Monday, April 30, 2012

Right Where I Belong


I played great today in the Monday Qualifier. A little blip on my fifth hole of the day where I three-putted from just 25 feet for a bogey was my only real blunder of the day as I posted an eight-birdie, one-eagle round of 63 (yes, that's becoming "my number"--I like it) to easily qualify for this week's Nationwide Tour event in Athens, GA. My day started with a perfect three-wood into the par-5 10th for a tap-in eagle, and I finished with six birdies in my closing nine holes. I was fairly relaxed from the get-go and was definitely having fun all day. 

The Nationwide Tour event this week is at the University of Georgia Golf Course. I have never played it, but I will get in a full day of practice out there on Tuesday. It is always a little bit exciting and nerve-racking to play up at the next level, but I really do feel like my game is ready to be playing on the Nationwide Tour full time. I know that if I can stay calm and confident, I can succeed out here. 

I'm excited for a great week. My hard work is definitely starting to show, but I think that this is just the beginning. I need to have a great day of preparation and learn the course on Tuesday, but I will enjoy the whole experience. Keep it here for updates throughout the week. Thank you for following me and for your support!

Great Day of Preparation on Sunday; Time to Monday Q

After a fairly poor performance in a fun match on Saturday afternoon, I knew I had some work to do to end last week on a good note. I spent nearly three hours Saturday evening working on my wedges and short game and then left early Sunday morning to make the trip down to Athens, GA, to start preparations for this week's Monday Qualifier for the Nationwide Tour event. I played a very productive practice round at the qualifying course, The Georgia Club, and then had a very efficient practice session afterwards as well. With a perfect performance on my three-foot putt drill yesterday afternoon, I completed all of my non-tournament week process goals, and I really feel like I took advantage of my short break from competition Wednesday-Sunday. My practice is continuing to feel better and better, so I am confident great results are coming soon.

I tee it up this (Monday) afternoon at 1:50 in the Monday Qualifier. Monday Q's are difficult this time of year as 150+ people will be playing for seven spots in the tournament field, but I know that if I can stay relaxed and execute well, I will be in great shape to qualify. I feel good about everything, so I will be able to enjoy myself out there this afternoon. Come back later tonight for some good news!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Good Work So Far This Week

After an efficient practice session on Wednesday afternoon during which I worked on my swing a little bit with Bobbo and knocked out a couple of my putting drills, I was feeling very good about things. So on Thursday afternoon, I went down to Holston Hills to get in a little match with some of my buddies. Rain and thunderstorms pushed our start time back until 4:00 pm, but I was excited to play. We played 13 holes, and I felt good about my game. I hit the ball very well, and though I was fairly cold with the putter, I made a couple of nice birdie putts. I made ten pars and three birdies in the match. That is never going to blow anyone away at Holston Hills, but with those scores I would expect to be in a close match and possibly sneak out a victory. On Thursday, however, my buddy Braxton Hunter birdied eight out of thirteen holes and gave me quite a beating. Though I wasn't disappointed with my play, I'd be lying to say that the results of the match didn't motivate me a little bit. I had a great day of practice on Friday. I had a follow-up session with Bobbo in which we confirmed that everything is looking good, and then I went to work. I knocked out two more putting drills, including my six footers, which are typically the most challenging for me, and spent more than two hours in the afternoon working with my wedges. I put in some quality work on Friday, and I'm excited that my game still feels like it is improving. 

I'm going to play golf here in East Tennessee today (Saturday) before I hit the road early Sunday morning for Athens, GA, where I will be playing the Monday Qualifier for next week's Nationwide Tour event there. I'm excited about the opportunities that are waiting for me. I need to have a solid weekend of preparation though, and I will do just that. I've put a good dent in all of my process goals already, but I need to stay focused and finish the week strongly. 

