Posts Tagged ‘lesson’

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!

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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.

 

 

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

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7/21/14

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

Score: 69(-1) FW: 12/14 GIR: 12/18 Putts: 29 Up/Down: 7/8 Sand Save: 0/0 Penalties: 0

My 2nd under par round!! Feels great to validate my first under par round a few weeks ago and I’m happy about how mentally focused I stayed all day.  Golf is a funny game, even though I played really well last week too, my range sessions on Thursday and Sunday night this week were terrible in my opinion.  I just couldn’t feel comfortable and wasn’t hitting many shots out the center of the face.  I was getting really frustrated with myself, as I always seem to do on the range as of late.  I see how well I’m hitting it and scoring when I’m playing rounds, but for some reason I can’t stay consistent and repeat it on the range.  Don’t get me wrong, I would much rather have it be the way it is than the other way around, but it is slightly frustrating.

Anyway, needless to say, I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my ball striking going into my round today.  I just wanted to focus on the mental aspect of my game, making sure that I went through my pre shot routine on ever shot, visualized my target and how I wanted the shot to come off and try to play unconscious golf.  I tend to get extremely mechanical on the range a lot of the time, but when I’m on the course, I’m just trying to play without any conscious thought and it really does free up my swing.  I’ve been working a lot of my mental side lately and the idea of acceptance of outcomes.

I had it at 3 under with no bogeys through the first 13 holes, but bogeyed the 14th from the fairway with only a SW in hand and 3 putted 17 for a bogey after missed a 2ft par putt.  So Disappointing finish, but I played really great and I’m happy that I could keep it at under for the round!

7/22/14

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

Score: 58(-2) FW: 3/6 GIR: 10/18 Putts: 26 Up/Down: 7/10 Sand Saves: 1/1 Penalties: 0

Played Oaks North today, finished at 2 under 58 for the day.  I hit my irons well all day, but my putting and driving were way off.  Missed a bunch of great birdie opportunities, that’s nothing new, but I basically hooked every one of the 6 tee shots with 3 or 5 woods on the par 4s.  I seem to have lost it off the tee today where that has been a big bright spot for my game over the last 2 months consistently, so that is kind of scary.  I still ended up getting an eagle on one of the par 4s on the back, I pulled the drive, but chipped it in from right of the green!  Back to back rounds I have chipped one in, yesterday I chipped in for a birdie at the 5th and today for eagle.

I’m still missing way too many short putts, ones that are pretty straight too.  My ball is just not starting off on line and the troubling thing it is a 2 way miss, some I’ll push others I’ll pull…I need to fix this fast before my tournament in 3 weeks.

7/23/14

Woods Valley Golf Club Par 72 6,670 Yards 72.2/131

Score: 79(+7) FW: 7/14 GIR: 11/18 Putts: 36 Up/Down: 2/7 Sand Saves: 0/0 Penalties: 2

Got a couple friends together and we decided to go up to Woods Valley again and play this challenging course.  I played absolutely terrible, just did not feel comfortable all day with my stance, grip, alignment or putting.  Shot a (+7) 79 with 4 3-putts!! That’s right, FOUR 3-putts, all less than 3 ft misses.  I’ve been trying to work on my mental game and stay as positive as I can, but I just can’t when I’m missing seemingly every 3 ft putt I look at.  Despite poor shot making and putting, I was only 3 over after 9 holes, but then I promptly 3 putted the 10th from about 20ft and then 3 putted for par on the par 5 11th after hitting 2 quality shots and being only 15ft for eagle!!  That just broke me mentally and I was basically done for the rest of the round

Despite the real bad day, I’m going to keep believing in myself and working hard.  I’m focused on playing well and trying to shoot an under par round at the Palm Springs tournament in mid August.  I need to keep working to improve my mental and short game if I’m going to make that happen.  Probably won’t be able to play again until Monday, so I have 4 days to practice and improve from Wednesdays round.

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

 

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Over the past 5 months since my tournament win, my golf game could be accurately described as a roller coaster ride…the ups and downs interchanging about every 2-3 weeks with only one half of my game playing well at any given time.  If my driving and iron play was descent one round, my short game and putting would be terrible, the next round the opposite would be true.  I have tried months where I only focus on the mental game, visualization and not swing mechanics with variable success.  My confidence could be at an all time high after ball striking well for a week, but if I hit a few bad shots in a row, my confidence drops close to 0% and before you know it, I’m lost.   It had been over 5 months since I last went in for a lesson with my coach and I could feel that I was falling back into my old habits.  I tried to go at this alone for the past few months thinking I could keep building on my successes and that was mistake.  I had no basis for what I was doing correctly or wrong in my swing, if I started to lose my swing, I had nothing to revert back to that I knew was correct.  I was essentially playing blindly these past few months with no stable base, so I was much over due for a lesson and boy I’m glad I went and did it.

Took the lesson with my teacher Justin Hicks over at Stadium Golf Center in San Diego yesterday the 31st and my improvement was almost immediate.  We found that I had indeed reverted back to my old habits of setting up with my feet and shoulders open to the target with my club faced closed.  The ball position was slightly too far back and was one of the causes to my ball starting out left (I’m lefty) of my intended target line.  Also I was back to shifting my body too far forward in the downswing.  It is funny how to me setting up square to the target line feels extremely closed at address because I’m so used to thinking my old stance (that was actually open) was square.  This is going to take a few range sessions to get used to, but soon it will become normal.  I am already hitting the ball so much better and I’m really excited to have a foundation now that I can build and improve upon.  I’m eager to get out and play with my new swing, but it will have to wait a few days because the forecast here is calling for rain the next 2 days, so won’t be able to get out and play until Tuesday/Wednesday.   My teacher made a video recap of my lesson with him that you can watch here below.  I have also linked his website under his name for anybody who would like to check out his site, I highly recommend him as a teacher if you are in the San Diego area.