.  I took a lob wedge and hit a very solid shot just right of the flag about 10ft.  Had a slight right to left breaking putt, that I thought I had made, but it burned the edge. Par

Round (+1)

Hole 4: 404 Par 4

Took driver today, but blocked it left and it was heading right for a water hazard on the left side.  I thought it was probably in from the tee, but when I got up there it was still inbounds.  Had about 80 yards to a front pin location, blind shot, but hit it just past the hole about 8ft!  Unfortunately ball finished on top of a ridge just above the hole, so I had a VERY quick birdie putt.  Played it off the toe to kill the speed and left it just inches from the cup, tap in par. Par

Round (+1)

Hole 5: 401 Par 4

Went with driver again today and bombed it down the middle to the end of the fairway.  Just a short pitch left with my 60 degree lob wedge, hit it over the flag about 15ft.  Should have been better from there, but I’ll take it. 2 putted for a quick par. Par

Round (+1)

Hole 6: 152 Par 3

Was playing about 138 today, hit a PW to this back right pin location, thought it was perfect, but it took a hard bounce and it got caught up in the rough before it could spin back.  Was left with little green to work with and a slight downhill slope.  Landed my chip a little further than I had pictured and as a result it ran past and was left with an 8ft par saving putt….failed to make the save. Bogey

Round (+2)

Hole 7: 295 Par 4

A sharp dog leg right hole, but gives you an angle to drive the green in 1.  Usually about 250-260 to carry the hazard and drive the green.  Last week I hit a 5 wood to just 15 or so feet for eagle, but today I even beat that!  Hit a great 5 wood, exactly how I pictured it and when I got to the green, saw the ball just 7ft for eagle!  Couldn’t see the flag on my tee shot, so got lucky that it was right at it, a perfect shot….but my putting is still a struggle to get comfortable and I pulled the pretty much straight putt.  A great opportunity for eagle missed, but I’ll keep taking birdies all day long. Birdie

Round (+1)

Hole 8: 419 Par 4

Tees were way back today and the hole was playing into the wind, good thing too because I hit a great drive that was hitting toward the fairway bunkers, but the wind stopped it just short.  I was in the fairway about 145 out, took a 9 iron and hit it just to the back of the green.  A 25 ft downhill, right to left breaking putt that I lagged perfectly and made a nice par. Par

Round (+1)

Hole 9: 503 Par 5

Very reachable par 5, hit a weak 3 wood down the left side.  It stayed just short of a bunker, but I had an awkward stance where my right foot was just on the lip.  249 left to green, was feeling good so I tried to hit a 5 wood from the lie.  Probably not the smartest idea and I didn’t really get good contact because of my stance and it just squibbed forward.  Had 180 in now with the wind, took an 8 iron that landed on the left side of green.  A 20 ft putt for birdie, just burned the edge of the cup and made the 3 ft comebacker for par. Par

Round (+1)

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A solid opening 9 of 36 (+1) on this Par 35 Front 9…2 putted every green and unfortunately missed a 7 ft eagle putt, but I’m really pleased with my score, lots of greens in regulation and kept the ball in play.  Fairways Hit (FW): 4/7 44% Greens in Regulation (GIR): 7/9 77% Up/Downs: 0/2 0% Sand Saves: 0/0 0% Putts: 18 Penalties: 0

Back 9

Hole 10: 389 Par 4

Hit a bad drive that sliced left and found the hazard out.  Was able to hit my next shot just to the back of the green about 30 ft from flag, almost drained the long par, but it just missed for a bogey caused by a penalty.  Bogey

Round (+2)

Hole 11: 457 Par 4

A very tight driving hole, hit one of my best drives ever on this hole, fed the small fairway gap and finished just 124 out, 333 yard drive.  Was on a slight down slope on the fairway, clipped a SW a little thin and got barely any spin on it, it ran by about 25ft.  A slight right to left breaker…..drained it! Huge putt for me, stole a birdie on this very difficult hole.  After that bogie on 10, I needed this!  Birdie