Come back for a pre-Qualifier report and a weekend practice report Monday morning. Thank you for following!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Two Days Off in Charlotte, Now Home to Work

I definitely feel like I've been progressing very nicely for the past month. A steady diet of tournaments over the past four weeks have me into the flow of the season and I feel like my game and my mentality are developing nicely. I tried to keep my momentum rolling with another Carolinas Pro Tour event this Monday/Tuesday in Charlotte, NC, but I guess my head was in Valdosta, Georgia, where the Nationwide Tour is making its first appearance in the Southeastern United States this week. I had planned to play the Monday Qualifier for that event, but waited too long file my entry and was placed on a waiting list. I didn't get into the field for the Monday Qualifier, and unfortunately, I never got my head into the Carolinas Tour Event either. Though my game still felt good, I made a lot of careless mistakes and hit a bit of cold stretch with my putter to shoot 76, 74 and finish one shot out of the money. Conditions were brutally windy and fairly chilly as well, so those scores aren't quite as bad as they may seem, but I was definitely not myself. I hit into two water hazards and out of bounds twice on Monday and had a pair of three-putts from inside of thirty feet on Tuesday. It was just sloppy, unintelligent golf. Despite that though, I still feel good about the quality of my game.

I returned home for the first time in a while on Wednesday morning, and am ready to have a great week of work. A quick session with Bobbo and some great time on the putting green Wednesday afternoon have me feeling good. Though I did play a 36-hole tournament this week, I'm going to hold myself accountable for my non-tournament-week process goals, and I'm going to get them done.

I have a lot of exciting things coming up, starting with the Monday Qualifier for next week's Nationwide Tour event in Athens, GA. Though this week's tournament results were disappointing, I don't really view them as a setback at all. This tournament was just a little hiccup on my steady climb to great things this year. A solid few days of work will have me right back on track and better than ever. Thank you for following me! Keep it here for a good practice report in a couple of days and a pre-qualifier update from Athens, GA. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Big Week Complete; Excited to Keep Going

I played well in two different events this past week. A second place finish in a Carolinas Pro Tour event on Monday/Tuesday and a tie for fourteenth in the Egolf event Wednesday-Friday were certainly good performances. I'm excited about the consistency that is developing and am even more pleased to know that I am still improving. I also did a great job of managing my time and having productive and efficient practice this week. Despite the busy schedule, I completed all of my process goals and really had some great practice time. It was a great week all around and another good step forward for me.

I am now in Charlotte and am getting ready for another Carolinas Pro Tour event this Monday/Tuesday at Raintree Country Club. I am excited to keep competing and to continue working on my game in competition. I definitely believe and expect that I can win the event this week, but I am pumped just to continue working on my new mindset and to get better.

When the Carolinas Tour event is over on Tuesday, I will head home for the first time in a while. I am excited to get a good half-week of work in at home to prepare from some big opportunities that are coming up soon. I will play my first Monday Qualifier of the year for the Nationwide Tour next Monday in Athens, GA. In addition to that, the Egolf Tour has some more great venues coming up and other Nationwide Tour events and the U.S. Open qualifiers are on the calendar in the near future. It's a great time of year, and my game is trending in the right direction. Keep it here for all of the good news along the way, starting with a good tournament the next two days in Charlotte. Thank you for keeping up with me!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Tournament Wrap-Up from Forest Oaks

I apologize for the delay in getting this update published. Earlier in the year, I had a long delay in getting an update out because I was so frustrated that it took me a couple of days to gather my thoughts. I am excited to say that there is no such problem this time around. My game was very solid the final two rounds at Forest Oaks in the Egolf event there this week, and I was close to having another very good finish.

