Sunday, December 11, 2011
Monday, December 5, 2011
For the past five weeks, I have really been putting a lot of work into my golf game and have been pleased to feel some noticeable progress. Most of that work, however, had been done either on the practice facilities or on the golf course be myself. In the past five days, I have had three really competitive days of golf with some great matches here in East Tennessee. My game has looked and felt pretty darn good on all three occasions, and I am pumped with how I am playing.
The first two of those matches were at Holston Hills Country Club. Last Thursday, I drove the ball fairly well, was a little shaky with my irons, but putted well and shot a two under par to help my partner and I win a couple friendly bets in our group. Playing in a bigger match on Friday, I was much better. I drove the ball very solidly and was pretty good with my irons and wedges, too. Another solid putting performance resulted in a five-under-par round and a successful outcome to the match. A good weekend of practice, including a nice session with Bobbo during which he confirmed that things are looking good, had me ready for more action on Monday. Playing in a large group at Oak Ridge Country Club on a blustery day, I played very solidly. I got a little bit loose with the driver at times and had a major short-game gaffe to bogey a par-five on which I had a straightforward pitch shot for an eagle, but I still managed a three-under-par round and again helped my team come out on the correct side of the match.
My game felt effortlessly good in all three matches. I have a lot work to do in order to improve and ingrain the changes I am making, but I am really feeling good about my progress. The forecast isn't great for the next few days, but I will definitely get in more good work and continue to move in the right direction. Keep it here for more practice reports soon. Thank you for keeping up with me!
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
The Malnati Thanksgiving was a huge success in Maryland with my Dad's parents. Good times with great people and of course great food made for an extremely good week, and the fact that we had perfect weather only added to that. I spent more time with a frisbee in my hand than a golf club, but I was able to practice a little bit (see my driving range in the picture above!) and also stayed very much on top of my fitness work. Thanksgiving week was extremely enjoyable but still productive in terms of my progress with golf, so I'm feeling great.
My driving range at my grandparent's house was pretty darn cool. Each day I would launch shots from their yard into the river nearly 100ft below. It was fun to hit a variety of shots from that high vantage point because the ball would stay in the air forever and its curvature was exaggerated. Between hitting balls that way and chipping around the yard, I really did get in some good practice.
I am also excited by how fit I feel that I am becoming. Both my runs and my strength training are getting more demanding, but my body is responding beautifully. I knocked out a 7.1 mile run in less than 50 minutes on Thanksgiving morning. I had to make room for all the Turkey!
On Sunday morning, I had my meeting with Dr. Eric Hegedus in North Carolina to talk about my fitness and ensure that the work I am doing is contributing to improved golf performance. The results were great. The most resounding message that I took from our meeting is that the things that I am currently doing are working. That was encouraging to hear, but we also pinpointed a couple of weak areas on which I can work. A loose right shoulder (lingering effect from a college injury) and poor internal hip rotation were the two major physical weaknesses that I can improve with some added exercises and stretching, but Dr.Hegedus also thinks that I can become more efficient in my golf swing by implementing a slight change in posture. I have always hyper-extended my back a little bit over the golf ball, and by relaxing my lower back a little but at address, I might be able to turn more effectively. I am excited to get to work on a couple of new things, and equally excited to have confirmation that the things I have been doing are working.
I definitely feel like I am improving in a lot of ways right now, and I'm excited to keep that going. I'm back home for a few days, so I should have some good practice and at least a couple of good matches to tell you about in the next few days. Keep it here for more progress reports. Thank you for following!
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
My excursion out to Kansas City has gone perfectly so far. My friend Bud Reynolds was successfully married yesterday in a great ceremony that capped off three nights of fun wedding preparation. That was great because I was able to meet some new friends and also reconnect with some very good friends from my past. In addition to the wedding and wedding prep, my days here in KC have also been extremely productive. Good weather and a great place to practice have allowed me to make some big steps forward in my golf game. I have been able to stay on top of my fitness work, too, so I am feeling good all-around. The last four days have been great!