Round (+1)

Hole 12: 154 Par 3

Another par 3 over water.  Hit a solid 9iron that drew and finished about 15 ft right of pin.  Quick 2 putt for par.  Par

Round (+1)

Hole 13: 477 Par 4

Downhill long par 4.  Blocked my driver to the left and I was left with a blind 2nd shot.  Was about 150 to the front, hole is downhill so I took a PW and tried to smash it, started it on my intended line so I was hoping it was close to green.  Ended up just short, but was on a perfect line to the pin.  Made a nice chip with my lob wedge to about a ft and tapped in for par. Par

Round (+1)

Hole 14: 412 Par 4

Water on the left and out of bounds on the right; hit a 5 iron today that I hooked.  Luckily it caught the fairway bunker or it would have hit off the hill hard and most likely out of bounds.  Had a real awkward stance, ball severely below my feet and my whole body outside of the bunker as my ball was just on the right edge.  Actually made pretty good contact and was able to advance a 9 iron up just short of the green in the fairway.  Decided to putt the ball as I was probably about 40 ft away from hole….hit another great lag putt through the fringe to about 3 ft and made the par save. Par

(Round +1)

Hole 15: 551 Par 5

Hit a weak drive down the left side and it finished in the rough on a side hill, uphill lie.  Tried to advance a 6 iron up, but hooked it badly into the rough.  Still 145 out for my 3rd into the wind….went with my 9, right at it, but wind knocked it down and it finished in the front portion of green.  Pin was in the very back on a little ridge, so I had about a 45ft putt for birdie.  Hit another great lag putt to about 3 ft and made my par putt.  Par

(Round +1)

Hole 16: 453 Par 4

The most difficult hole on the course according to the handicap on the scorecard.  Decided on 3 wood today and found the fairway.  Flag was in the very front of the green, hit a PW right at the flag, begged for it to be the right club, but it came up just short.  Should have been a fairly easy chip, but was debating whether to chip it low or high.  Choose to play it back in my stance and go low….mistake…. I ran it a good 9 ft by.  High was the way to go on that shot, missed the par putt for a disappointing bogey from what should have been a quite easy up and down spot.  Bogey.

Round (+2)

Hole 17: 157 Par 3

Hit a 9 iron off the toe and it just missed the green on the left side on the fringe.  Took out my trusty PW and played a great bump and run that took the slope left to right and finished just inches from the hole, tap in par. Par

Round (+2)

Hole 18: 411 Par 4

Very scenic 18th hole heading back down the hill to the clubhouse.  Went with driver again today, crushed it over the sand traps and it finished perfectly in the fairway just 70 yards out.  Ball on a down slope in the fairway, pin was on the back of this back to front sloping green.  Hit a great punch lob wedge, that flew all the way to the flag and stopped about 8 ft right of the hole.  A pretty straight putt, couldn’t have asked for a better spot to putt from, but I pulled it and missed right. Par

(Round +2)

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Another solid 9 of 36 (+1) on the Par 35 Back 9….had a great birdie look on 18 for back to back career low rounds of +1, but slightly pulled it.  Fairways Hit (FW) 3/7 43% Green in Regulation (GIR) 4/9 44% Up/Downs 3/4 75% Sand Saves 0/0 0% Putts: 14 Penalties: 1

Final Score: 72 (+2) Fairways Hit (FW) 7/14 50% Green in Regulation (GIR) 11/18 61% Up/Downs 3/6 50%. Sand Saves 0/0 0% Penalties: 1 Putts: 32

I found a putting routine on the back 9 that really helped me to get consistent solid strikes in the center of the club face.  Still getting used to not lining up the lines on my ball with where I want to start my putts, it’s a little weird right now, but I putted fairly well all day.  Had zero 3 putts today so I’m really proud of that, something I’ve been working hard to correct.  I started to set up with my feet slightly open on the back 9 and it was allowing me to strike the putts in the center and start rolling more down my intended line.  I’m really excited that I was able to continue my low scoring and I’m hoping that if I continue to play confidently and believe in myself that these low 70 rounds are going to occur consistently.  Will be playing on Wednesday again, most likely at Riverwalk.