In the tournament's second round, I played steadily all day and had a chance to post a good score when birdies at my fifteenth and sixteenth holes got me to four under par for the round, but a sloppy finish saw me drop a shot at the par-3 eighth (my seventeenth) and miss a six-foot putt after hitting two great shots into my closing hole. In the end it was a second-round score of 69, and though I made the cut, it left me in the back of the pack heading into Friday's final round of the 54-hole event. I knew I could make up ground with a good score on Friday, though, so I set out to do just that. Unfortunately, I opened with disappointing pars at the easy tenth and eleventh holes to get my final round off to a less-than-exciting start. I continued to hit a lot of good shots, however, and seemed to give myself make-able birdie putts on every single hole. I eventually made the turn at four under par, and felt pretty good heading to the front nine. I continued to hit the ball well, but I just wasn't precise enough. Rather than hitting the ball close to the hole, I left myself a lot of 15 to 20 foot birdie putts, and I wasn't able to convert them. I did birdie the par-5 fourth hole and the par-3 eighth (my fourteenth and seventeenth) to reach six under par for the round, but I made my only sloppy swing of the day on the closing hole and hit a drive well right of the fairway into some high grass that forced me to chop the ball back out into the fairway. The closing bogey left me with a final-round 67 and a tie for 14th place finish. It was a costly error at the last hole, because one shot better would have jumped me into a large tie for 7th, but I know better than to play the "what if" game. The important thing is that I am definitely playing very well and am trending towards some really exciting results.

I feel good about my game and am happy with the progress I've made. I need to keep having good, focused practice so that I can continue to sharpen my skills and ingrain the positive feelings I am having right now. Despite a full competition schedule Monday through Friday of this week, I have done a good job of working towards my practice and fitness goals. I still have a couple of putting drills and a little bit of short game work to do this weekend, but I have had a solid week and feel great about that.

I am currently in Athens, GA, because I was hoping that I would be on my way to Valdosta, GA, to play in the Monday Qualifier for the Nationwide Tour event that is there next week. The field for the qualifier is completely full, however, and I am on a waiting list. It is not looking likely that I'll be heading that direction, so I will take off from Athens Sunday morning and head up to Charlotte for a two-day event on the Carolinas Pro Tour at a course called Rain Tree on Monday and Tuesday. The competition on that little tour is great, and I am excited to try to get back in the winner's circle. I've got to have a strong weekend of practice first, though. I'll keep you posted. Great things are coming! Thank you for following me.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Round 1 from Forest Oaks

My game matched the weather on a cold and damp day during the first round of this week's Egolf event. Forest Oaks is a great golf course, but with the greens softened by overnight rains, it is not overly demanding. I never felt comfortable in the opening round, however, and the course kept me working hard all day. Conditions were cold, windy, and little bit damp as rains threatened all day. I started poorly with bogeys on two of the first three holes but responded with a pair of birdies to make the turn at even par only to make a huge error off of the twelfth tee that led to a double bogey. I remained patient and upbeat however and was rewarded on the sixteenth hole as I holed a shot from the fairway for the second consecutive day. This time a holed a sand wedge from 98 yards. The shot got me back to even par, which is where I finished the day after two closing pars. My round of even-par 72 is certainly not a good score here at Forest Oaks, but I still saw plenty of positives from my game despite not feeling very comfortable. I think I will be ready to play a good round tomorrow and get back into the tournament.

One of the things on which I have been working very hard for the past month is a more relaxed attitude toward every golf shot. I want to be intense for about fifteen seconds before every shot as I come up with a good plan, but once I'm committed to what I'm going to try to do, I want to relax and stop worrying so much about the results. I have been getting better and better at doing this, and it allows me to make fearless and unrestricted golf swings when I do it right. I actually was taking it a step too far in round one, though. In order to be relaxed when I'm hitting golf shots, I need to be thoroughly prepared before I step up to the ball. Today, I was a little bit careless with a couple of shots because I didn't take the time to have a good plan before I hit them. I am really pleased with the way my mindset towards golf shots is evolving, but it is important that I not confuse being relaxed with simply being lazy. I'm close to getting it right.

