Posts Tagged ‘blog’

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

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

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

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

 

4036482004_26bcbfde54

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 for golf and writing, 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 life, but my blogs succeed in helping others to reach their goals in their respective passions…then I know my mother would be proud.

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

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

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

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

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

I Love You Mom and Thank You!

20131023_094135

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.

collage2

 

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.

 

 

Got home from the annual Palm Springs tournament on Sunday night and I am so happy to report to you all that I have won the tournament for the 2nd consecutive year!  Back to back championships now and I’m so thrilled!  Unfortunately, I didn’t shoot that under par round that I was hoping for and I did make some uncharacteristic mistakes (I’ll get into that later), but overall, I played some real solid golf and in the end I accomplished the main goal of winning the tournament. 

For those of you who didn’t follow me or read my posts from last year’s Palm Springs tournament, it is a 3 day event where we play courses at both PGA West and La Quinta.  This year we had a field of about 90 golfers and although most of the field was just hacking it around, there are some really solid players that play in this event.  On the final round, the top 4 leading golfers in the tournament all play together and this year’s final group found me playing against some extremely good players.  It consisted of one who played at a division 1 college team, another who qualified for the Buick Invitational PGA Tour Event here in San Diego at Torrey Pines a few years ago (it’s now called the Farmers Insurance Open) and another a scratch golfer, who plays in many USGA events and was leading me by 3 strokes…not to mention it was about 110 degrees every single day.  This was now my 4th year attending this annual tournament in the desert and I had won it the year before so I also had that little added pressure of being defending champ!    

Day 1 – PGA West – Greg Norman Course

7340_10202274327331556_5856104486717021029_nThe first day we played at the Greg Norman, a course I had never played at before and it was extremely challenging.  I’ve never played a true “desert” course like that before…it was basically only fairways and desert.  Not much rough at all, but the fairways were narrow and you had to be deadly accurate both off the tee and on your 2nd shots or you were playing from the rock hard desert or losing your ball in the shrubs.  Playing any course for the first time is always difficult, obviously why pros play practice rounds, but I played some solid golf.  I ended up shooting a 78 (+6) with only 1 birdie, but was still only 2 shots off the lead after day 1.  My ball striking was really solid, but I was disappointed in my score, I just could not figure out the Bermuda greens and putted terrible.  My lag putting was horrid!  Left countless putts 3-4 ft short, but was making most of the 2nd putts, but I did end up 3-putting twice.  I’ve never played on Bermuda greens before and it’s something totally different than what I’m used to…so slow!!  I also bogeyed two par 5’s, something I almost never do, both as a result of tee shots that found the hazards.  So that is 4 shots right there that I should have the skills to avoid, so I left a possible low score on the course, but was still right there at the top of the leader board in 3rd place.

Day 2 – PGA West – Jack Nicklaus Tournament Coursenicklaus1a

I’ve played this course each of the previous 3 years, so I have some course knowledge built up by now.  I absolutely love this course; it’s challenging yet fun, beautiful and well maintained.  This only problem this year was that the greens had been aerated, must have been a few weeks prior, they weren’t sandy, but the punched holes still slightly remained, certainly enough to affect putts.  Nonetheless, I was most confident to play this course of all the 3 because I like the layout, my scores have improved every year here and I looked forward to trying to go low on a real difficult course.  My ball striking remained solid, but I just could not take advantage of ANYTHING all day and didn’t have a single birdie, yet was still able to shoot only a 75(+3).  15 pars and 3 bogeys, one of the bogies was another 3 putt and I again bogeyed two par 5’s!! What?!? I seriously never bogey par 5’s and I had now done it 4 times in 2 rounds, was frustrating beyond belief.  With my length, I expect to be making birdie on a lot of them and certainly never making worse than par.  As I had talked about in my previous post before I left, my wedge game from 100 yards and in was my main concern and it came into play big time during this round.  I had 5 shots from the range of 90-70 yards during the round and I only hit the green once!!  That is really really bad and I was left having to scramble for par (which I did successfully) rather than having a solid look at birdie and a par almost guaranteed with an easy 2 putt.  If I want to shoot under par, I must improve that part of my game, I’ll be sure to dedicate a lot more time to that area going forward.  The low round of the day was a 73(+1) from a guy who shot 77 the first day.  The person who was leading after a first round 76 ended up dropping back quite a bit and I jumped into 2nd place heading into the final round trailing by 3 strokes.  

**Here is a video of my tee shot on the par 3 17th hole.  You can’t really see the ball flight from the video, but I hit a 9iron that I tried to draw back to the flag…it finished about 15 ft pin high left.  2 putt par.**

Day 3 Final Round – La Quinta Dunes Course

This was a big day for me, all the work I’ve been doing on my mental game was going to come into play today.  I’ve never been in a tournament final round pairing before, last year I played in a pre set up group, so this year I had some nerves cooking.  I’ve never been in that type of situation before and I knew it was going to be great experience for later on when I play in bigger tournaments going forward, like Golf Channel Am Tour Events.  I studied my yardage book the night before, devised a game plan and visualized playing the course in my mind.  I even visualized them calling my name as champion at the banquet because I believe in the theory that if the mind can see it and truly believe it, then you can achieve it!  I went in with the mindset of keeping my emotions in check and trying to just focus on playing one single shot at a time.  I wanted to get lost in the game and try to go unconscious…I wanted to be in the “zone.”  I knew which player it was that I was 3 shots behind and I knew at some point if I looked like I was gaining ground or in the lead that I would be watching his shots thinking “ok, now I must make this putt to stay 1 down or 1 up” so I tried to make sure I didn’t fall into that trap.  In a sense I didn’t want to score board watch, I wanted to come down to the 18th hole not knowing if I was leading or not.  I just wanted to stick to my game plan I set up the night before and play my game, that’s all I can do and in the end if it’s not enough to be the winner so be it. 

I’m so proud of myself, I honestly kept focused on one shot at a time, when my mind did wander a few times, I recognized it and snapped back out of it immediately.  I let go of any bad shots, maintained a positive attitude and neutral emotions and got into that elusive “zone” that golfers strive for.  I honestly had no idea of my individual score I was so much in the zone, let alone where I was in relation to the lead. I could sense that I was probably in the lead, but wasn’t sure by how much if at all.  They set it up so that our 18th hole was the 17th hole(pictured below)laquinta which is the #1 handicapped hole and I have heard the 1st or 2nd hardest hole in all of California!  It is a long dog leg left holes with water all down the left side, extremely intimidating, but I didn’t think twice and stuck to my game plan of hitting a 4 iron off the tee.  I hit it right down the middle of the fairway, where as the person I was battling the lead with took driver and hit it through the fairway into a bunker.  He had an almost impossible 2nd shot and hit it into the water.  He later told me that he was thinking in his head as he saw me pull 4 iron “wow he’s going conservative and playing it smart”  He talked himself out of doing the same, it was nice of him to tell me how impressed he was with my mental attitude, my game and how I went about playing the course.  I ended up winning by 4 strokes after being down 3 strokes going into the final round and accomplished my goal of back to back championships!!  Now my mind is already set on that 3-peat next year and shooting an under par round.  I want that under par round at that tourney, it didn’t happen this year, but I will have it!

I know this is a really long post, thanks for sticking around and taking the time to read it, thanks for all your support guys!  You are all helping me make my dreams become reality one day at a time and I hope that I can help you all go after and accomplish your dreams as well…we are in this together, you all motivate me to be better and live a life which I have imagined.  Thank you, hope you enjoyed this tournament recap!  They haven’t posted any pictures from the tournament yet, so I’ll post a few when they get released.