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PIC-GOLFI saw a stat once that said less than ½ of 1% of golfers have ever shot under par.  I decided just over a year ago now to really dedicate myself and go on a journey to try and join that elite group and accomplish that dream in my heart.  After a year of consistent practice, full of up and downs, close calls and near misses, I can now say I finally broke through and shot my first regulation under par round with a 68 (-2) at the Vineyard!!  I’m so ecstatic right now guys.  Hard work really does pay off and if you have any dream that you would like to accomplish, even if it seems impossible at times, just keep telling yourself everyday that “it’s possible.”  Even when things are down and times are tough, just that belief that it’s possible can push you through anything.  Thanks to all of you who have followed my blog over this past year and supported me in this pursuit of my dream.  You guys have kept me accountable to keep working hard and to not give up on myself or my dream. Whether you have been here since day one or are just joining my journey right now, thank you for your support.  This is just the first step however, there is so much more to accomplish.  Next step is to shoot under in a tournament and get to the point where I am doing it consistently and get that handicap to zero or better.  I look forward to pushing myself and excited for what’s to come because now I’ve seen it’s truly possible!   Here is a detailed round recap of my round, haven’t done one of these for a while and I just had to for my first under par round of golf…enjoy!

The Vineyard Golf Course 6,531 Yards Par 70

Front 9

Hole 1: 420 Par 4

A very difficult straight away par 4 that always plays into the wind.  #2 handicapped hole, with hazards on both sides.  Lately I’ve been playing an iron off the tee to keep it in and laying it back short of the 150 marker and hitting a mid iron in, but today I decided to hit my 21* Hybrid.   I hit a real solid shot that just ran through the fairway on the right.  Was left with just a PW into the green from about 133 out that finished 25ft above the hole.  Quick downhill putt, but judged the first putt perfect, tap in par. Par

Round (Even)  

Hole 2: 351 Par 4

Short dogleg left with water surrounding the left and right side of fairway and green.  Hit on a 5 iron off the tee, starting it down the left and drew it back into the fairway.  Had 126 left into a slight right to left cross wind.   Hit a solid gap wedge to about 18ft for birdie.  Big breaking putt, missed it and 2 putted for my 4. Par

Round (Even)

Hole 3: 125 Par3

Short par 3, was playing about 118 today, as pin was in the back middle.  Water is in front of green and out of bounds long, a very daunting shot.  Hit a solid sand wedge to center of green, ran my first putt up the hill about 3ft by, but made the comebacker for par. Par

Round (Even)

Hole 4: 404 Par 4

Been hitting 5 wood off this tee lately because there is a big tree down the left side, if I block my tee shot my 5 wood usually keeps me far enough back that I would have enough room to go around or over.  Absolutely bombed a 5 wood today and only had 118 left into the green. 286yard 5 wood…pin was up in front so it was just 95 to front.  I tried to hit my open faced 60* that I’ve been working on, thought it was perfect,but it hit just in the front rough and stopped…2 more feet and it’s a tap in birdie.  Routine chip that I was trying to make, almost did, but ended with a tap in par…solid up and down. Par

Round (E)

Hole 5: 401 Par 4

This hole heads the same way as #1 so it also always plays into the wind, there is a bunker on the right side that I know I will be short of with my 3 wood if I slightly pull my drive.  Hit a solid shot, but pulled it to the right side of fairway…my course management paid off and it stays short of the bunker and in the fairway.  128 yards into the green, but blocked a gap wedge that finished pin high off to the left.  Had a delicate chip that I had to land on a slope and feed it to the hole, but just didn’t hit it hard enough and it came up 10ft short.  Missed the par putt for a disappointing bogey from the fairway and not too difficult of a chip. Bogey

Round (+1)

Hole 6: 152 Par 3

Pin was far right side, sets up perfectly for a nice draw into the hole.  Just hit a PW, I’m usually exactly where the pin is today, so I felt really confident, but hit it slightly off the toe and it just barely stayed out of the hazard short.  Tried to play a bump and run, but took a club less than needed and left it a good 10ft short, missed the putt for back to back bogeys. 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.  I know from experience that my 5 wood usually ends up just off the back and that is exactly where it finished today.  Was left with a very difficult chip however, short sided and had to play a short flop shot as the green was running away from me to the flag…just sliced it perfectly popped it up straight up right in front of me landed it in the fringe and it released down  to about 2 ft…made the birdie! Birdie