I tee off in the afternoon on Thursday for my second round. I really like this golf course, and I am confident that I can put together a great round out there. Come back for some good news Thursday evening!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

More Excitement in Carolinas Tour at Bryan Park

Here is a quick summary from the two-day event that I played the past two days. Bryan Park is a great layout in Greensboro, NC, but with baked out fairways, the course was playing short and offering a lot of birdie opportunities. Winds howled the first day, however, and I wasn't very sharp. I birdied all four of the course's par 5's, but played the rest of the holes in four over par to post an even-par round of 72 on Monday. One player handled the wind quite well and opened with a 65 to take a four shot lead over the rest of the field into Tuesday's final round. I teed off five groups in front of the leaders in the second round, but I knew that I was definitely still in the battle for second place and possibly the win if the leader made any mistakes. In much calmer conditions, I set out to play my way back into the tournament. I eagled the easily reachable par-5 third hole to go three under par through three holes, but my momentum dwindled as I birdied only the other reachable par 5 on the front to turn at four-under par. A birdie at the par-4 tenth could have served as a spark, but I faltered on the par-5 eleventh by failing to convert a simple up-and-down for birdie from right in front of the green. Two holes later, however, I got some excitement back. The thirteenth is the most difficult hole at Bryan Park, and I hit an aggressive tee shot that just snuck through the fairway into some rough under an overhanging tree limb. I had to get my second shot curving hard from right to left to avoid the tree, but I executed a perfect low hook with a nine iron and the ball landed on the green, spun to the left and trickled right into the hole for an eagle. It was pretty exciting. I birdied two more holes coming in, but butchered the easy par-5 fifteenth and settled for par after a good tee shot. I shot a bogey-free 63, but parring the two back-nine par 5s felt like bogeys, and they cost me. I finished in second place, one shot behind the winner. It stinks that I let those two par 5s get away from me, but obviously my game is in good shape and is starting to produce some good results. I'm feeling good and am excited to keep improving!

I'm back in action in a hurry as this week's Egolf event starts Wednesday at Forest Oaks Country Club. Weather is supposed to be a problem for the opening round, but I am determined to be a in a good frame of mind regardless of the conditions. Come back for round-1 report in the evening. Thank you for following me!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Quick Summary of Last Week; Ready for a Big Week in Greensboro

A lot of great things happened this past week. I "went low" for the first time in while and shot a course record 63 at the Founders Course at St. James in the opening round of the Egolf Tour's Championship at St. James. I overcame a disappointing second round and kept myself in contention for the win all weekend before eventually finishing tied for second place in the tournament. Most importantly, I made great strides forward in terms of my thought process and comfort level on the golf course and now have the feeling that my 2012 is getting ready to really take me places. On a less positive note, what didn't happen this past week was the completion of all of my practice goals. I had a great week of work towards my fitness and I feel like I did the things that I needed to do this week to have my game primed for the tournament rounds, but I did my worst job of the year in terms of achieving my practice goals. Last year I fell into the habit neglecting my process goals during busy stretches of tournament golf, and I believe that cost me late in the year, so I will not make that mistake again this year. My process goals are very realistic and are great preparation for me, and I will make them a priority. I don't want to have to report about not completing them anymore this year. I'm not exactly beating myself up over anything from this past week, but I really am going to ensure that my practice goals get completed each week moving forward.

I am now in Greensboro, NC, and am getting ready for a busy week of competition. I am playing a Carolinas Pro Tour event Monday and Tuesday at a great course called Bryan Park and will immediately turn around and tee it up in an Egolf event at Forest Oaks Country Club Wednesday-Friday. It will definitely be busy, but I am so excited about tournament golf right now that I am more than ready to "double up" this week. I tee off at 10:48 at Bryan Park tomorrow morning, and I am looking forward to competing and working more on my tournament mindset. This is going to be a very fun week. Keep it here for nightly updates of all the action!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Knocking on the Door; More Excitement Coming Up

I entered the final round of this week's Egolf event, the Championship at St. James, with a one-stroke lead over a tightly packed leaderboard. I was definitely a bit nervous, but more than that, I was excited and confident. The Reserve Course at St. James is a very demanding layout on which trouble awaits nearly every shot. That kind of golf suits me well because I play fairly intelligently and don't make too many big mistakes. My biggest goal for the day was to stay relaxed and execute my plan on each and every shot without worrying about the results. I was definitely a little fidgety and nervous in the early going, but for the most part, I did achieve my goal of focusing on the process of each shot without obsessing over the results. So, that's enough of the overview. Here is a little play-by-play from final round:

