Posts Tagged ‘dreams’

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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Over the past couple months I haven’t been able to play as many rounds as I want.  Heading to the course alone and walking on to play as a single has always been something I would try to avoid.  I much prefer going out to play with friends, but as a result I’ve only been able to play only once every week and a half, 2 weeks and if I’m serious about getting to scratch I need to get out and play.  I can go to the range all I want, but nothing beats on course experience/practice.  My usual playing partner has been busy lately and with the time changes it now getting dark at 5, so our usual rounds at 2 or 3 o’clock are just not going to work.  I’ve made a decision this week to start putting in a serious amount of rounds and that will mean going out often by myself.  We all know how expensive golf is and we know that twilight rates are the way to go for anybody trying to save a little money.  With the time change, getting in a full 18 holes at a regulation course at twilight times are just not going to happen right now, so for the time being I’m going to take full advantage of my local executive course.  Tuesday and Wednesday this week I headed over to my local executive course Oaks North and got in some great on course time.  The great thing is that right at about 1o’clock, the start of the twilight rate, there is almost nobody there and I’m able to just get on the course and play solo.  Was all alone out there, just me, my clubs and my iPod.  Got in a lot of great work these past 2 days, was able to play 2 balls on just about every hole and played really well.

20131119_151555On Tuesday, I was only able to complete 13 holes before I had to head back because of darkness, but after 13 I was at even par.  Shot +2 on the front 9 and then on #11 a 235 yard par 4, I hit an amazing 5-wood to just over a foot.  The tees were all the way in the back, so I had calculated to the hole it was playing about 260 yards and just crushed a perfect 5-wood that landed amazingly softly and stopped about 2 ft from its pitch mark.  It’s always a great feeling to have a tap in eagle on a par 4 and that shot I’ll remember for a long time; of course I had to take a picture for evidence!  So that eagle got me back to even par for the day and I had pars on the last 2 and called it a day due to darkness.

On Wednesday, I sort of accomplished one of my big goals and that was to shoot an under par round of golf.  I was able to play 2 balls and kept stats for both.  However, my score with the first ball after all 18 holes was 4-under par!!  I say “sort of” accomplished my goal because obviously it was only on a Par 60 executive course and my main goal is to shoot under par on a regulation 18 holes course, but still under par is under par and 4 under anywhere is solid, I mean come on!  Unfortunately, with my 2nd ball I was only able to complete 16 holes because at holes #2 and #3, a person was behind me so I just played my 1st ball to speed up play and then allowed him to pass on hole #4.  After he passed, I went back to playing 2 balls.  For the 16 holes completed with ball #2, I was +3 w/ two 3-putts that cost me. I’ll post a picture of the scorecard from today, but I’ll write out the stats for my 4-under round because it might be hard to see.

Ball #1: Score: 56 (-4) FW: 4/6 GIR: 14/18 Putts: 30 Up and Down: 4/4

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Ball #2: (16 holes) Score: +3 FW: 3/4 GIR: 11/16 Putts: 30 Up and Down: 3/6

My iron play these past 2 days has been really solid; in total I hit 36 of 54 greens in regulation, a solid 66%.  Changed a few things in my putting setup this week and I’m gaining more and more confidence.  I can tell the ball is rolling off the club face a lot better and maintaining its line.  I hope to keep that momentum rolling going forward.

Unfortunately it is going to rain here for the next few days, so looks like any practice will most likely have to be indoors.  My hope is that it clears up by Saturday and that my friend and I can play a round, will update soon.

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It has almost been a month since I have updated this blog, I apologize for lack of content, but I haven’t been able to actually play many golf rounds in these past few weeks.  I have been going to the range a few times a week, but that is about all I have been doing, no real short game practice.  I have however, in the past week, had a serious breakthrough with my full swing.  I have talked about in previous posts that my miss in my golf swing tends to be that I become too “stuck” from the inside.  Getting stuck on the downswing produces inconsistent contact, mostly off the toe or thin and produces a block or pull ball flight.  I have known that this is my problem for a few months now and I have been working intently to correct it, but was not able to find a consistent fix.  I would analyze pro golfer swings on TV and the internet and then cross reference it with my own swing in the mirror and video.  I looked up numerous videos on how to fix getting too steep on the downswing, but nothing seemed to work.  It became a constant game of trial and error at the driving range…continually trying one fix and if it did not work, finding a new one in a few days and repeat.  Some would work for a few days or a week, hell I even won a large field tournament doing this a few months ago, but I knew that I was not comfortable with my swing.  I knew my mechanics were not sound and that I was relying solely on timing alone and that was not going to help me produce the consistent results I wanted.   If my timing was on for that day, I could hit the ball great, but ultimately my bad mechanics would catch up with me, cause inconsistent contact and then before you know it frustration sets in and I lose my swing all over again and feel lost.