Round (+1)

Hole 8: 419 Par 4

Similar to #4, this is a narrow driving hole with a big tree to the left side that will block you out.  I’ve been hitting hybrid lately, but I found that if I block it left I’ll reach the bunker and have to play a huge cut out of a bunker, no fun.  So I just hit a 4iron today and actually did block it left, but stayed short of the bunker.  Unfortunately I was still blocked out and had to hit a big 7iron cut around the tree, but I caught the top branches.  It still got through and finished in the fairway about 40yards short of green.  Played a little 40 yard low pitch, hit it crisp, but it spun and stopped after its 2nd bounce instead of releasing a little.  Left with a fast 15ft par putt down the slope that I drained!  Huge save for me. Par

Round (+1)

Hole 9: 503 Par 5

Very reachable par 5, but there is water about 280 out…so just hit a 5 wood to stay short of it, hit a solid shot, but pulled it slightly.  Finished in the rough about 220 out on a downhill lie with a tree and water in front of me.  Played a low big draw 5iron that came off really well and finished just short of green to the right.  Pin was back left so I had a really long chip…debated what club to hit, but I chose a gap wedge, tried to land it about 1/3 onto the green and let it run out, came off perfectly and actually lipped out for eagle!!  Nice tap in birdie to get back to even.  Birdie

Round (E)

Even par 35 on the front 9.  Bad bogeys on 5 and 6, but finished 2 under over my last 3 to get it back to even.  Fairways Hit (FW): 4/7 57% Greens in Regulation (GIR): 5/9 55.5% Up/Downs: 4/6 66% Sand Saves: 0/0 Putts: 14

Back 9

Hole 10: 389 Par 4

Uphill par 4, blind 2nd shot and fairway that slopes right to left…I hit a 5 wood down the right side hoping the slope would take it left, but it had some draw on it and finished in the right rough.  Blind 2nd shot that I had to draw around another big tree about 118 yards, hit a great shot that landed just past the hole and finished about 15ft.  Hit a great putt that just didn’t turn as much left to right as I thought and it stopped inches away.  Solid par on this difficult hole. Par

Round (E)

Hole 11: 457 Par 4

This is a very difficult driving hole where the fairway bottle necks as it heads down a hill.  There is out of bounds left, but room to the right if I pull it.  I decided to hit my first driver of the day and absolutely bombed it over the hill straight and it stayed in the narrow fairway.  Only had 98 yards in, so it was a 359yard drive…hit a nice wedge to about 10ft and was left with a great uphill birdie look on this #3 handicapped hole.  I tugged the putt a hair and missed it just to the right…would have been nice to take advantage of that difficult hole, but par is fine.  Par

Round (E)

Hole 12: 154 Par 3

Another par 3 over water into the wind.  Pin was back right, hit a 9iron slightly off the toe and it finished about 35-40ft below the hole on the green.  Made a great lag putt to about a ft and tapped in for par. Par

Round (E)

Hole 13: 477 Par 4

Another long par 4 that plays downhill…took driver and hit it real solid, but blocked it left into the rough.  Downhill, downwind 2nd shot to a pin that was only 2 paces on over the bunker that guards the front of the green.  A really difficult shot, hit a gap wedge that landed just over the bunker in the rough and hopped up onto the fringe.  Short putt from the fringe about 7ft that started downhill and moved uphill at the end…drained it for a great birdie to move to -1 with 5 to play. Birdie

Round (-1)

Hole 14: 412 Par 4

Water on the left and out of bounds on the right, stuck to my normal plan of 4iron off the tee and hit a pure perfect shot.  Had only a sand wedge into the green, threw a dart in there that landed 2ft above flag, hopped and stopped about 8ft.  Another great look at birdie, slightly uphill right to left putt, but I missed it on the low side, just not enough speed and missed another great opportunity. Par

Round (-1)

