Posts Tagged ‘course’

Alright well I’m leaving tomorrow for the 3 day tournament in Palm Springs and I’m both excited and little nervous.  I’m more excited than nervous really, but there is a part of me that has added some unneeded pressure on my performance this year because of the unexpected success I experienced last year.  I want to go into this years tournament just like last year with no expectations of results, just purely with the mindset of sticking to my routine and focusing on trying to execute one shot at a time…if i can do that, the score will take care of itself.  Don’t get me wrong, I have my goals for this tournament (shoot an under par round), but I know it’s going to be extremely difficult and that the only way I’m going to actually accomplish that is if I stick to my routine and stay positive.  Can’t get too up or too down and I must tag the same amount of low importance on every shot, from the first tee shot to the last putt and everything in between. A lot can happen in 54 holes…I know I have the ability to shoot under par now, I know that it’s possible, so lets have a positive mind set and give it my best shot!

I’m planning on taking some videos of my swing during the tournament and some pictures of the overall event that’ll be able to share when I get back.  That is if the camera on my phone doesn’t bug out on me again like it has been for the past week or so.  It’s been freezing up lately, but I got it working last night and had a friend record my last swing at the range.  I haven’t shown you guys the progress of my swing in many months, so I thought I’d show you guys a quick down the line video of my driver.  I’m really happy that I have figured out my driver in advance of the tournament, finally found a set up that is allowing me consistent solid strikes and the ball is jumping off the face with accuracy.  Any feedback on the swing would be nice, I haven’t looked at my swing on video in awhile, It looks like I get pretty steep, but I’ve always done that naturally and right now I’m sticking with it because I’ve learned how to hit the ball well with it…I guess it doesn’t matter if the ball goes straight.

PGA-West-Nicklaus-Tournament-e1300984704835I’m a far better player than I was this time last year heading into the Palm Springs tournament.  My goal last year was just to break 80 all 3 days (which I accomplished), but this year my goal has been to shoot an under par round on at least one of the 3 days.  It is going to be an incredibly difficult task, but since I’ve been able to shoot under par a few times now recently, I know truly that it’s possible and I have the ability to do it. My game seems to be peaking at exactly the perfect time…I’ve never been so confident in my short game as I am right now, especially in my putting and the results are starting to show.  I had 11 1-putts yesterday and 7 birdies in route to a (-4) 56 at the Oaks North executive course.  The changes I made in my putting last week have turned my game around 180 degrees, the ball rolling off the face perfectly, tracking and staying on line so nicely and mentally I’ve never been so confident.  My ball striking is exponentially better right now than this time last year and I have added a cut shot into my arsenal that I can hit consistently.  I’m also hitting my driver consistently well again and with my improved accuracy with my 3 and 5 woods, I’m keeping the ball in or right near the fairway on every tee shot.  The one area I would say I haven’t improved as much as I would like is my wedge game.  I’m still not consistently putting the ball on the green or close to the flag from about 120 yards and in.  That’s the one thing that scares me right now heading into this tournament as something that will stop me from shooting under par…I have to take advantage of good drives and at least give myself a realistic opportunity for birdie.  My distance control hasn’t been consistent and my miss seems to be a block.  These courses at PGA West are very difficult (same courses they play at PGA Tour Q-School) so when you get a chance with a wedge in your hand to put it close you must take advantage to score low.  That is something I’ll be working on this next week both on the course and at the range and hopefully I’ll be more confident in it heading into next weekend.

Here are my scores for this past week:

8/4/14

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

Score: 72 (+2) FW: 7/14 GIR: 12/18 Putts: 31 Up/Down: 4/5 Sand Save: 1/1 Penalties: 1

8/6/14

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

Score: 74 (+4) FW: 11/14 GIR: 11/18 Putts: 32 Up/Down: 5/8 Sand Save: 0/1 Penalties: 0

8/7/14

Oaks North Executive Par 60 South/North 56.8/89 3,608 Yards

Score: 56(-4) FW: 3/6 GIR: 11/18 Putts: 25 Up/Down: 4/7 Sand Saves: 1/1 Penalties: 0

rancho-bernardo1If you look back at my post about my 2014 Golfing Goals, one of them was to win our annual work golf tournament.  My team had shot (-10) both the last 2 years and we had finished in 2nd and 4th place respectively.  I’ve wanted to win this tournament so badly, not only for the bragging rights, but to actually have the championship go to a team of employees as this tourney is in honor of our late owner who loved golf.  I have been working so hard on my game over this past year, as you all know and this moment has been on my mind the whole time.