Nervous approach shots into the first two holes left me with two missed greens, but I missed in fairly decent spots and converted a couple of routine up and downs for par. The third hole is a long-ish par 5, but the fairways are firm and the second shot was playing downwind. I went after the green in two from quite a ways away and ripped my hybrid into a greenside bunker. I was short-sided in the bunker, but hit a perfect shot and actually stopped my ball short of the hole but easily tapped in for a birdie. Routine pars at holes 4 and 5 gave way to poor bogey at the par-3 sixth where I mishit a six iron and then misread a five-foot putt to save my par. The putter again let me down at the watery par-5 seventh after I hit two very good shots to leave myself a routine greenside bunker shot for my third. I splashed the bunker shot out just four feet from the hole, but made a very uncommitted stroke and my putt weakly grazed the left lip and missed. That was a bummer, but I did a good job of staying positive, and I hit two great shots at the par-4 eighth to set up a 12 footer for birdie. I made a solid stroke this time, but just didn't quite play enough break and the putt lipped out on the low side. I was still feeling good, though, and I made a solid birdie on the short par-4 ninth after a very aggressive tee shot set up a short wedge shot for my approach. I made the turn at one under par for the day and felt good about things. I striped a tee shot on the difficult par-4 tenth, but terribly misjudged the wind on my second shot and launched a nine iron all the way over the green to a very front hole location. A great up and down saved my par, and I proceeded to make a routine (and slightly disappointing) par on the par-4 eleventh. Three great shots on the long and trouble-laden par-5 twelfth hole set up a great birdie, and I really felt like I had some momentum going at that point. A good par at the tough par-3 thirteenth gave way to probably my best drive of the tournament on the par-4 14th. Facing an uncomfortable wind on the short dogleg left par-4, I striped a nice tight draw right down the middle of the fairway and had just 105 yards to the hole. It was from there that things started to slide in the wrong direction for me. I hit a very solid three-quarter pitching wedge for my approach, but I blocked it pretty badly, and it rolled off the right side of the green and down a severe slope to a difficult chipping area. I made bogey there and then missed the green at the very difficult par-4 fifteenth hole as well and suffered another bogey. A solid par at the par-3 sixteenth sent me to the par-5 17th one shot behind the leader, who was playing in my group. The tee shot at 17 had given me trouble all week, and for one of the only times all week, I hit a very uncommitted golf shot and let my tee shot leak right into an extremely penal fairway bunker for the third consecutive day. I was up against the lip of the bunker, and my only chance to advance the ball significantly towards the hole was to hit a huge slice that came out of the bunker sideways and then curved down the fairway. I pulled off the shot to some extent, but the ball didn't quite slice enough to miss another large fairway bunker farther down the hole. I chunked my next shot out of the bunker, but converted a gritty up and down from some 40 yards short of the green to save my par. My playing competitor, who had taken the lead with my bogeys on 14 and 15, hit two perfect golf shots on the seventeenth and converted a 15-foot putt for his eagle, so he carried a very nice cushion into the 72nd hole, but I was determined to stick to my goal until the very end. I striped a tee shot down the par-4 eighteenth and hit a solid approach shot some twenty feet below the hole. I made a disappointing effort at the putt, but my par gave me a round of even-par 72 and left me in a two-way tie for second place. I was proud of the mindset that I was able to keep for the entire final round, and though I am very disappointed not to have come out on top, I will take way more positive energy from this experience than disappointment.

I was so close that I could taste victory this week. I know that I can do it, and I don't think it will be too long before I break down that barrier and pick up my first win on the Egolf Tour. More importantly, I think this officially marks my "settling-in" to the 2012 golf season because I am starting to think the way I want to on the course and am able to maintain a good mindset and attitude throughout my rounds. I definitely feel like my physical skills are better right now than they have ever been, so if I can continue to perform better and better mentally, I know that my results will continue to improve. I am very excited to see where this year takes me because I think I can accomplish great things.

