Posts Tagged ‘hard work’

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.   

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!   

5307917592_916b56c7d1_zI finally got to actually play a golf round!  Been battling a sore back for the past week, but this past Thursday, I met up with a couple friends and we played a round over at Riverwalk golf club.  Not having been able to actually play in 2 weeks, I didn’t come in with high expectations, but maybe that was a good thing because after the first tee shot, I knew it was going to be a good day.  I ended up shooting a 77(+5).  My long game was locked in and I hit a total of 11 out of 14 fairways!  I only hit 9 of 18 greens, but never missed a green by much and 5 of them missed just short either because of spinning off the front or a misjudging of the wind.  I account that to not playing much over the past couple months, as being able to accurately judge the wind is something that starts to get dialed in the more and more you play.

Nevertheless, I did hit a lot of close iron shots, but my putting continues to be my Achilles’ heel and I was not able to make many birdies.  Despite having multiple great looks from inside 10ft, the only birdie putt I did make on the day was from about 40ft.  Golf is a funny game and it always seems like the putts that have little chance of going in actually go in and the makeable ones slip by….at least for me lately.  I think that just comes down to the idea of having no expectations.  Dave Stockton calls it going “unconscious” when putting and it’s something that I’m working on getting better at doing.

I know I need to become less result oriented when it comes to my putting and just try to keep my same routine and put a solid roll on the ball.  If I can do that, then I’ll make my fair share of putts.  I’ve been trying to just pick a spot 1 inch in front of my ball on my line and roll the ball over that spot.  It’s hard to miss a spot 1 inch in front of the ball, so it allows me to put more emphasis on the speed of the putt.  I find my mind freed up with longer putts, but I still catch myself over thinking and steering closer putts or ones I feel I “should” be making, especially for birdie.  I’m getting better at it however and if I keep working hard on getting to a point where I can go “unconscious” on the greens, I know that’s going to give me the best chance to start going low.

Final stats for the round:

unnamedRiverwalk Presidio/Mission 6,550yards 71.7 126

Score: 77(+5) FW: 10/14 GIR: 9/18 Putts: 32 U/Down: 4/8 San Save: 0/1 Penalties: 0

{FB92BDB3-BAF4-4835-8600-54D48EF1F23A}mcilroy_abudhabi13_cameronputter_610_0Here is just a quick review of my latest golf rounds over the past 2 weeks.  Unfortunately, I didn’t play my best golf and my scores are a reflection of that…I had a lot of great shots over these 3 rounds, but couldn’t avoid sprinkling in some large numbers.  I had two triple bogey 6s on two different par 3s during these rounds, very uncharacteristic for how I’ve been playing lately, but I just left myself in some absolutely terrible spots on the holes and it cost me.

I’ve been working on the plane of my swing over the past couple weeks as I mentioned in my previous post and I’m still working on being able to repeat it consistently.  When I get it right, I hit the ball better than I ever have before, just perfect contact, height and ball flight, exactly what I’ve been searching for.  But in working on this change, I have a tendency to leave the face slightly open on impact, blocking shots to the left.  I’m not doing it too often, but often enough to seriously affect my scores right now.  My contact is a lot more consistent with this swing change, I’m just going to keep grinding and we’ll see how it goes in the next few weeks.

My putting continues to be a struggle however and it is the part of my game that is costing me the most strokes right now.  My short putting has been solid, but it is my lag putting that is just killing me.  I can’t get the long putt speed right with this heavier weight in my putter right now.  I had 3 3-putts at Riverwalk, 4 at Vineyard and 1 at Doubletree…this just can’t continue to happen.  31-35 putts a round is unacceptable in my opinion.  Shooting (+4) or (+5) with 35 putts is ridiculous…I’m hitting enough fairways and greens to be shooting under par consistently, if I could only get my putts to 27-30 a round.  I will get there eventually, it might feel impossible to me right now, but I know that it is possible to do it, so I’m just going to keep telling myself that it’s possible.  I’ll have to start spending more time on the putting green with longer putts…I can do this! 

So here are the round stats for these past 2 weeks, hopefully I’ll get out a few times this week.       

10/8/14 The Vineyard Golf Course 6,531 Yards Par 70 (Blue: 71.0/126)

Score: 75(+5) FW: 9/14 GIR: 13/18 Putts: 35 Up/Down: 1/2 Sand Save: 1/1 Penalties: 1

10/9/14 Carmel Highlands Doubletree: Par 72 71.4/129 6,428 Yards

Score: 81(+9) FW: 6/15 GIR: 8/19 Putts: 31 U/Down: 5/10 San Save: 0/1 Penalties: 1

10/1/14 Riverwalk Friars/Presidio 6,627yards 71.9 128

Score: 78 (+6) FW: 5/14 GIR: 12/18 Putts: 35 Up/Down: 3/5 Sand Saves: 0/2 Penalties: 1

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.

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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.

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