 

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Did not end up playing a golf round between Wednesday and tomorrow, but I did get in some practice.  Went to a little 18 holes putting course at a local driving range with my buddy Kyle on Friday.  The course was in horrible condition, the new ownership there has really let it get bad.  I remember playing the course a year and a half ago and it was in great condition, but we still had a really fun time and my buddy took some pictures of me to share on the blog.  Ended up being able to get to the range on Friday night as well after work, hit my driver very well, but was struggling a bit to feel comfortable with my irons.  I really don’t know what it was that I was doing differently that night compared to these past few weeks when I have played really well.  Did feel like my tempo was getting a little quick on the range, compared to how I have been swinging it, but I still hit the ball around my target line.  Nothing was too crazy, a little more of a draw than I have been playing and yeah that could have been the result of getting a little too quick.  I still feel very confident in the way I’m playing and look forward to my golf rounds this week, hoping to continue my solid play as of late.

 

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Playing at the Vineyard again on Monday where last week I shot my career low round of (+1) 71.  I’m trying to go in with no expectations, just the goal of focusing on every shot and playing them all with complete confidence, accepting of whatever happens.  My focus is to keep my emotions neutral and not to get down on myself if I hit a bad shot, just to accept any and all outcomes before I hit a shot and swing with true confidence.  I’m hoping for that under par round of golf tomorrow, I believe that I can do it, but realistically I will be truly satisfied with anything +5 or less.   After shooting a career low, especially one that is so close to par, it can be very easy for me to fall into the trap of expecting to shoot +1 or better every time from here on out.  I know my personality lends itself to this type of thinking, once I see how well I’m capable of playing, I start to expect to play like that all the time and I get frustrated if I drop back a little bit.  I think in a way it is healthy because it allows me to truly believe in my ability, I mean if I did not believe in my abilities and that I was capable of shooting an under par round of golf, no way I could have shot +1 only a week after shooting 81 (+11) on the same course.  I won’t let myself get trapped into that cycle of frustration, if I keep working hard and believing in myself, the low scores will continue to come and start to pile up and before I know it, those will be my reality.

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Tuesday

Decided to schedule a putting lesson today with my instructor, we worked for an hour on different putting drills, designed for me to better feel what I’m doing and be able to self correct.  We worked on drills that helped with range of vision and really taking in your entire surroundings, not just the distance of  you to the hole.  This includes everything behind the hole, from the edge of the green to the houses or street in the distance.  When you start to just focus on the distance from you to the hole, you start to get tunnel vision, to play the best golf we must start to expand our vision.  Tunnel vision can also have the effect of making the distance between two spaces look considerably closer because you are focused on a fixed point.    One of the drills you can do to test this is to set up to a straight putt of say 15-30 ft distance (don’t pace it off before) and then stand up, turn your club so that the grip is pointing to the ground.  Now close your eyes and start walking toward the cup.  When you feel like you are close to where you believe the hole is, set the putter grip down.  This might tell you something interesting about the way you perceive the distance between putts.

My coach wants me to learn how to better feel and understand the strokes I’m making.  I would hit a putt and then based on if it started left, right or down my intended line, I would describe to him the feelings of that particular swing, in as great detail as possible.  This is a great way to learn how to self correct.  Eventually we did a variation of this drill where I would putt with my eyes closed and then tell him what I felt and whether I thought the putt started left, right or down my target line.  My coach doesn’t want to start messing with my grip and set up for right now, maybe later down the line we might tweak a few things, but he believes that putting is more about feeling than mechanics.