Hole 15: 551 Par 5

A long uphill all the way par 5 that was also playing into the wind.  I almost never hit this fairway, but I stepped up and crushed a driver down the pipe.  Was left with 250 left and a rare chance to go for this par 5 in two.  Hit a 3 wood, but I cut it to the left just about pin high.  Had a tricky chip, had to flop it over a bunker from a downhill lie and keep it on the top shelf where the flag was located.  I pulled off a great shot and left it about 7ft away.  Stepped up and made the birdie putt to move to 2-under with just 3 to play!  Birdie

Round (-2)

Hole 16: 453 Par 4

The most difficult hole on the course according to the handicap on the scorecard….a tight uphill tee shot.  I was certainly starting to get a little nervous at this point at the thought of pulling this out, but I recognized it and made sure I only focused on the shot at hand.  Stepped up and crushed a 3 wood down the middle.  Hit a wedge pin high to the center of green.  20ft putt that actually was dead center, but I left it about 3 inches short…would of been nice, but tap in par.  Par

Round (-2)

Hole 17: 157 Par 3

On my even par round last week,  I was 1 under heading into this par 3 17th before blocking it left into the bunker and bogeying.  Pin was in the back today, but was playing as an 8iron again.  I focused, saw myself hitting the shot I wanted to hit, trusted myself and hit the best 8iron I have ever hit under that much pressure.  Just a smooth pure shot right at the flag…I asked the golfing gods for it to “be right” and it stuck right over the flag and stopped 6ft!  A straight in birdie putt to seal it…but I babied it and pushed it slightly.  Come on!! A great chance to be 3 under heading into 18th and seal my first under par round, but I guess par never hurts. Par

Round (-2)

Hole 18: 411 Par 4

Now the real drama begins…the 18th is a beautifully scenic hole heading back down the hill to the clubhouse.  At this time of day, it was also right into the sun and you really couldn’t see your tee shot at all without somebody in your groups help. The group in front was having a lot of trouble and we never really waited all day until #18.  We had to wait what literally felt like forever and I was trying to block out all the thoughts, both positive and negative, that I was on the verge of actually accomplishing my dream.  Tried to stay in the moment and finally it was our time to go.  I hit a 3wood that felt really solid, but my playing partners were saying they saw it slightly right at the fairway bunker, but it should be great.  We got up there and I couldn’t find my ball…we looked all around the bunker, nowhere to be found, I obviously couldn’t see the tee shot because you look directly into the sun so I had to rely on their eyes.  Not going to lie, I started to panic a bit inside, not wanting to have to take a penalty on 18 and risk a 6 to finish at even!  I eventually located my ball that somehow must have taken a crazy kick to the right because it finished way over the hill and only about 5yards from an out of bounds stake separating the 18th from the driving range.  Thank the golfing gods that it stayed in bounds and I was actually left with a wide open wedge to the green…knocked a 60* to about 20ft and 2 putting to sweet victory!!  Par

Round (-2)

A great (-2)33 on the par 35 back 9.  All pars and 2 birdies.  Fairways Hit (FW) 4/7 57% Green in Regulation (GIR) 8/9 88% Up/Downs 1/1 100%. Putts: 15

Final Stats:

Score: 68 (-2) FW: 8/14 GIR: 13/18 Putts: 29 Up/Down: 5/7 Sand Save: 0/0 Penalties: 0

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Like I updated in my previous post, was unable to play on Saturday when my plans fell through, but was able to go out and play today over at Carmel Highlands and I shot an 80 (+8).  I struck the ball very well, but short game again killed me and I had six 3-putts….that’s right SIX!!  I know where I will be all next week and that is on the putting and chipping greens, I am hitting the ball well enough to shoot low to mid 70’s every time right now.  Getting my short game  tightened up is going to help me lower my scores quickly.

I went to the Farmers Insurance Open here at Torrey Pines in San Diego yesterday and had a blast.  I went to the Wednesday Pro Am, it’s the only day you can take video of the players and I got some great footage.  If you have never had a chance to see the PGA Tour live and in person, you can’t really grasp how good they are.  These guys truly are on a different level, it’s a joy to watch and  it sure gives me motivation to try and hit it as well as they do one day.  I edited my videos together into a nice 1080p compilation for you guys, got a lot of the best players in the world, so here is the video, enjoy!

