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.

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