We also talked about the idea of not lining up the lines on my ball toward my intended line.  I’m sure you guys have seen some pros do this, most famously Tiger Woods has done it before, where he lines up a line on his ball where we wants his putt to start.  I always do this when I’m playing a round, but ironically as we were chatting about this, I realized that when I practice on a putting green, I don’t.  So I’m going to work on playing with no line up and focus on just seeing my putts rather than get locked in to a particular line and narrowing my focus.

Wednesday

Went over to Oaks North again, a local executive course with three different 9 hole courses.  Last time we played the North/East combination, but this time we played the South/East (Par 60).  Each 9 contains 6 par 3’s and 3 par 4s.  It is a great test for your irons and short game and I played very well, shooting an even par round of 60!  I’m not going to do a round recap, but I will give you a few high and low lights.   Chipped in twice, once for eagle and once for birdie!  I hit 10 of the 18 greens, but missed about 4 that were on the fringe, really close.  I managed to only 3 putt once utilizing my new putting method and that was on the 3rd hole where I only had about a 12 ft putt for birdie.  A bad 3 putt, but it was early in my round and I was trying to get used to not lining up my putts with the arrows on the ball and forgot to think about speed on the downhill putt.  So a mistake that was quickly canceled out when I made eagle on the next hole, but other than that I lag putted fairly well.  Still did not make as many putts as I would have liked from 12 ft and in, missed a few par and birdie chances from inside 10 ft, but I was more aware of why I missed them.  My chipping game is continuing to be a strength of mine and I’m just so eager to keep playing and see what I can do.

Ended up heading down to the driving range later on in the night, hit the ball well, worked a lot of my wedges trying to better understand the exact distances of each wedge.  Hit my driver and woods at the end, found myself getting a little bit too quick and as a result I was hitting them off the toe or shifting extremely forward.  Realized that it could be my tempo and once I fixed that, I was back to hitting my driver in the middle of the club face and sending it deep down range toward my intended target.  I need to remember to keep my tempo, I tend to get quick a lot and it causes me to be an inconsistent ball striker.  Hopefully going to be playing a round this weekend on either Saturday or Sunday if it does not rain.  But if not, I’ll still be playing on Monday again at Vineyard and Wednesday for sure somewhere.

Shot my lowest round ever a (+1) 71 at the Par 70 Vineyard Course today!  A dramatic change and a full 10 shots better than my previous round here of 81, I guess keeping the ball in bounces actually helps.  I’m so happy right now; my hard work over these past 7 weeks is really starting to pay off, especially with my driver.  This round could have been the under par one I have been dreaming of…in fact I think you can say it SHOULD have been, you’ll have to read on to find out why it fell just short. Enjoy!

The Vineyard Golf Course 6,531 Yards Par 70

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Front 9

Hole 1: 420 Par 4

Hit a solid drive down the left side, the wind was hard into our face so it didn’t travel very far, but I was still left with only 140 into the green from the left side rough.  Got unlucky in that my ball was just in a dirt patch.  Tried to just trap it, but it came off as a big draw, bounced right and missed the green.  Was short sided and had to hit a high flop, hit a great shot actually to only 7ft, but my putting continues to let me down, missed the par putt. Bogey

Round (+1)  

Hole 2: 351 Par 4

Short dogleg left with water surrounding the left side and green.  Hit a 4iron today and stripped it perfectly down the middle.  Only had 114 to the flag, but into the wind….this is a very thin green and going long is dead and short is water, so I tried to muscle a SW and hope to keep it below the hole.  It landed on center of the green, but had a lot of spin and ended just on the front edge.  A 25 ft putt uphill that I left about 3ft short, but made the par putt. Par

Round (+1)

Hole 3: 125 Par3

The pin was in its usual Monday pin location on the very front left really tough.  The tees were back today and it only played a total of about 103, these past weeks it was only playing 65-75 with the same pin location.  This is a more comfortable distance with my lob wedge, hit a full one and stuck it to about 4 ft!  Rolled it in for a nice birdie on a hole that always seems to have my number, but not today! Birdie

