Sunday, January 29, 2012

Quick (But Good) Week-end Report

It took an intense Sunday afternoon on the practice facilities at the University of Georgia Golf Course, but for the second consecutive week, I have completed all of my process goals. I am very happy with how much better I am putting the ball right now than I was three weeks ago, and my short game has improved dramatically as well. Great putting greens and short game areas at the UGA Course made for some challenging chipping and putting drills this weekend, but I was able to persevere and achieve my objectives. I was also very thorough with my fitness work again this week and continue to feel great physically. It was a great week all around, and I am very excited as I enter my final two weeks of preparation before heading to Hilton Head Island to kick off my 2012 campaign.

I will continue to work towards achieving all of my process goals in the next two weeks, but I am also going to try to add more days of semi-competitive matches with my friends to further prepare my game for tournament conditions. I feel ready now, but I know that more preparation and playing more good rounds against my buddies will have me ready to put my very best foot forward when I tee it up in two weeks. Thank you for following, and keep it here for more updates along the way!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Great Work at Dandridge Golf Course

This picture may not do it justice, but Dandridge Golf Course sits on one of the most beautiful pieces of land that I have ever seen for a golf course. Though the weather attempts to hide the beauty in this photo, the clouds sort of add to the mystique of the place. In addition to being the place where I first learned to play golf, it is still one of the most valuable places in my rotation of courses on which I practice. I am able to work on all aspects of my game at Dandridge, but I find that I have some of my very best short game and wedge sessions there. I have spent three full days at Dandridge this week and have really done a lot great work around the greens. I am fortunate to have a lot of really great "offices," but Dandridge Golf Course is where it all began.

I feel really good about the week that I have had so far. My fitness work has continued to be great, and I've gotten in a lot of really good practice as well. In addition to the great short game work I've been doing at Dandridge, I have also seen my ball-striking improve quite a bit in the past couple days. I feel really good about the progress by game is making.

I am in Athens, Georgia, right now to spend some time this weekend with my sweetheart, Miss Alicia. Though I will enjoy some time with her, I will still be working hard these next couple days in Athens. I am ahead of pace with my progress goals for the week, but I still have some work to do this weekend to finish them all. The weather forecast is good, though, and I have some practice facilities at my disposal down here, so I will get them all done!

Things are feeling great! It's going to be a good and productive weekend. Come back for a full summary on sunday evening!

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Valuable Day

I am smart enough to know that not everything about my game is going to feel right or be sharp every day, but as my practice sessions continue to get better and better, I sort of forget that and expect that my performance should be effortless all the time. On Tuesday, I had a great match and it taught (more accurately, reminded) me of some valuable lessons. After a hot start saw me jump out to a big lead, I leveled off quite a big during the middle of the round. I wasn't hitting terrible shots, but I wasn't doing anything particularly well, either, and my opponents were creeping back into the match. My level of calm was definitely affected, and I felt myself start to press a little bit. I was trying too hard to make something happen, and in turn hit a few poor shots which added to my frustration and made me try even harder. Fortunately, all the hard work I have done on my putting really payed off down the stretch as I was able to make a very difficult six footer for birdie on the 16th hole and followed it up by making another downhill sliding four-foot putt on the 17th. I held on for a good victory, but more importantly, the match helped to drive home a lesson that I need to remember: I am not going to hit great shots all the time, but if I can stay relaxed through the average and poor shots, I will get back to hitting good ones much sooner. I know that I am good enough to achieve good results even if all aspects of my game are not clicking perfectly (this match was a good example of that), but I need to be able to stay calm and positive through some adversity for this to be true. With that said, my attitude is one of my greatest assets, and having this valuable reminder in my "pre-season" will help me be better this year.

In addition to the Tuesday match, it has been a good week of practice so far. My ball-striking has been just so-so the past few days, but a good session with Bobbo yesterday morning showed me that everything is still looking good. I am hitting enough good shots to let me know that I am doing the right things; I just need to continue to practice to develop a little more consistency with my ball-striking. My short game and putting are continuing to improve, and I am very excited about the work that I am doing on those areas of my game. My practice is definitely yielding strong positive results, so I am pumped to keep working!