NY2014blog1Well that certainly crept up on us fast huh? It is now the start of a brand new year, 2014 and I am happy to see it.  I’ll admit I’m the type of person who is a sucker for New Year’s resolutions.  The start of the New Year always fills my mind with so many possibilities, the chance to start fresh and refocus myself on my new goals.  I’d say I’m almost always at my most positive and creative state on December 31st, of course like most, that heightened state of mind slowly dissipates a few weeks later with the realization that truly reaching your goals is going to be a tough, harsh, mental and physical grind, but I’m ready.

Before I talk about my 2014 goals, I should probably do a quick recap of my 2013.  I started this blog at the end of May, so I’ve been at it for a full 7 months now, but in the past couple I have only been focusing on golf and not this blog.  In 2014, I will stay consistent in updating this blog because my hope when starting this blog was to entertain and possible help others who had similar dreams and interests, but also to feed off your viewership as a way to hold myself accountable to not only better my golf game, but better myself as a person as well.  In 2013, I accomplished one of my big goals and that was to win at the annual 3-day Palm Springs golf tournament.  Finishing 1st and beating a field of 85 players was an amazing feeling and I’m very proud of myself for staying focused and playing well under pressure.  My other main goal for the 2013 was to shoot an under par round of golf on a regulation course.  Unfortunately, I fell just short of that goal, posting a few +1 and +2 rounds, but had multiple 3-putts that cost me that under par round.  Had a round, at one of the most difficult courses I’ve ever played this year, where I shot +1 with three 3-putts…eliminate those and it’s a (-2) round.  Not all is lost however, I did manage to shoot a 4-under round at an executive course just about a month and a half ago and in some aspects, it can be considered tougher to shoot under on an executive because of the amount of par 3’s, where you must hit it close in order to score.  4-under par anywhere I feel like is a respectable score, so I actually consider this goal somewhat accomplished.  Those were my two big main goals this past year and I’m really pleased that I was pretty much able to accomplish both.

So now I head into 2014 and I’m ready to tackle it with full force.  This is going to be the most demanding year of my life; I will push myself harder and further out of my comfort zone than I have ever been before.  It will no doubt be uncomfortable and difficult, but I know that if I put in the effort and hard work, endure the struggles and sacrifices, that I will see myself accomplish the things that I can only dream about now and start to truly fulfill my potential.

I only have 3 main golf goals for this year of 2014 as of now and I’ll add more as my progress goes along, but for now here they are:

1)      Win our annual work tournament in April/May.  It is a scramble style tournament and my team and I have shot (-10) each of the past 2 years and come in 2nd and 3rd.  This will be our 3rd time playing and I want to win this tournament badly.  I will definitely have to improve my game over the next 4-5 months if we want to win as a lot of the shots will fall on my shoulders.  We will have to shoot in the 50’s to win and if I play my best, I feel we can for sure accomplish that.

2)      Improve on my scores from last year in Palm Springs and shoot an under par round at the tournament.  Even though I won this past year, my short game was abysmal and I could have easily shot a lot lower if that part of my game was sharp.  So my goal is to not only win again obviously, but to improve my total score and have one of the rounds be under par…that would be amazing.  The tournament isn’t until August 2014, so I have 8 months to practice and I think I will be able to sneak a couple under par round of golf into my game by then, hopefully!

3)      To play in and win a Golf Channel Amateur Tour Event.  I’ve wanted to play in these events for the past 2 years now, but have been hesitant to make this next step until I felt like my golf game was strong enough.  Truly it’s more just about nerves than anything else, so my goal is to step out of my comfort zone and play in a few tour events this year.  My plan is to focus on practice for a few months and then play some events starting in April.

So those are my top 3 golfing goals for the year 2014, besides the obvious one of trying to get down my handicap to scratch.  I will also aim to update this blog a lot more frequently, thinking at least 2 times a week going forward like I did when I first started.  I’m sorry I have not put the time and effort into this blog as I had intended, one post a month is just not right.464192

Thank you to all of my viewers for the wonderful encouraging comments you guys have provided in 2013, they really do help me in staying positive and focused on accomplishing my goals and dreams and I hope you all stick around, follow and enjoy my golf journey in 2014.