Round (E)

The Tricky Par 3 3rd Hole at Vineyard

hole 3 at Vineyard

Hole 4: 404 Par 4

This hole should show you how confidently I’m hitting my driver right now, I NEVER take a driver on this hole as it brings in the lake on the left side into play if I push it.  Been pushing my 3 wood over there the past couple weeks and it comes up just short of the water, but today I decided in my mind I’m hitting driver.  Just focused on the right side, believed in myself and hit a great drive that finished on the left side, but barely in the rough, a great tee shot.  Only left me with 80 yards to center of green, I hit a punch lob wedge that ended about 12 ft left of hole.  Hit a solid putt, but just missed. Par

Round (E)

Hole 5: 401 Par 4

Used the driver again today into the wind and hit another great one, only 98 left from the left side of fairway.  Pin was in the back of this 3 tiered green and I hit a really bad wedge, left it out left and it missed the green.  Hit a bump and run with my PW and left myself an 8ft uphill, slight right to left breaking putt for par….drained it! Par

Round (E)

Hole 6: 152 Par 3

Hit the 9 iron over last round, so I took out the PW today.  Pictured hitting a high draw that started at center and finished around this right side pin location, but I overcooked it too much….got lucky here as it hit the cart path, but stayed inbounds.  I had a horrible lie however, in a small swell just off the green and ball was laying in dirt.  I took my lob wedge, put the toe down and just tried to clip the ball with the toe of the club to get it up over the hill with some spin.  Came off exactly how I imagined and was left with a tap in par from a ft. Par

Round (E)

Hole 7: 295 Par 4

A sharp dog leg right hole, but gives you an angle to drive the green in 1.  Usually about 250-260 to carry the hazard and drive the green.  Hit a perfect draw with my 5wood today and when we got up to the green it was only about 16 ft away for eagle!  Missed the eagle, but I’ll take a tap in birdie every day. Birdie

Round (-1)

Hole 8: 419 Par 4

There is a bunker that protrudes out from the left side of the fairway, I hit what I thought was a perfect drive, but it ended up hitting the very top of this bunker and rolling down the lip….literally 3 inches farther and it’s in the middle of the fairway, bad break.  Hit a good shot out from the lip of bunker with my gap wedge, but it spun off the right side of green.  It was a few feet in the fringe so I decided just to putt it.  Left it a good 7 ft short and missed the par putt.  Technically since I was in the fringe it doesn’t count as a 3 putt, but it definitely was in my book, should have been an easy 2 putt par….bad, bad, bad. Bogey

Round (E)

Hole 9: 503 Par 5

Very reachable par 5,  hit my 3 wood today down the 8th fairway on the left.  It actually worked out perfect because I hit it far enough that I took out a set of trees that would have been in my line.  Had a straight shot at the green, only 190 out.  Wind was helping and pin was in front so I hit a 7 iron that came up just short of the green.  Pin was only about 5 paces on from the front today, so I had a delicate little chip….I tried to get too fancy and hit an amazing flop shot to stop it instead of just getting it on so I had a birdie putt (pretty flat around the hole).  Had to land it just in the front and I left it short, chipped the next one on and made par, but gave up a prime opportunity for a solid birdie try.  Par

Round (E)

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A great score of 35 (E) on this Par 35 Front 9.  Drove the ball well and had 2 birdies which made me really happy, but did have a couple short putts missed and a 3 putt.  Fairways Hit (FW): 3/7 43% Greens in Regulation (GIR): 4/9 44% Up/Downs: 3/5 60% Sand Saves: 0/0 0% Penalties: 0 Putts: 14