Then a few weeks ago I stumbled upon a new video that was recently posted on YouTube called “how to stop getting stuck” I watched it and it all just clicked for me.   I have known the positions I was supposed to get into for months now, but just could not find a way to get the feeling.  This video broke down the downswing in the simplest way possible, basically just talking about feeling as though your back elbow stays in front of your shirt seam on the downswing.  It made a lot of sense to me and I noticed when going back and looking at pro golfers swings they all were doing the same.  I worked on the feeling in the mirror for a bit and then went to test it at the range…..haven’t hit the ball better in my whole life!  I even had groups of people at the range come up and stand behind me to watch.  Not only was my contact more consistent, but more importantly the quality of strikes was drastically better.  My accuracy improved tremendously and my swing felt free flowing and repeatable.  My new swing has held up so far over these past 2 weeks, some of my best range sessions ever and finally got to take my swing to the course yesterday where I shot a 76, hitting 7/14 FW’s (missed 3 by just a yard) and hit 11/18 greens.  My ball striking was great and my confidence is now riding at an all time high.  I should have shot better than 76, but my short game was terrible…haven’t been putting in the time needed on that front recently so that is expected to be a little rusty.  The great thing is that I do not have to worry about getting my elbow in front of my shirt seam or anything mechanical while I’m swinging; it is starting to get ingrained in my swing now from practice, almost second nature already.  It’s a great feeling when you can just go out and truly trust your swing when playing, not having to think about mechanics at all.  I have never really had that feeling of true trust on the course until yesterday and it felt great.

I’m still a long ways out from being scratch and in no way am I saying that I have solved the golf swing, but for me, I feel like I have made a major breakthrough and discovered a key to MY golf swing that I can go back to if needed to get consistent results.  I’m excited to keep fine tuning my swing over the next few months with my teacher, who I plan to see again in the next few weeks, as it’s been a good couple months.  Ultimately, I know that my short game is going to be the key to get me down to scratch and I intend to rededicate myself to more hours of practice on that front.  I’m still hopeful that I can reach my goal of shooting an under par round of golf by the end of this year and I know improving my short game is the only way I’m going to get there.  Also I’ll be updated this blog on a more consistent basis, no more 1 month breaks I promise!

EDIT: 11/11/13 I have been getting multiple requests to post the video where I saw the tip that helped me, so I will post it here, but please note like I said in the previous post and the reason why I really avoided posting it originally is that it helped me in finding a key feeling to MY swing that I had been searching for and it probably won’t apply to everyone.  Obviously there is no one golf swing fix, every swing is different and as others are at different stages of developing there own swings you need to see a PGA Professional to help diagnose the keys to your swing that you are missing.  These videos were free clips posted on a YouTube channel that I stumbled upon from the instructor Clay Ballard over at RotarySwing.com, so if you find it useful go check out his YouTube channel or website.

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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.**

Played a couple rounds so far this week and I’m pleased to say that I’ve been playing well.  With exactly 1 week left before I leave for my 3-day tournament in Palm Springs, I’m started to find my game.  Just been trying to trust my full swing and I changed my putting grip and it has given me more stability and the putts are coming off the face flush and straight down my target line.  I was pulling my shorter putts and I think it was because my left hand was shutting down the face… I have now regained my confidence from the 10ft and in range…and it’s starting to show, making a lot of them this week.

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Encinitas Ranch Golf Course 6,178 Par 70 Slope 129

Yesterday my buddy and I decided to head up north and play a different course than we normally do.  We both had played up here once before, but it had been like 10 years for me, so I only remembered 1 of the holes.  We played up at the Par 70 Encinitas Ranch Golf Course…a really nice track and we had a lot of fun.  They were doing some construction on the bunkers of #8 so they told us to skip that hole and that they had created a new short par 3 hole on the back.  So we skipped #8, but played a #11a and #11b….never seen this before, but it worked out well.   I shot even par on the front 9 and then we headed to the makeshift #11a, a short par 3 of 112 yards.  Hit a poor wedge that caught the bunker, lots of sand in the bunker and I couldn’t get it out on my first attempt.  Ended up making a horrible double bogey 5 on this short par 3.  For this round, I hit the ball relatively well except for about 3 or 4 shots that were really poor and cost me strokes, missed a few greens, with only wedges in my hand from the middle of the fairway….bogeyed both.  I finished the back 9 at +5, missed a great shot at birdie on 18, only about 7 ft, but all in all, I’m satisfied with this round…a solid 75 (+5).  Here is the scorecard….