I don't have to wait long to get back to competition. I'm heading to Greensboro, NC, for two events next week. On Monday/Tuesday, I will play a two-day event on the Carolinas Pro Golf Tour at a great course called Bryan Park before going to one of my favorite Egolf venues, Forest Oaks Country Club, for a 54-hole event on that circuit Wednesday-Friday. It should be a great week, and I am excited to get myself back in contention and to keep improving.

Thank you for all of your support and encouragement this week! It was a pretty exciting experience, but I think that even better stuff is coming. Keep it here for all the news!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Ready for a Fun Final Round

I bounced back nicely with a solid third round at this week's Egolf event--the Championship at St. James. After feeling a bit off in a second-round 76, I played very solidly on day three on my way to a two-under-par score of 70. I had highlights in all areas of my game in the third round. For the first 10 holes, my ball-striking was really strong, but I couldn't get the putter going at all. I hit a couple of tee shots and iron shots that were slightly off in the last eight holes, but my short game was very good and I made a couple of nice 4-6 foot par putts. My two bogeys were the the result of particularly poor misses with my approach shots, but the Reserve Course here at St. James is very demanding, and having a bogey or two on the card is nothing of which to be ashamed. Though it definitely could have been several shots lower, I am very pleased with my third round.

There were some good scores shot in the third round, but as a whole, the field struggled on the very difficult course. My round actually has put me back on top of the leaderboard heading into the final round. Scores are very bunched up and many great players are around the lead, so the final round should be very exciting. I am pumped to be heading into with a one-shot headstart on everybody, and I know that if I stay relaxed, I can definitely win this tournament. My goal tomorrow, however, is not to win, but simply to have a good plan on every single shot and to execute that plan without worrying about the results every time. If I can do that, I know I will play well. I relish this situation, and I will be having fun all day. Come back for some great news and a thorough tournament summary in the evening. Thank you for following me and for your support!

www.egolfprofessionaltour.com

Thursday, April 12, 2012

All about the Process

Well, the results were disappointing in round 2. After my electrifying first-round 63, my execution was not very good in the second round. I was loose with my tee shots, wasn't very good with my irons, and was average but not spectacular with my short game and putter. The end result was a four-over-par round of 76 on the Reserve Course at St. James Plantation. My attitude was close to being very good, though. I did stay fairly relaxed and enjoy myself all day, but I definitely get a little bit too "outcome-oriented" when I'm out on the course during competition. As long as I commit to a good game plan on every shot, I should be at peace with the results no matter what, but sometimes I want so badly to hit good shots that I forget this. All is well, though, and I am still in contention going into the weekend on one of my favorite golf courses, so I am excited to go find that loving feeling again! If I can focus on the process and not get wrapped up in the outcome, I will stay relaxed and have more good days than bad. The next two days will be a lot of fun! Come back for a round-3 report tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

That's More Like It in Round 1

At 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, I was a little bit concerned about the state of my golf game. A couple of frustrating practice rounds had me scratching my head and wondering where the great feelings I have been having in my golf game had gone. A quiet and calm practice session on Tuesday evening righted the ship and had me feeling better going into Wednesday's first round of the Egolf Tour's Championship at St. James, but I still entered the round with lower expectations and a plan to be conservative and intelligent. A routine birdie at the short par-4 10th got me started on a good note, and then I hit a great shot into the water-guarded par-5 11th hole. Facing 230 yards into a stiff breeze, I hit a beautiful low three wood that landed next to the hole before settling just off the back edge of the green. An easy up and down had me off to a birdie-birdie start, and I never really looked back. My game plan for the day was to not worry about anything. I wanted to commit to a plan on every shot and not worry about the results. I was able to do that all day, and when it was all said and done, I had posted a ten-birdie, one-bogey round of 63 on the demanding Founders Course at St. James Plantation.