Our goal was just to improve on our consecutive (-10) 62’s and hopefully break into the 50’s and with any luck a shot to win.  Well I’m happy to announce that we accomplished our goal and then some!  We absolutely destroyed the course, scored an unreal (-17) 55, set a new tournament record and won the tournament by 3 strokes!!  It was an unbelievable day, our whole team stepped up clutch in every situation we found ourselves in, I’m really proud of my team.

I started off pretty wild, slicing both my first tee shots out of bounds, but thankfully one of my teammates hit solid drives on both.  We started on hole #7 which is the #1 handicapped hole, we had a pretty long 2nd shot of about 220 from the rough, but one of my teammates hit a beautiful hybrid to about 30ft above the flag.  All 3 of my teammates putted, missing the birdie, but giving me a great read, I stepped up and drained the long birdie putt…a Tiger Woods fist pump ensued and that gave us big momentum and started us off on a crazy streak of 15 straight birdies!!  We were sticking it close on almost every hole, inside 10 ft and we made basically every putt.  We made 3 putts from over 25ft, a couple when it was our final putt, just clutch to keep the birdie streak going.  I don’t think any of us expected to play this well overall, as I’m the only one on the team that breaks 80 and one of our players hadn’t even touched a club since last year’s tourney, but those guys played so well, it was truly a team effort and I’m so happy  to be able to cross another item off my golf bucket list!  We were kind of disappointed we couldn’t complete the perfect round and birdie all 18 holes, but we just couldn’t convert the birdie opportunity from off the green on the difficult par 3 4th (Our 16th hole).

Rancho_Bernardo_Inn_in_San_Diego_California_58783We won some pretty cool prizes as well, one of which was 4 complimentary rounds to the host course, Rancho Bernardo Inn ($85 each).  Pretty awesome as this semi private course is just in perfect condition right now.  It’s a very fun and challenging course and it has hosted both PGA and LPGA events in the past so I look forward to being able to play it for free soon!

I’ll post some pictures from the event when they get posted from the photographer here in a few days, but for now here is the picture of our almost perfect scorecard, what a round!

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collage_20140514192447713_20140514192553797_20140514192710052On Wednesday, most of the northern San Diego area was hit with multiple wildfires as temperatures soared to a dry and blistering 100 degrees with sustained winds up to 40mph.  My part of town was relatively safe, so I decided to get out of the house and go play a round to get my mind off the news.  I headed to the Vineyard and of course it was petty wide open as most people in the area were more concerned with the news than golf.  I didn’t keep my score as I just listened to my iPod and played 2-3 different balls on each hole just practicing different shots all day long.  We have our work tournament coming up here on Monday the 19th, so it was good to get in a lot of real course practice.  I hit the ball alright, not as great as I would like to right now or have been lately, but I’m still feeling good going into Monday in my ability to help my team score low.  I’m20140514_175824 going to have to drive the ball well and have solid iron play to give us makeable birdie chances.  Most of the work will fall on me if we want to shoot low, so I’m hoping to have some solid range sessions this next few days and hopefully be able to play at least one more time before Monday.

Going back to Monday this week, found some posted tee times on GolfNow from a private club in my local area.  I guess StoneRidge golf club only posts times on Monday afternoons on GolfNow, so it was a nice treat to be able to snag one of them.  I had played here a few times before many  years ago growing up as one of my friends dads was a member and took me along a few times.  If I’m being honest, the conditions were quite disappointing…the chipping areas around the greens and the greens themselves were in excellent conditions, but the fairways and rough were terrible.  The tee boxes were uneven and patchy, not something you typically see from a private club.  I’m sure this recent drought we are having is making it difficult for their maintenance, but I see public courses like Vineyard or Woods Valley which are in excellent condition and cheap and it makes you wonder.

StoneRidge is still a nice and challenging track however with a lot of elevation and dog-legged holes.  Since my course experience here was so long ago, it felt like I was playing the course for the first time and gauging distances on dog leg holes with no course experience is a difficult challenge.  It cost me on more than a few holes as I was left with absolutely terrible angles into greens.  Factor in the 20mph wind gusts and this made for a challenging driving day, in which I failed miserably…only hitting 3 out of the 13 FW’s on this Par 71 track.  I stuck it within 15 ft on every Par 3 however, hitting nice cut shots into each, but only walked away with 1 birdie.  I did avoid any big numbers however and finished the round at a solid 78 (+7).