Everything is going well, and my game is really feeling good. If I can combine the hard work I've done on my physical skills with a great attitude, I know that very good things are in my future. Keep it here for more practice reports as I get ready to take 2012 by storm! It is tournament time in less than three weeks!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Great Week of Work

I don't have anything huge to report from the weekend, but a solid afternoon of practice on Saturday and a very good day of work on Sunday helped me wrap up a great week and allowed me to finish all of my process goals. My goals definitely require that my practice is very focused and purpose-driven, and I feel a great sense of accomplishment for completing all of them this week. My putting has improved dramatically in the past ten days, and my short game is feeling great, too. In addition, my ball-striking has been decent at worst and trending upward, so I am excited. Off of the course, my work on my fitness has continued to be very good, and I am feeling as fit and flexible as I have ever been. Knowing that I have worked hard to get and keep myself in great shape is another piece of the puzzle that has me feeling extremely confident that I can handle any challenges that come my way this year.

My practice has been solid, my fitness level is very high, and consequently, my performance has been very promising. In three matches this week, I played two great rounds and battled through one tough round to shoot even par in some tough conditions. My game feels tournament-ready right now, but I know that a couple more weeks of solid preparation will have me ready to go out and get after my "outcome goals" when the Egolf Tour gets started February 15 on Hilton Head Island. Keep it here for more news and practice reports. Thank you for following and for your support!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Plenty of Reasons to SMILE

My fifth “process goal” for this year reads like this: “SMILE—Stay relaxed and enjoy both the struggles and the triumphs.” Unlike the rest of my process goals, this is a hard thing to quantify, but I truly believe that sticking to this goal is one of the most important things that I must do to be successful. On a very small scale, I got a taste of that reality this week. After playing great in a match on Tuesday afternoon, I was feeling like my practice was really working and that I was invincible. Then on Wednesday, I got to the course early for some practice before another match and was just a little bit off. There was nothing too severely wrong, but I just was a little bit off with all aspects of my game and struggled to an even-par round of 72 that afternoon. (My opponent took advantage of my off day and rolled in a 15-foot putt on the last hole to clip me by one.) On Thursday I planned to have a very thorough afternoon of practice, but once again, when I got to the golf course, my game was a little bit off. I remembered my fifth process goal and became determined to enjoy a good practice session. By the end of the day, I had really improved the way I was feeling about my ball-striking and had completed a great hour of short game work and had nailed my three-foot putt drill on my first attempt. It was a triumphant day of practice, but I was only able to achieve it by choosing to enjoy the challenges presented by a tough day-and-a-half of practice rather than letting them frustrate me. I know that this is a very small-scale example, but it really did prove to me the importance of adhering to my fifth process goal. If I can display this kind of attitude throughout the year, I know that I will have a great season.

Oh yeah, and I should mention that my good day of practice on Thursday translated into a pretty good performance on Friday. Playing in a “big game” at Holston Hills, I hit the ball beautifully and made ten birdies on my way toan eight-under-par round of 64. I won my match and helped my team win the game. It was pretty cool!

In other news, I have got some new sticks in the bag now as I enter the final weeks of preparation for my 2012 competitive schedule. There are no dramatic changes as I was very happy with the work that Titleist and I did together last year, but I have simply upgraded to the new SM4 Vokey Wedges and the 712 CB irons. I have been practicing with the wedges for just more than a week now, but yesterday was my first day with the new irons. Needless to say, our relationship is off to a fast start! I am going to do some experimenting with Titleist to see if we can find a three wood that I trust a little bit more than the one I have now, but other than that, I feel great about my equipment.

This has been a very good week so far. I have been steadily knocking away at my process goals and need only a sprint workout, one putting drill, and a couple hours of work with my wedges to complete all goals for the week. It is currently looking like a pretty ugly Saturday of weather, but it is supposed to clear up this afternoon, and I am confident that I will finish all of my process goals.