It really was a great round, but I am more excited about the mindset that I was able to have and keep than the score or the position that it has me in the tournament. I never once was worried about where I shot would go today. In fact, my lone bogey came because I probably took my "worry-free" approach a little to far on the par-5 fourth hole. I had 227 yards to the flag with water guarding the left side of the green. Right is a tough up and down, so I was determined to make a committed swing and hit my shot just right of the flag. I was not going to let the water steer me off course, and I made an aggressive swing, but pull-hooked the shot into the water. It was disappointing to make a bogey in that situation, but I was proud of every shot I hit today.

I am very excited about how good I felt on the golf course today. If I can maintain that mindset, I know that I can do great things. My strategy will be the same tomorrow: have an intelligent plan on every shot and then execute with no fear. No matter what happens, I will have fun from beginning to end! Come back for a good report from round 2 and follow the results at www.egolfprofessionaltour.com.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Almost Go-Time at One of My Favorite Venues

This week's Egolf event, the Championship at St. James, will take place at two great golf courses. I will play my first round tomorrow at the Founder's Course before moving across the plantation to the Reserve Course for the second round on Thursday. The Reserve Course will also host the tournament's third and fourth rounds. Both courses for this event are very demanding. Plenty of trouble awaits errant shots off the tee and into the greens. The green complexes are very difficult at the Founders Course and only slightly less challenging at the Reserve. There is very little opportunity for rest at either course, and I am excited about that. Success at these two courses will require a great game plan and a lot of solid execution. I know my way around this place very well and am excited for the challenge that this event will offer.

With that said, I must be honest and admit that my game has not been sharp in practice rounds the last two days. I felt quite out of sync and really struggled to find any consistency with my ball-striking. I did hit a few good shots here and there, though, and don't feel like anything is too severely out of whack. My game has been feeling great all spring and the last couple weeks have really furthered that feeling, so I am confident that I'll find that lovin' feeling for this tournament.

I really like these two golf courses and fully expect to have a great event here. I know that the only way to do that, however, is to go out and execute a solid plan on each and every shot without worrying about the results. I'm going to have fun this week and stay relaxed throughout. There is good news coming, so keep it here to hear about it!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Big Sunday; Ready for a Great Week

Finishing my process goals is very important to me. My goals keep my practice very focused and ensure that I am keeping myself and my golf game in prime condition. This week I was having a hard time getting my practice goals finished. I did a great job and even over-performed my fitness goals, but between some poor practice conditions early in the week, poor weather most of friday, and a full schedule of playing golf all week, I had hardly even put a dent in my practice goals by Saturday evening. Lots of time on the golf course this week--including the Carolinas Pro Tour event Tuesday/Wednesday in Charlotte--had my game feeling sharp, but I wasn't very intentional with devoting any time towards practice. A busy schedule with my host family on Easter meant I would have to be efficient on Sunday, too, but I was determined to hammer out some drills and have a great day of work to finish my week. I am glad to say that I did just that. I was grinding around the chipping and putting greens for a few hours late morning and early afternoon, but I completed three putting drills and nearly an hour and a half of short game drills. I also worked on a my wedge play on the driving range and spent some time checking my alignment and swing path with my putter. At the end of the day, I had completed all of my goals for the week, and still had plenty of time and energy for a relaxing Easter dinner in the evening. It truly was a great day.

I really do feel tournament-type pressure when I am getting near the end of my drills. It is great practice because I have to remember that I cannot control the results, but only my preparation for each shot. If I stay in the moment and remember to enjoy the process, I usually hit pretty good shots under pressure, and I know that the same holds true for dealing with pressure situations out on the golf course. I am not always going to get the results that I want, but if I take care of the things that I can control and stay relaxed enough to enjoy myself, I know that I will get good results more often than not. I was definitely feeling pressure coming down the stretch of my last two putting drills of the week, but I was able to get them done.