On Wednesday and Thursday, I practiced hard both days without playing any golf on the course. I have always preferred to practice on the course, but I think I needed to have a couple of good range sessions, and I really have seen strong improvements from my mid-week work. In addition to the driving range, I was also fortunate enough to have a world-class short game area at my disposal, and I spent hours working on my wedge play, chipping, and bunker play. I feel awesome about the work that I did, and the benefits really showed the last two days. On Friday and Saturday I played with some friends at Indian Hills Country Club, and despite gusty winds, all areas of my game looked good both days. On Saturday, with winds gusting from 25 to 35 mph, I shot even-par 70 on a fairly tough golf course even with a brain-slip triple bogey on a hole. I really played well and felt great about my game!
Things have gone very well so far on this trip, and I am looking forward to more fun and productivity in the next few days. Keep it here for another update from KC soon!
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Just kidding about all that. I have been in our nation's capitol for the past three days, put politics haven't been on my mind. I have soaked up some great time with my family and found quite a bit of time to keep working on my golf game. A spirited day of golf with my friends from the Jackson Clinics (my sister, Dr. Laura Malnati's employer) kept me busy on Saturday at Evergreen Country Club. I was able to get in some more good work with a nice practice session on Sunday. I haven't missed a beat with my workouts, either. Two great morning runs--including one over the Potomac River in D.C. this morning--and an awesome workout with my sister have me continuing to feel good about my fitness. All-in-all, I've had very productive and fun days here in the D.C. area with my family. I'm heading to Kansas City today, and need to keep up my good work. I feel great about the direction that my golf game is heading, but I need to have some good practice to solidify the work I've been doing and gain some consistency. I'm well on my way though. Keep it here for news from Kansas City!
The pictures above are:
My sister, Laura, at Evergreen Country Club & my sister, Gina, with my nephew, Isaac (almost 5) and my niece, Abigail (almost 3). I also have a 13 month old niece, but she was in bed at picture time.
Friday, November 11, 2011
I have done a lot of good work this week. I have had very well-rounded practice sessions and have also played quite a bit of golf. Solid morning workouts have me feeling more fit and flexible. I feel great all-around and am excited to keep working on it.
Bobbo and I worked together a couple of times this week to see if some of the changes we have talked about are taking hold, and we both think that I'm on the right track. I'm trying to add a little bit of width to my backswing and get my lower body, rather than my arms, to start my downswing. The new position at the top of my backswing still feels a little awkward and causes some inconsistencies, but when I get it right, I hit shots that are even better than my good ones used to be. I feel more and more comfortable every day, and I'm really excited about the potential I see from my ball-striking.
Perhaps even more exciting are the great results I've been seeing from my short-game work. I'm not trying to change anything with my technique around the greens, I'm just making practicing my chipping, pitching, and bunker play an everyday priority, and it is cool to see how quickly my execution and touch have improved on all sorts of shots near the greens.
After a lot of holes played by myself and a lot of time spent practicing early in the week, I had a fun match on Thursday. Playing a course called Ruggles Ferry with a friend of mine named Jonathon Hodge, I put my work to the test under a little competition. I definitely hit a lot of shots where I looked uncomfortable, but I also hit some really good shots. I ended up shooting two under par and tying my buddy in the match. While neither of those results thrill me, I am very happy with a lot of the shots that I hit and a few putts that I made when I needed to. My game felt good, and I know that it will only be improving.
Right now I'm on the road with my family. I will be a bit of a traveling man for the next couple weeks as I'm heading to Washington D.C. right now for a four day stay with my sister before flying from D.C. to Kansas City to be in an old friend's wedding. After that, I will fly back to D.C. for Thanksgiving with my Dad's parents in Maryland. I'm excited to spend some time with some very cool people, but also am pumped to play and practice in some new places. I am going to keep getting better, and my travels are not going to slow that down.
Everything is going well, and I am feeling good. Keep it here for reports from D.C. and Kansas City. There should be great times and good practice. I'll keep you updated!
Sunday, November 6, 2011
This past Monday was the first day of my 2012 golf season, and I am off to a great start. I have gotten in good work on all areas of my game and have also been stepping up the intensity of my workouts. I am doing a few new things on and off the course, too, and am excited about how good things are feeling. I am going to improve over these fall and winter months!