20140515_11283320140515_115937StoneRidge Country Club Par 71 71.3/130 6,418 Yards

Score: 78 (+7) FW: 3/13 GIR: 9/18 Putts: 32 Up/Down: 1/7 Sand Save: 0/0 Penalties: 0

 

What a difference a day makes huh?!?  Following my disappointing( +12) round, the next day I went over to my local executive course Oaks North and shot a (-1) 59!  Followed that up yesterday with a solid (+3) 75 at Carmel Highlands.   I’m proud of myself over these past few days and how I kept a positive attitude and belief in myself even after my previous rounds were so disappointing.  It would have been so easy for the old me to slump into a negative fog, get discouraged and question myself and my abilities.  Like I had said in the last post, I knew that I had hit the ball fairly well on Wednesday, despite the (+12) score and that I knew I was getting better and moving in the right direction.  I could see it on the range, I can feel myself improving in all aspects of my game and that is an exciting feeling, so it is nice to finally see the hard work pay off in terms of score.

So Tuesday I headed out to Oaks North by myself to get in a quick executive round and work on my mid iron/short game.  My iron, wedge and putting game were on fire, hitting it close with all variety of shots; cuts, draws, low, high, shot a career low of (-4) on the front 9!  Hit the prettiest 5-wood shot of my life on the 242yard Par 4 6th to about 10 ft.  Missed the eagle putt of course, but still made a solid birdie.  I hit the ball well on the back 9 too, but wasn’t able to take advantage of some birdie opportunities and shot +3.  Just wasn’t able to get up and down on the back, 3 bogeys, 2 of which should have been fairly routine saves, but didn’t chip it as close as I should have.  So overall, I finished the day (-1) and recorded my 2nd ever under par round of golf!!  Albeit they both have come on the Par 60 Oaks North Executive course, so I’m still chasing the regulation under par score, but negative anywhere is still an accomplishment.

20140426_112634Oaks North Executive Par 60 East/South 56.4/89 3,527 Yards

Score: 59 (-1) FW: 3/6 GIR: 11/18 Putts: 29 Up/Down: 3/7 Sand Saves: 0/0 Penalties: 0

Wednesday a few friends and I headed over to the Par 72 Carmel Highlands golf course and played a round.  Started off a bit rocky, bogeying the first 2, but ended up shooting (+1) the remaining 16 holes for a (+3) round of 75.  The first two holes, I hit tee shots where I left myself really no shot to reach the green, pulled both drives to the right and at Carmel Highland every hole is tree lined so if you are not accurate off the tee you’ll find yourself a lot of the time with no chance to get a GIR.  Made good recovery 2nd shots and solid chips, but wasn’t able to convert either par putt.  Hit a 5 iron to the 217 yard par 3 4th hole to about 10 ft, but couldn’t convert the birdie…missed another 10 ft birdie putt on the par 5 5th, but converted one on the 6th for my first birdie of the day.  Ended up making 3 birdies total on the day, missed a few makeable ones and also 3 putted the par 5 15th to make a par after hitting the green in 2. It was about a 70 ft eagle putt downhill so it wasn’t some routine 2 putt.

I drove the ball great all day and after hitting 4 balls out of bounds off the tee on Wednesday it felt nice to be in the short stuff for most of the day.  The one negative I would say about the past few days is my inability to really get up and down from what I would consider pretty routine spots.  I was 1/7 on up and down attempts on Wed even though I was leaving my misses in pretty good spots.  I’m surprised I couldn’t convert the save more often than not as that has been a strong part of my game over the past month.  This could have been that under par round if I could have been just 5 for 7 on up and downs, but  I’ll keep working on it, I was making good contact it was just either spinning or releasing more than I had anticipated so I need to grind that practice chipping green to really get a sense of distance control.

20140426_105728Carmel Highlands Golf Resort Par 72 71.4/129 6,428 Yards

Score: (+3) FW: 7/15 GIR: 12/18 Putts: 33 Up/Down: 1/7 Sand Saves: 0/0 Penalties: 0

 

 

I feel great about my game right now, I was saying that even when I shot (+9) and (+12) last week, so hopefully I can keep this level of game up in coming weeks.  I have my annual work tournament coming up here on May 19th, we shot (-10) both last year and the year before, so we want to improve and possibly win.  A lot of it is going to fall on my shoulder to hit it close and that motivates me to bring my A game on that day and to get on the grind with practice over the next coming weeks.

Golf-Out-of-BoundsThe Vineyard Escondido Par 70 Blue 71.0/126 6,531 Yards

Score: 82 (+12) FW: 7/14 GIR: 7/18 Putts: 31 Up/Down: 1/5 Sand Save: 0/1 Penalties: 4

Hmmm…frustrating day for sure, off the tee is what killed me today.  Funny thing is I still hit 7 of 14 FWs and had some great drives, but the ones that I missed were either out of bounds (of which there were 4!) or stuck behind trees with no legit shot to reach a GIR.  I actually felt in control of my swing all day, I hit a lot of really good shots, but as I noticed on the range, my miss has been a pull hook so I was fighting it all day.  I know that it is caused by coming too far from the inside on my down swing, which has always been my miss, so I just need some more time to groove in the correct path.  I can adjust it easily the next shot and hit a solid straight one, but it is just being able to repeat it each and every time that’s hurting me and ultimately that’s what makes golf so difficult. I’ve found a solid swing this past week at the range and I’m still confident in my game and what I’m doing.  It is close, I believe in myself and I feel it.  Two of my out of bounds of the tee came when I only was hitting a 4 iron off the tee for accuracy, but I pull hooked both and they took some nasty hops out of bounds.  I might need to make sure I just try to hit cuts with my longer irons and take out the right side, possibly just bad course management on my part.