I’d like to end this post by asking what are your golfing goals for the year 2014? I’d like to hear them in the comments below and I wish you all the best with them.  I hope that this blog can possibly be a source of encouragement or help for you as we both head down that mysterious path together that accompanies that journey to accomplishing dreams, cheers!

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I decided to take about a week and a half off from playing golf, clear my head and reset before getting back to the grind.  I played a lot of golf gearing up for my tournament in Palm Springs and the hard work certainly paid off with my victory, so I felt like I needed/earned a short break.  I have played 2 rounds now since my 10 days off and I think the reset has really helped me.  I shot a 74 (+4) last week and yesterday I shot a 72 (+2) round with a triple and double bogey!  Both rounds were at the Par 70 Vineyard course. I’m really playing some solid golf right now, but still making too many mistakes that are costing me that under par round of golf.

20130924_12401420130924_124003During my (+4) 74 round, I had 2 penalties and three 3 putts, easily could have been my under par round.  Yesterdays (+2) 72, had 4 penalties, a triple bogey 7 on #2 and a double bogey 5 of #3……the other 16 holes I played in (-3)!  It’s frustrating knowing just how close I am to shooting my first under par round of golf, it’s right there, I can taste it, I just need to eliminate the stupid mistakes.  Of course that’s much easier said than done, golf is one of the hardest sports on earth for a reason, it is so difficult to remain consistent.  However, I am determined to get my under par round of golf, it is crazy to think that according to the USGA less then ½ of 1% of golfers can shoot under par…I want in that elite group so badly and one day I will be.  I’m making a lot of birdies lately which is really encouraging, I have 7 birdies and an eagle over my last 2 rounds.  If I keep the ball in play off the tee, eliminate the occasional 3 putts and maintain my solid up and down game, I should be easily under par.  20130924_12404320130924_124120I’ll be playing a round on Wednesday at Eagle Crest, a very challenging course; have not played there in a while, so I’m hoping for another solid round.  I did shoot (-1) on the back 9 the last time I did play there, about 6 months ago and my game is much better than it was then, so you never know!

                                                               

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#18th Tee Mountain Course

**Here are some of the pictures taken at the tournament in Palm Springs few weeks ago.  The PGA West courses in Palm Springs are beautiful and it was a real treat to get to experience golf at some of the finest courses in the US.**

Spent most of my time this week at the range working on my long game to try and stop my shifting forward in my downswing.  It’s something that my coach identified as a problem months ago when I first started getting lessons again, but I could never fully grasp the correct “feeling.”  I dedicated myself this week to finding that feeling as I know that I have fallen back into my bad habit of shifting forward with my hips instead of turning through on the downswing…and it causes me to have real inconsistent contact with an either push or big draw ball flight.   I feel like now I have finally figured out the correct feeling and my swing feels a lot smoother and my contact is A LOT better.  Worked in front of a mirror, with swing analysis video on my phone and at the range and I’m seeing great positive results.

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Me putting on #18 Dunes Course

I played a round with my friend on Wednesday over at the Vineyard to try and take my practice to the course and see how it would hold up during a round.  I shot a disappointing 79, but my ball striking with my irons was really solid and my ball flight was a lot more accurate than it has been.  My only problem this round was off the tee with my driver.  I hit every single drive solid, with distance, it was just leaking left.  I found the out of bounds off the tee 4 times on Wednesday, causing me to have 3 double bogeys.  b1dfab579a60ec73ca8d4ebdbb0b10e9So I know what I need to work on again and it is straightening out my driver, the contact and distance is there, but I can feel I’m coming slightly over the top, now I just need to find the correct slot and that should straighten it out.  Worked last night at the range for a bit and my driver was getting a lot better, still slightly leaking left, but definitely straightening out.

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Chipping

My short game is the best it’s ever been right now, I’m really confident in what I’m doing with my putter.  I’m finally getting consistent solid contact in the center of the putter face and it has greatly improved my distance control.  The ball is rolling off the putter face as it should and my green reading is improving also.  I’m the most confident I have ever been on the greens right now and I hope to keep it going

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Our Group Day #2 at the Dunes Course

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get out and play this weekend, but hopefully next week I can get out 2-3 times and play some solid golf.  If I keep hitting the ball like I am and straighten out that driver, I feel like I can go real low, let’s make it happen!