Final Stats for round: Score: 75 (+5) Fairways Hit (FW) 6/13 46% Green in Regulation (GIR) 10/18 55% Up/Downs 2/6 33%. Sand Saves 0/2 0% Penalties: 0 Putts: 30

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Encinitas Ranch
Front 9 Scorecard

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Encinitas Ranch
Back 9 Scorecard

Carmel Mountain Ranch Country Club 6,252 Par 72 Slope 128

Carmel Mountain Ranch Country Club 6,252 Par 72 Slope 128

Today, I decided to get up early (6:00am) and try to get on Carmel Mountain for a quick round. I’m so glad that I did….was able to out by myself at 7:20 and played all alone until 15 when I linked up with a 3-some for our last 3 holes.  Played amazing today and tied my career low round of +1!  Carmel Mountain is a really difficult course, no doubt harder in my opinion than Vineyard, where I shot my other low round of +1 about a month ago.  Today was my best ball striking round ever and if it wasn’t for three 3-putts, I would have shot my under par round!!  I hit 9 fairways today and 2 were a foot away from the short stuff, my best driving performance.  I also and more importantly hit 15 greens in regulation and the three that I did miss were no more than 10 yards from the green.  I did however have three 3 putts and they cost me my lowest round ever, but overall I feel I putted well compared to how I have been and I’m certainly improving tremendously in that department.   My final two 3 putts were a result of rushing myself, the first because a group was waiting behind me and I rushed my 2nd putt.

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View From 10th Hole Par 5 Fairway at Carmel Mountain Ranch

The final was bad, it was on the Par 5 15th….I crushed my tee shot down the middle and the group in front was just hitting up to the green, they yelled at me to just join them, so I went for the green in 2.  Hit a perfect hybrid to just 15 ft for eagle!  When I went to putt for my eagle, I kind of started to think negative thoughts about how I didn’t want to mess it up with these new people watching me and after they just watched me hit a great shot….my putt burned the edge, but I gave it way too much juice and it ran about 6 ft by, where I promptly missed the comebacker to 3 putt the Par 5 for par…ouch.
So yea I let some opportunities slip by today, but I’m not going to dwell on those, I know now that I truly do have the ability to shoot under par, it’s just a matter of time.  If I keep giving myself these chances, it will happen.  I’m really excited that I was able to shoot my career low today and only a week before the tournament I’ve been thinking about for a year now.  I’m going to head to Palm Springs with a positive mindset, relaxed and looking to have a great time and play some great golf.  My goal is to break 80 each day, but I’m really hoping to score low and make a run at winning it.

Will hopefully be playing this weekend and Monday/Wednesday before leaving on Thursday….let’s keep this momentum rolling!

Final Stats for round: Score: 73 (+1) Fairways Hit (FW) 9/14 64% Green in Regulation (GIR) 15/18 83% Up/Downs 3/3 100%. Sand Saves 0/1 0% Penalties: 0 Putts: 35

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Front 9 Scorecard

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Back 9 Scorecard

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Played at Oaks North on Monday, the executive course that plays at a Par 6…shot a 63 (+3) with 2 penalties off the tee.  Like I stated in my previous post, I have been spending this week focusing on my swing plane and trying to get it into the correct position to help produce more consistent shots.  I really feel like I am starting to figure it out, I hit 13 of 18 greens.  On Wednesday, played over at the Vineyard and shot a disappointing 79 (+9).  I actually continued to strike the ball very well and accurate, I only hit 7 greens, but had about 5 that were just on the fringes.  I shot a 79 because of my short game, missed 4 putts from 3 feet and did not make a single birdie.  Putting continues to be my achilles heel, just don’t feel confident.  My lag putting is improving, but the shorter putts I’m just not hitting them with the confidence needed to make them right now.

Went to the range last night to keep working on my swing plane and I hit the ball great, I’m starting to get to that point that I have been working towards where I can just swing confidently and not have to think about my mechanics.  I finally found the correct feeling you need to have to get the club coming down on the correct plane and not too steep and I’m starting to groove the ball.  I hope to play again on Saturday or Sunday, trying to get that set up right now, but if not, then I’ll just keep practicing my short game for my upcoming rounds on Monday and Wednesday.  2 weeks until the Palm Springs Tournament, I’m so happy that I’m starting to get my game in order to compete there, if I can find my putting, watch out.

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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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