I have already been working on a few new things. First of all, I've been working on my putting stroke. I have always tried hard to steer clear of any mechanical thoughts with my putting, but the truth of the matter is that despite solid putting all year, I have struggled on and off with getting the putter coming too far to the inside on my backstroke. I practice enough to putt pretty well even when that bad tendency creeps into my stroke, but I know that fixing that flaw will make my putting even better and more consistent. The picture at the top of this post is the drill that I've set up in the living room at home, and though it looks complicated, it's actually a very simple way to make sure that my alignment and stroke are both right where I want them to be with my putter. I have already seen good results from this work on the course and am excited to keep working on it.
Bobbo and I have also done some work this week. I definitely don't like to get technical with my swing, but Bobbo thinks that by adding a little width to my backswing and getting my hands farther from my head at the top of my swing, I can pick up a few more yards and a little more ball-striking consistency. The change led to a day and a half of frustrating practice, but it is already feeling great, and I think Bobbo is right.
Off of the course, I have added a little bit of yoga to my fitness routine, too, and it is feeling great. The weekend after Thanksgiving I am going to see a physical therapist who is also a personal trainer that studies the golf swing and helps golfers maximize their fitness work. I feel like I am pretty good at working towards being strong, fit, and flexible, but I'm hopeful that my visit with this physical therapist will help me create workouts that directly translate to better golf. I'll update you for sure after that meeting, but for now, I'm going to work really hard at strength training, running, and stretching.
I feel great right now because I really feel like I am getting better. I am excited to keep working. Thank you for following me, and I hope that you will stay with me this fall and winter as I continue to improve!
Thursday, November 3, 2011
It has been a while since my last post, and a lot of good stuff has gone on in that time. I'll try to give you a little highlight reel to catch you up on what's been happening since my disappointing early exit from PGA TOUR Q-school. My family and I spent the entire week after Q-school enjoying each other's company and doing some of our favorite things together. Two incredible hikes in the Smokey Mountains and a lot of frisbee golf were just a couple of the activities that contributed to an awesome week off from real golf. The combination of that week off and the disappointing way that my 2011 season ended now has me as motivated as ever to work hard and get better. When I went to bed this past Sunday night, I told myself that Monday was the first day of my 2012 season. I have been hard at work since then on my fitness and my golf game and feel great about things.
I have improved greatly over the past few years, but I know that a thorough off-season of work will have me ready to break through in a big way next year. I feel great and am as excited as ever about the big possibilities that are ahead of me!
I know that off-season work may not be the most thrilling thing to read about on here, but I've got some exciting ideas of ways to get better this winter, and I'm going to do a good job of keeping my blog updated as I improve.
Also, I'm going to start including more pictures with my posts. Enjoy a couple of pictures from our hikes in the Great Smokey Mountains for now, and look forward to more good stuff as I improve this fall/winter!
Friday, October 21, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Friday, September 30, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
I had a great day of practice on Saturday following the Missouri Open. I wrapped up all of my process goals for the week, and feel awesome about the work I did on my putting. My wedge play has continued to feel good, but I know that I can further sharpen that aspect of my game if I keep working on it. Everything is feeling good, and I am still very much enjoying playing and practicing, so I am excited.
I drove home on Sunday and am getting ready to leave tomorrow morning for Charlottesville, Virginia, and this week's Egolf "Fall Series" tournament. The tournament begins Wednesday morning and is at a great golf course--Spring Creek Golf Club. I will get up there in time to play a quick practice round on Tuesday afternoon. I like that golf course a lot and am ready to have a great week on the Egolf Tour.
Next week, the Nationwide Tour comes to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and I will most certainly be playing in the Monday Qualifier. That is an exciting opportunity for me because I really like city of Chattanooga and am comfortable on the qualifying course and the tournament course.
I'm excited to keep playing well and to continue getting better. I still feel like great things are coming! Keep it here for me news and for updates from the Egolf tournament in Charlottesville.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Friday, September 9, 2011
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Sunday, September 4, 2011
I will start this week with a couple more good days of practice before I take off for the Nebraska Open on Wednesday. I will compete in a Thursday pro-am prior to Friday's first round. I obviously have great memories from last year's Nebraska Open, and I think that I can repeat! Keep it here for updates as I work towards doing just that!