Being Congratulated on the Victory

Being Congratulated on the Victory

….ME!! 

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My View of the Nicklaus Course on Day 1

YES!! I’m still slightly in shock that I was able to win the tournament in Palm Springs this past week!  It was my 3rd time attending the tourney and ever since my 1st a few years back, it has been a big goal of mine to get my game good enough to try and win, so this is a big accomplishment for me mentally.  It proves to me that hard work and dedication really do pay off.  I did not play as well as I know I’m capable of, left a lot of shots out there due to short game, yet it was still just enough to get the job done as I beat the field of 85 by just 1 shot by the end of Sunday!

**I have been putting off writing a post about the tourney yet  because I have been waiting for them to post the pictures, but I think it’s time I at least clue you guys in and let you guys know that I actually won the thing!** 

It was a 3 day tournament in Palm Springs20130816_141930Day 1 we played at the PGA West Jack Nicklaus Course20130824_103829, it was 110 degrees and I shot a 79 (+7), putting me tied in 2nd place after day one (low score of day was a 75).  This round was actually really disappointing for me, we started on hole #5 on a shotgun start and I was at Even par through my first 11 holes and then went +7 over my last 7 holes to finish.  I think the heat got to me near the end.  I was hitting the ball great all day, but near the end I started missing greens and could not get up and down to save my life.  Went 0-5 on up and down over my last 7 holes and had a 3 putt.  So even with the very disappointing finish to the first day, I was still only 4 shots back from the lead and feeling good.

20130824_103916 20130824_103926Final Stats for Nicklaus Course: Score: 79 (+7) Fairways Hit (FW) 7/14 50% Green in Regulation (GIR) 8/18 44% Up/Downs 2/9 22%. Sand Saves 0/0 0% Penalties: 0 Putts: 33

Day 2 we played at the La Quinta Dunes Course20130824_103953 and I tied for the low round of the day with a solid (+3) 75!  We started on hole #14 on the shotgun start and something amazing happened…..the first two holes, back to back, I chipped in for birdie!  Both were great chips that one hopped and fell into the cup, it was crazy and missed a 3rd on the next hole by an inch.  So that start was a nice treat, but unfortunately I was not able to make another birdie the entire day, but played solid golf to only finish at +3.  I doubled #17 which is the #1 handicapped hole, perfectly in the fairway, but I blocked my 7 iron and it found the water left of the green.  I did not hit the ball well off the tee this day, but my short game was a lot better and as a result I finished the day tied for the lead going into Sunday!

20130824_10402020130824_104007Final Stats for Dunes Course: Score: 75 (+3) Fairways Hit (FW) 4/14 29% Green in Regulation (GIR) 9/18 50% Up/Downs 5/7 71%. Sand Saves 0/1 0% Penalties: 1 Putts: 27

Day 3 (Final) we played at the La Quinta Mountain Course20130824_104047, my first time ever playing at this course.  It is a beautiful course, literally carved into the la quinta mountain side and it even features an island green, only it’s surrounded by rocks and not water like at Sawgrass.  We started on #14, the 2nd handicapped hole and I hit it to about 12 ft for birdie…..then I promptly 3 putted for a bogey, ridiculous!  I was very upset at myself, but I think in a way it almost freed me up to just go out and play and not worry about score or winning and just let the chips fall where they may.  I hit a lot of close shots for birdie, but could not convert a lot of them, missed 10 ft birdies on #15 and #17 and even a 3 ft birdie on #1, horrible!  I was +4 after my first 7 holes, but still striking the ball well.  I was able to make some clutch putts coming down the stretch, a few birdies and finished my last 11 holes at just +1.  I had no clue that my score of 77 (+5) was going to be good enough to win the tournament.  We all gathered back in the clubhouse to hand in our scorecards and that was when I was told that I had won the tournament by 1 shot!  I was in shock as the other person I was tied with on the final day had shot a 78.  Needless to say you can tell that this was not the most difficult tournament, as my final 3 day total of 231 (+15) won, but I’m still extremely proud to top the field of 85 players and happy to accomplishing a big goal of mine.  We played on the same courses where they play the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament, the rough was long and fluffy and it was 110 degrees + every single day.  The Golf Channel Am Tour events will be more difficult and significant to win, but this win is a real confidence booster for me and a big stepping stone in my journey to become a scratch golfer.  My goal for next year at this tournament is to shoot an under par round, I believe if I keep putting in the time and effort, I can make it happen!