Things are going very well, and I am feeling great! Come back tomorrow evening to check on me and make sure that I completed my process goals this week.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Good Signs

I'm already seeing the benefits that good, focused practice can have on my golf game. In a match yesterday Holston Hills Country Club (number 5 pictured) in misty and windy conditions, my short game and putting were very sharp, and they allowed me to overcome some inconsistent driving of the ball to shoot a seven-birdie, one-bogey round of 66. I won my match, but more importantly, gained a lot of confidence from seeing the hard work that I've been putting into my short game and putting yield strong results.

I am off to a great start in terms of my practice this week, too. I had a very efficient afternoon of practice on Monday in which I had a quick chipping session, worked with Bobbo on the driving range for an hour and a half, and completed both my 3-foot putt drill and my 9-hole lag drill. Then, after my match on Tuesday, I set up my 6-foot putt drill at Holston Hills. That is my hardest putting drill anyway, but add in a blustery wind, and it becomes a very tough test. It takes a lot of commitment to hit confident putts in gusty winds, but after falling just short of my goal the first time around, I nailed it the second time. In fact, I made 19 of 24 six footers--one better than the requirement.

The week is still young, and I have a lot of short game work to do, but I am excited about the progress I've already made. The weather looks like it is going to cooperate for me to have a strong rest of the week, so I'm looking forward to more improvements. I should be able to have
more matches, too, so I'll be able to keep testing my game under at least semi-competitive conditions. Keep it here for more updates!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Summary of a Great Week

I need to start by saying that I am disappointed because I completed only four of my five putting drills this week. I am determined to hold myself accountable and finish all of my weekly process goals this year, so I'm bummed that I came up one putting drill short this week, but I can honestly say that I am very happy with my practice. I completed all of my short game and wedge play work, and did a lot of great work on my putting. I had some friendly matches on Monday and Tuesday but practiced by myself for the rest of the week. I took a loss on Monday, but rebounded with a nice round and a win on Tuesday. My game is feeling very good, so I'm hoping to get in a little competition in the upcoming week. In addition, I had a solid week of fitness work and feel very good about my runs and workouts. This was definitely my best week of practice since my 2011 competitive season ended last October, and I am really excited about the status of my game.

My weekly goals force me to have very focused practice, and they also apply some pressure while I'm working on my game, which helps to prepare me for tournament play. I struggled with my putting drills all week, but felt myself getting better and better with each day of practice. I completed my six-footer drill on Saturday, and the last few putts truly had a tournament-like feel to them. I feel like I was rolling the ball very well by the end of the week, but I just couldn't quite get enough putts to fall to finish my final drill despite a lot of trying on Sunday.

I feel great. I would feel significantly more satisfied if I had been able to complete all of my process goals, but I know that I put in the work this week to set a strong foundation moving forward with my year. I will continue to emphasize all of the things listed in my process goals (see "2012 Goals" in the tabs above), and I will achieve them. Exactly one month from today, I will tee it up in the first Egolf Professional Tour event of the year. I am very excited! I know that commitment to my process goals will prepare me to achieve the outcomes I want this year. It's going to be a fun ride. Keep it here for updates along the way!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Snow Day

A quick blast of winter hit East Tennessee on Thursday evening and left cold temperatures and half an inch of snow here for Friday. The white stuff forced me to stay inside for a day, but I was really pleased with the work that I was able to do. I had a great full-body plyometric workout ("plyo Friday") and spent a solid two and half hours in the basement working on my golf swing, my putting stroke, and most importantly, my chipping. I was able to get in a very useful 45 minutes of practice chipping balls into ice cream buckets and onto couch cushions and put only a couple of decorative dimple patterns in the dry-wall. I'm kidding about that last part, but in all seriousness, I had a very productive day for a snow day.