Friday, September 2, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
To miss an event that is so close to my beautiful home and one in which I had great success last year makes this the most disappointing missed qualifier I have experienced. On the flip side, the manner in which I came so close today leaves me feeling as optimistic as ever about my game. I was packed with nervous energy this morning at the beginning of my round, but I did a great job channeling that energy and focusing on each shot. My execution was great, but unfortunately, I was a little too "amped" and had trouble controlling my distances over the first few holes. A terrible first putt on the third hole resulted in a three-putt bogey from just 30 feet away before an inexplicably long seven-iron approach from the fairway sailed over the fifth green leaving a tough up-and-down and resulting in a second bogey. I was two over par through five holes, but felt like I was executing well. From that point on, my golf was nearly flawless. Despite a couple of missed opportunities on the greens and two disappointing pars on back-to-back par 5's at numbers 9 and 10, I birdied six of the final 13 holes and made no bogeys in the stretch to post a four-under-par round of 67. At the end of the day, it worked out that exactly seven players shot 66 or better, so I was once again left on the outside, but I am extremely proud of my performance today.
Coming down the stretch, I knew my back was against the wall, but I also knew that I was executing well enough to make something great happen, and I almost did. I was just one under for my round heading to number 15. A great up-and-down for birdie at the par-5 15th preceded an aggressive tee shot down the watery 16th fairway to set up a short-iron approach and another birdie. A solid drive and a very good 8-iron approach into the 17th left me with a 20-foot putt from directly behind the hole, but a well-hit putt missed high of the hole. I went to the 450-ish yard 18th hole determined that I was going to make a two. A perfect drive took advantage of the wind at my back and got me to within 130 yards of green. Facing an uphill approach, I launched a pitching wedge up into the wind right at the flag. When I climbed the hill to the green, my ball was sitting four feet directly behind the hole. A great putt found the hole and capped off my round. It was so great to execute well down the stretch. My game is great, and I am ready for great things to happen.
This one hurts; there is no doubt about that, but I am going to have a strong week of practice this week and be ready for whatever is coming up next. I need a night to process some things in order to come up with a good plan moving forward, but I will come back in a day or two with an update of where I'll be heading next. Something good is coming in the near future, and I can't wait to make it happen and then share it with all of you! Thank you so much for your support and encouragement!
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Tomorrow is the Monday Qualifier for this year's Knoxville Open on the Nationwide Tour. I had a lot of success in that event last year, and am hopeful that I will get the chance to build on that success this year. I tee off at 10:00 o'clock tomorrow morning at Willow Creek Golf Club in the qualifier. I have played Willow Creek before, but, having not seen it in four or five years, I played a practice round on Saturday to refresh my memory. I am comfortable on that course. I know it will take a good round to qualify tomorrow, but I believe that I am prepared to play great. It will be very important that I stay in the present and do a good job of committing to each shot tomorrow, but I know that I am ready to do that. It should be a great day. Come back to hear all about it after the round!
Friday, August 19, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Friday, August 5, 2011
Tomorrow will be a lot of fun. Though I have been playing very solid golf of late, tomorrow is the first time that I will be in the final pairing of an Egolf tournament. I currently sit alone in 2nd place, just one shot behind the leader. I'm sure that I will have some nerves tomorrow, but I feel very confident in my game right now. I have not had my "A" stuff this week but have been able to piece together some good rounds anyway. If I can get something to "click," tomorrow could be a special day. If I continue to struggle a little bit, I will draw on the experience I gained from today's struggles to help me persevere and post another good round anyway. I truly think I'm ready to play well.
Sticking to my routine will be the most important part of my plan for tomorrow. I know that I will probably face some sort of adversity during the final round, but I also know that if I form a solid game plan for every shot and then commit to it and execute fearlessly, I can play a great round. I will do that on every shot tomorrow! It's going to be a great day. Come back to hear all about it tomorrow evening. Thank you for following me!
Thursday, August 4, 2011
My game has been a little bit off the first two rounds, but I have done a great job of staying positive and holding it together. My putting feels good even though I have missed a few short-ish putts, and I am confident that with a stronger level of committment, my ball-striking will get back into sharp form. I had a good practice session this afternoon and really feel ready to have a strong weekend performance.
I tee it up at 7:50 tomorrow in the third round and am looking forward to a great day. Come back to hear all about it!
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