Back 9

Hole 10: 389 Par 4

Chose to hit my driver again instead of my normal 3wood, hit a great tee shot that went down the left side of the fairway, but just finished just in the rough.  Hit a 3 quarter lob wedge up the hill from about 80 yards out, pin high about 12ft left.  Hit a great putt, but it was a big left to right breaker that looked in, but died just in front of the cup.  Par

Round (E)

Hole 11: 457 Par 4

A very tight driving hole, hit my worst drive of the day here today, way left in a group of trees.  It worked out alright as I actually had a decent lie and it went far enough through the trees that I was left with nothing in front of me.  I did have to hit a cut, which I executed fairly nicely and landed a 9iron on the front right portion of green….pin was in back left.  Tried not to leave my long 45ft putt short and hit it a good 6ft by and missed the comebacker for another 3 putt today, killing me! Bogey

Round (+1)

Hole 12: 154 Par 3

Another par 3 over water.  We got rushed here as the old person group in front of us, one of which was walking was nice enough to have us play up as they were on the green.  I rushed it and pushed my 9iron left and missed the green.  Quickly I hit my PW pitch a little too far past the hole and just putted quickly for a 2 putt bogey.  I should have calmed myself down and took my time, but we wanted to pass them quickly as there was nobody for miles ahead of them. Bogey

Round (+2)

Hole 13: 477 Par 4

Downhill long par 4….absolutely crushed my driver here today down the middle.  This is a downhill hole and the ball ended in middle of fairway only 103 to center….374 yard drive!  Finally hit a great wedge just passed the hole about 8 ft.  A quick downhill putt, but it looked pretty straight, I played it in the center and rolled it in for birdie….feels nice to get a shot back here this green is very tough. Birdie

Round (+1)

Hole 14: 412 Par 4

Water on the left and out of bounds on the right; took a 5iron today because last week I hit a 4iron too well and it ran through into the water.  Worked out perfectly today as I hit it down the middle only 150 out.  Pin was tucked in the back right where you can’t see the putting surface.  Tried to muscle a PW up there as it was with the wind, but I blocked it out left and it finished on the front left side of green.  A long putt of about 50ft and I didn’t trust my original line.  Left it out left about 7ft left of hole where I missed again for another disastrous 3putt, got to fix this! Bogey

(Round +2)

Hole 15: 551 Par 5

Hit a great drive down the left side that finished just a few feet in the rough.  Was 250 out today into the wind, so I tried to crush a 5wood up to the front of green.  Drew it in nicely and was left with only about 30yards to green.  Hit a pitch that looked like it was in the hole for eagle, but it just missed for a tap in birdie. Birdie

(Round +1)

Hole 16: 453 Par 4

The #1 handicapped hole on the scorecard.  Tight driving hole, but I decided to take my driver out today.  I blocked it left…..looked like it was going out, but got a great bounce off the hill and came to rest almost in the fairway….a good break.  Took a PW and landed it about a foot from the flag, but it rolled to just 3ft!  Unfortunately the putt was in that Bermuda triangle zone, one where you don’t want to mark it, you’d rather just walk up and hit it in without thinking, but it’s just a little too far to that.  I marked it and even though it was a pretty straight putt, I freaking pulled it and missed, come on!! Killer, could have stolen a birdie from the hardest hole on the course and gotten back to even with only 2 holes to go.  My under par round of golf was a real possibility if could have made that!  Par.

Round (+1)

Hole 17: 157 Par 3

Hit a solid 7iron on the back left of the green.  Had about a 25ft putt that I lagged up well and tapped in for par. Par

Round (+1)

Hole 18: 411 Par 4

Very scenic 18th hole heading back down the hill to the clubhouse.  Confidently stood up there and crushed a driver down the middle, finished just 75 yards to center, 336 yard drive.  Ball was on a downhill slope in the fairway and the pin was located just 6 paces on from the front, only about 66 yards away.  Clipped it perfectly and it landed just on the front, but for some reason didn’t have the spin I thought it would and it finished about 12ft above the hole.  A quick downhill right to left breaking putt for an even round of 70….knocked it up to about a foot and tapped in for my lowest round of my life, +1 71! Par