Most of the snow is still lingering now on Saturday morning, but with bright sun rising and temperatures predicted to get near 40 degrees, I'm hopeful that facilities will clear up somewhere and allow for a good afternoon of practice. I need to bust out some putting drills and get in a couple more hours of practice with my wedges. It has been a solid week thus far, and with some cooperation from the weather, I will have a good end-of-week report for you on Sunday evening.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Feeling Good; Enjoying the Challenges

Though I have been working hard all winter, I am really feeling a new sense of focus and purpose this week. I have set the standards pretty high with my process goals, and I am definitely having to do some good work to pursue them. It has been a tough but very productive week so far, and I'm really enjoying it.

I had a couple of matches with my buddies in Knoxville on Monday and Tuesday. I was very happy with the way I played on Monday but a couple of loose swings and some penalty shots cost me the match. I cleaned it up a lot on Tuesday and played a very solid 5-birdie, 1-bogey round to get revenge from my monday loss. On both days I showed a lot of promise and really felt like my game was very close to being good.

I put in a great 1-hour short game session before the match on Tuesday and am feeling good about that. I have also been working very hard on my putting drills, though they have been quite a struggle. I just had a great session on Wednesday night working on my alignment and putting stroke (see picture). I am very confident in my putting stroke, and I know that getting myself back into a consistent practice routine will get me on track in no time.

I am right on schedule with my fitness routine and feeling great about it.

I've got some work to do to finish my short game and putting goals for the week, and though I may have to battle some weather, I'm gonna get 'em done! Hopefully I'll the able to squeeze in another match or two as well. Keep it here for more news!

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Ready to Work for a Great 2012

It has been nearly a month since my last post, but that time period has been packed with more of the same kind of stuff that I was reporting during November and December. I have continued to work hard at incorporating a few small changes into my golf swing and putting stroke and am progressing very nicely. My ball-striking becomes more and more consistent everyday it seems, and I feel great about the work that I have been doing on my putting and short game. My game has held up well in a few matches that I have had with some buddies, as well, so I feel like the changes are really becoming ingrained nicely. In addition to my golf game, I have stayed on track with my fitness routine and have made noticeable improvements to my flexibility and endurance. I’m sure I am getting a little bit stronger as well, but that is less noticeable (despite my huge muscles!). I really do feel good about all aspects of pre-season plan, and feel like I have laid a good groundwork for the upcoming year.

I have had a great winter of preparation for my 2012 season, but now it is time to really get to work. Though I have been practicing daily and working hard at my game, I have not challenged myself with any practice goals until now. It is time to get back into a tournament-specific practice mindset and add some elements of pressure to my practice. I have spent the better part of the last month coming up with some realistic yet demanding goals for myself during the 2012 season, and I am publishing them and putting them into effect today. See the tab above titled “2012 Goals” for a look at some of the things that I am setting out to accomplish this year.

I absolutely love what I do for a living. Even the hard work doesn’t seem hard to me, but the goals that I have set this year are going to push me. Last year I did a very poor job holding myself accountable for my process goals throughout the busy time of the year. Looking back, I can see that this was due to a lack of efficiency. I would spend all day at the golf course, but sometimes would not be focused on doing the specific things that I needed to do to get better. This year I will learn from that experience and be better. My process goals will definitely challenge me each and every week, but with proper focus and some determination, I will achieve them. In doing so, I will set myself up to achieve my outcome goals.

2012 is going to be a great year for me. I am the most relaxed and yet the most excited that I have ever been heading into a year of golf. My first event is scheduled for February 15-18 when the Egolf Professional Tour heads to Hilton Head Island. I will be on here regularly between now and then keeping you posted on my progress. I will also be using my blog as my accountability tool for my process goals. Look for weekly updates, and make sure that I am taking care of business.

Thank you so much for continuing to follow and support me. This is going to be an exciting year, and I hope that you will enjoy it with me!

New Blog Site

Hi everyone! Thank you for continuing to try to keep up with me. As you might have noticed, I've not been updating this blog at all late...