The Egolf Tour plays this week at a place called St. James Plantation in Southport, NC. I have been on site here since Thursday evening, and I really enjoy both courses that will be used for this week's event. I feel like my game is in great shape and getting better each day, so I'm excited for what could potentially be a great week here. I need to do a better job this week of keeping up with my practice goals as the week goes on, but I'm pleased with the way that I am starting to settle into a good tournament routine as the heart of the season begins to get rolling. There are a lot of good things happening in my golf game, and I am excited to share great news with you soon. I'll be back with another update before the tournament gets started on Wednesday. Keep it right here to enjoy the ride with me!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Not Good Enough, but Solid Playing on Carolinas Tour

My game has felt good all spring, and I'm starting to see some of the results that I am expecting. I got off to a rough start in the second round of the Carolinas Pro Tour event and saw my two-shot deficit at the beginning of the day grow to five shots after I played the first three holes in one over par. After the tough start, however, I stayed in a good frame of mind and didn't get ahead of myself or try to do too much. I made six birdies and no bogeys over the final 15 holes to post a second consecutive score of 67 and reach 10 under par for the event. Unfortunately, my buddy Mikel Martinson was too good. I was paired with him in the final round, and his solid play never let me get closer than three shots until my closing birdie on the 18th pulled me to within two. A player from the middle of the pack posted an unbelievable round of 61 to get to 12 under par for the event as well, so I was forced to settle for a solo 3rd place finish. I really wanted to win the event, but I am happy with the good finish and the solid play that got me there.

With the exception of a couple of poor swings early in the second round, I really drove the ball beautifully in this event. I also hit my irons fairly well and showed a lot of promise with my wedges. I wouldn't say that I am particularly sharp with my irons and wedges, but I do feel like I'm trending in that direction. I am putting solidly but still waiting for that part of my game to get hot. I do feel like everything is starting to come together, though, and I'm extremely happy to be settling into a good tournament golf mindset.

I will practice here in Charlotte Thursday morning and will take off for St. James Plantation on the southern coast of North Carolina in the afternoon. I am going to get to St. James a full five days before next week's Egolf event which is being held there, and I'm excited to get in some good preparation. The courses at St. James are very demanding but also quite fair. It is one of my favorite Egolf venues of the year, so I will be looking to have a good tournament next week.

I need to have a solid rest of this week first, though. I have a lot of work to do to fulfill my practice goals for the week, so I will need to have some efficient and focused practices the next four days. I can do that.

Things are looking and feeling good. Great news is coming! Keep it here for all the news, and thank you so much for keeping up with me!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

At The Palisades for Carolina's Tour--Good First Round

I finished up a solid effort last week with an efficient weekend of practice at Dandridge Golf Course. I worked hard on my fitness and put in the time to finish all of my process goals, but also spent a little bit of time relaxing at home this weekend. Then, after a good day of work on Monday, I left for a trip that will keep me on the road for at least four weeks, so it was good that I was able to soak up a little bit of time in my Dandridge, TN, home.

The first stop on this trip is Charlotte, North Carolina, for a two-day event on the Carolina's Pro Golf Tour at a course called the Palisades Country Club. The first round was today (Tuesday), and I really felt great. Palisades is a very visually intimidating golf course, but it actually offers quite a bit of room and a lot of short iron approaches into greens, so scores were quite good today. I hit 17 greens (and had an easy birdie putt from the fringe on the other hole) and shot a six-birdie, one-bogey round of 67 to stand in a tie for second place, two shots behind my best buddy Mikel Martinson. There are a lot of scores between 65 and 69, so tomorrow will be a very fun final round.

Tomorrow will be a great opportunity for me. I badly want to win, but I know that the best way to do that is to go out and take care of my business and not worry about what the players around me are doing. I obviously am starting to feel very good about my game, and if I can stay in the present and just do my thing tomorrow, I'm confident that it will be a good day. In any event, if I can stay relaxed and enjoy myself, I know that I will give a good performance. I will have a good attitude tomorrow!

Come back here for a great report from the final round and check out the results at www.carolinasprogolftour.com.

Visible Progress

I’ve been making a lot of invisible progress lately. By that, I mean that my scores have been consistently rather stinky, but beneath that,...