(Round +1)

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Two 3 putts and a 3 ft birdie missed on 16 killed me as this should have been an under par back 9.  2 solid birdies though and I end it was a solid 36 (+1) Par 35 Back 9.  Hit 8 out of 9 greens on this 9, just could not putt. Fairways Hit (FW) 3/7 43% Green in Regulation (GIR) 8/9 88% Up/Downs 1/2 50% Sand Saves 0/0 0% Penalties: 0 Putts: 18

Final Score: 71 (+1) Fairways Hit (FW) 6/14 43% Green in Regulation (GIR) 12/18 66% Up/Downs 4/7 57%. Sand Saves 0/0 0% Penalties: 0 Putts: 32

Wow, this round could have been that under par round that I have been chasing, but basically three 3 putts and a birdie missed from 3 ft cost me, but I’m not going to dwell on that, I’m going to enjoy my lowest round ever.  I hope that I can continue shooting in the low 70’s and that this round is just the first of many to come in upcoming months.  This round was my first negative CDF handicap rating as this course plays from the backs at a 74.1 rating.  As a result, this round lowered my CDF Handicap down to a 2.8, lowest of my life. If you are not familiar with what a CDF Handicap is, look over on the left side of my blog and that will give you the definition.  I will continue to work hard and keep improving, my under par round of golf is hopefully close, I can really taste it now…..keep working hard, I believe!

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Friday

I hit up the range after work and continued my solid play from this past week.  I know I’m swinging well when my swing thoughts are minimal, my body is relaxed and I’m just free flowing.  I remember last week, my range sessions were terrible, I was gripping the club in a death grip, thinking about where my arms should be in the back swing, the path of the club down, my hips, turning through….a dozen different swing thoughts clouding my mind.  As a result, I hit the ball like I was a 30 handicap, became more and more frustrated and less and less confident.  I know they say that playing well breeds confidence, but it is just as true that having confidence allows for playing well.  Hit my driver amazing on Friday night, focused mostly on my wedges, but I left about 15 balls for my driver at the end and hit 13 out of 15 down my target line.  Feeling confident in that club again, let’s hope I can keep that going this next week on the course.

Saturday

Went putting for about 2 hours before work trying to work on my lag putting which has been killing me lately.  Still seems like my tendency is to leave the longer putts short, I feel like I’m killing the ball, but it still comes up woefully short.  I’m going to go see my coach next week for a putting lesson, really need one badly.  I experimented with widen my feet near the end of my putting session and it seems to give me a more stable base and allowed for the club to swing more freely, we’ll see if it helps me putt better on the course Monday.

Sunday

Going to be playing another round on Monday, late afternoon after work at the Vineyard….will be my 5th round since starting the blog at the Par 70 Vineyard course and I’m looking to break my upward trend of scores.  Started off with a 74 here, but since have gone 76, 80, 81 consecutively since.  I’m finally feeling real confident in my driver, so I will really be disappointed with anything in the 80s on Monday.

Went to the range again tonight after work, hit the ball very well again.  Was hitting almost every club in the bag well, except the few 3 woods I hit.  My driver is coming around nicely, I am crushing the ball down my target line right now, I’m really starting to figure that out, excited to bring it to my round tomorrow.  On the last 4th of my range bucket tonight, I used the balls to visually play the first 6 or 7 holes of the course I’m playing tomorrow.  I went through my whole routine as if I was on the 1st hole and then based on my tee shot, I judged how far out I would be with my 2nd and played the type of shot needed (straight, draw, cut).  I did this for the remaining balls I had and made it through about the 7th hole.  I have a solid plan for how I’m going to play the first couple holes tomorrow and preparing like this can really help you gain a lot of confidence going into a round.  I’m expecting a mid to low 70s round tomorrow……now let’s make it happen!