I did have some positives in my game today, my putting and bunker play.  My putting was very good, that different grip I have been trying out this week seems to be helping a lot.  I confidently rolled in multiple 4-6 ft putts for par or bogey and even a couple 12ft plus.  So as bad as my score was, it could have been a lot worse if my putting wasn’t as good as it was today.  I hit 3 good bunker shots today, but they didn’t count as up and downs because the saving putts were for bogey.

I was able to save bogey on 2 of the 4 out of bounds tee shots, which was very nice and I did well to limit the damage caused by a poor driving day.  I am disappointed that I had 0 birdies , just wasn’t able to convert my only 2 legit opportunities from about 8-10ft.

So as disappointed as I am in my score today, my highest in awhile, I’ll take the positives out of the round and move on.  I will accomplish my dream of shooting an under par round of golf, no matter how long it takes, disappointments like these won’t stop me from believing my dream is possible.  I can see it happening in my mind and if you can see it and truly believe it, you can achieve it.

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A frustrating week so far, have really been playing great lately and hitting the ball well at the range too, but this week’s scores have been disappointing.  On Monday, I shot a 79 (+9) over at the par 70 Vineyard….started off +7 over the first 8 holes!  My iron game was solid, it was just my driving and putting that cost me.  Hit the first tee shot into the hazard on the right and started with a double bogey 6.  Hit two great shots on the difficult #2 and then 3 putted from about 10 ft total for another bogey.  On the drivable par 4 7th, I hooked my tee shot out of bounds and suffered a bogey on what is usually an easy par and prime birdie opportunity hole when you can hit a solid drive over the corner.  3 putted again on the 8th hole before birding the par 5 9th hole to finish the front 9, 6-over par.  3 over par 38 on the back 9, with 6 pars and 3 bogeys and one more 3 putt for bogey on #15 a par 5.

I had an amazing range session on Saturday night, hit every club well and drove the ball great.  I had so much confidence on that first tee Monday, but my driver disowned me.  All of a sudden I could not feel comfortable with it and it was spraying everywhere.  Hooked it on #1 and # 5, sliced it on #4 and #8….golf is such a cruel and frustrating game!!  I basically abandoned the driver on #9, only using it once the last 11 holes, but I did hit a good one with it when I hit it.  A tough day for me to swallow hitting only 2 FW’s all day…I have played so consistently well these past couple weeks, never shooting above +6 total in a month, but was +7 after only the first 8 holes on Monday!

My iron game was solid however, but back to the drawing board on my driver.  I need to get that on point consistently if I ever hope to reach scratch level.

Oak-North-Golf-Club-San-DiegoYesterday, Wednesday the 16th we played a quick round over at our local executive course Oaks North.  I really enjoy that course, it certainly tests your mid iron game.  Oaks is not one of those push over tiny exec courses, no par 3 is shorter than 134 at Oaks North.  My iron game continues to be solid, I started by sticking it to about 3 ft on #1 for a tap in birdie, but 3 putted the next two to go bogey, bogey.  Hit my tee shot under a tree on the par 4 5th and had no chance to reach the green, bogey 5.  Over drew the next tee shot into the water on the par 3 6th and made a bad double bogey 5.  So 4 over after the first 6 holes with a birdie on #1….was certainly frustrated again with my game and I could feel it affecting me negatively.  I forced myself to stay positive, forget about score and just try to execute each shot individually to the best of my ability.

I ended up shooting par over the remaining 12 holes, with 10 pars, 1 bogey and 1 birdie.  I Started to stand up a bit more at address with my putter and that seemed to help me with contact as I have been 3 putting a lot lately because of poor lag putting.  Lagged it pretty well, zero 3 putts and made some testy 2-3 footers for par on a few holes.

Overall a frustrating week so far, but that is golf!  I did hit a lot of good shots, so I’ll look to take the positives out of a bad scoring week and continue to work hard to improve my game.  Hopefully I can play one more time this week and I’ll update the stats later on this week.  Hope everyone has a Happy Easter on Sunday and shoot low if you play!