20130824_10405720130824_104104 Final Stats for Mountain Course: Score: 77 (+5) Fairways Hit (FW) 9/14 64% Green in Regulation (GIR) 10/18 55% Up/Downs 1/5 20%. Sand Saves 0/1 0% Penalties: 2 Putts: 32

**I will be posting pictures of the tournament when they release them so stayed tuned in the next week.**

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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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I am now 28 years old and I have discovered that this is about the age when real regret for the paths you wish you would have taken or the dreams you wish you would have pursued  and did not in your early 20’s are starting to set in.  We might feel and think like we are still 18, but we are not.  The days and weeks feel much quicker now, the calendar pages feel like they are being turned more rapidly each year and nostalgia for the good old days occur more and more frequently.  When these feelings start, one must realize that you are not alone and that 99% of people will have these same feelings at some point, even the ones you think seemingly have it all.  What is it? It’s that feeling in your gut that says “I want more.”  It’s that will to improve yourself, grow and know you were meant for better.  Scared are some of that feeling, they begin to settle and get lazy, they end up doing the easy thing and in the end they’ll never know if they could have accomplished their dreams because they were too afraid of the work, dedication and time it would take.  It’s that fear of the unknown, the fear of failure or even success that hold us back from getting what we really want and accomplishing the dreams in our heart.  Fear of where that mysterious path to accomplishing dreams would take you, somewhere unfamiliar and out of your comfort zone.  I for one will not continue to be that person.  I want to go on that journey that comes with the pursuit of a personal dream.  I want to know that a plan, dedication, focused intensity, faith and hard work really do pay off and even if I fail in my goal, at least those principles will be ingrained in my psyche  and ultimately make me a better person. “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” –Henry David Thoreau

For me, my dream is to be a scratch golfer, to be able to shoot under par on any given day at any given golf course and do it consistently.  This blog is going to be dedicated to that pursuit and if you are a fan of golf in any capacity, I encourage you to join me, stick around and follow my journey.  My journey is going to involve regular long hours of practice, patience and faith.  Anybody who has played golf before knows just how frustratingly difficult the game of golf can be.  It’s a game that takes constant practice and patience, but a game that is so rewarding when played well.  I have had this dream in the back of my mind for the past year and a half when I started to play golf again more frequently, but have not shown the true dedication and hours of practice that is needed to accomplish it.  I have improved however, started at about an unofficial 9-12 handicap a year and a half ago and am now down to an official 5.9, lowest of my life.  I believe that with consistent and correct practice, I can improve quickly.

To recap my goal for this blog is to plot my journey to becoming a scratch golfer, shooting my first under par round and getting my handicap down to a 0 or better.  When I first picked up a golf club at age 14, I dreamed of the day that I could sign a scorecard with a negative under par score, just like the professionals.  I believe that with the help of this blog keeping me motivated, lots of dedicated and focused practice that I can accomplish one of my goals of shooting an under par round of golf possibly by the end of 2013, if not than at least in 2014. **Update: First Under Par Round Accomplished 6/25/14, Read About it Here: A Dream Realized**   My journey to become a scratch golfer will hopefully take me out of my comfort zone and help me grow as a person.  It will take me from early morning rounds by myself to amateur golf tour events to who knows where if I actually accomplish it in the coming years.  The journey will be long, and no doubt frustrating at times, but fulfilling to know that in the end, many years from now, when I look back, I will have pursued a dream of mine and I will not have to regret another “what if” moment.  I will be posting scores and stats, practice sessions, round recaps, lesson videos and pictures.  So I ask you even if you’re not a golfer too, to please join me and follow along as I go on this journey toward my dream.   I also hope that it can inspire you to find that dream of your own you’d like to accomplish.  Create a plan and go for it and together we can help support and push each other to live the dreams in our heart!