Sunday, September 9, 2012

Change is Good; Exciting Things Coming

It has been a busy week, but I am pumped to say that it has been filled with very productive and important work. At the Carolinas Tour event on Tuesday-Wednesday, a problem that has been slowly growing in my golf game reached a point where I could ignore it no longer. Having to address the problem stressed me out while thinking about it, but once I started working on Thursday, I made quick progress and feel great about things now. The next four weeks are packed with a lot of exciting action, and thanks to an excellent week of practice, I am feeling great heading into them.

The problem in my golf game can best be described as a general “fidgetiness” over the ball. Sports psychologists in golf talk a lot about pre-shot routines, and it is definitely true that having a reliable pre-shot routine is fundamental to a solid mental game. There are conflicting ideas about what a pre-shot routine should be however. Dr. Bob Rotella and many prominent sports psychologists believe that a useful pre-shot routine should be executed the exact same way before every single shot, but Jack Nicklaus believed that a successful pre-shot routine should include anything that enables a player to feel ready to hit the specific shot that faces him or her. I definitely have a fairly set routine that I perform before each and every shot, but I also have adopted a bit of Nicklaus’ philosophy in that I will allow myself some extra preparation on certain shots. Earlier in the year, this “extra preparation” entailed an extra look or two at my target over some shots, but over the course of the year, I have gotten to the point where I’m having trouble pulling the trigger. I will go through my routine, address the shot, and then look at the target many times while waggling the club or taking my left hand on and off the grip. The extra time over the ball affects my commitment to the shots that I am trying to hit. I decided on Thursday that I am going to commit to executing a more consistent pre-shot routine and taking just one look at my target once I address the ball. As long as I create a clear picture in my mind of what I am trying to do with each shot before I address the ball, there is no reason to take more than one look at the target. Because my fidgetiness had become habitual over the course of the year, it was a daunting task trying to make the change, but the uncomfortable feeling has subsided dramatically in just the last four days of practice, and the results have been phenomenal. I feel much better when it’s time to pull the trigger on golf shots now, and I can’t wait to show off my new routine under tournament pressure.

The next four weeks will offer plenty of opportunities for me to get my new routine “battle”-tested. The Egolf Tour kicks off its fall series this week in a town called Ninety-six, South Carolina, and plays the following two weeks in the Charlotte, NC, area. In addition to being back in action on the Egolf tour, I will likely double-up one week and play another event on the Carolinas Tour as well during that stretch. Immediately following the Egolf run, the Tour plays in consecutive weeks in Charlotte, NC, and Potomac, Maryland, and I plan to get myself into both of those events. It is an exciting time of year, and I am thrilled to keep competing.

I feel like this past week was one of my very best weeks of work I have had all year. Though I played the two-day event on the Carolinas Tour, I committed to achieving all of my non-tournament week process goals, and I was able to do that. My putting practice with my new routine was fantastic, and I saw similarly exciting results with my short game and wedge play. Though my foot is still recovering, I had a great week of workouts as well. I still substituted bike rides for all of my running workouts, but I did do some short sprint work on a hill on Sunday afternoon. My foot is probably ready for me to run on it, but I don’t want to push it. I was very thorough in all of my work this week, and I’m pumped to say that I truly feel like I got better in all facets of what I do.

I’ll hit the road early this week for South Carolina. The Egolf event is at a course called Star Fort and will be played Wednesday-Friday. I’m pumped to be back in Egolf action. At the beginning of the year, I wrote down multiple Egolf wins and the top position on the year-end money list as two of my outcome goals. Though I might be mathematically eliminated from achieving the second of those goals, I’m going to try like crazy to do the first and see how close I can get to the second. Most of all, though, I’m going to commit to my new routine and get comfortable with it in tournament play. It’s going to be a fun week and a great stretch over the next few weeks. Keep it here to enjoy the ride with me. Thank you so much for your support and for keeping up with me!

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