Monday, March 4, 2013

More Motivated Than Ever

Looking back on last week's event, the NGA Tour's Spring Hill Classic, I am 50% encouraged, 40% motivated to improve, and 10% frustrated with myself. After struggling mightily with my focus and execution in the first three holes on Sunday, I gave myself a pep-talk and played the final 15 holes with two-birdies and no bogies to post a final-round score of 71 (level par). Though I was in a good mindset over the final 15 holes, I still didn't feel like I was getting much out of my game. I drove the ball okay and putted okay, but was incredibly mediocre (at best) with my irons and wedges. I ended up in a three-way tie for 6th but was just three shots behind the winner. It is incredibly encouraging to have such a high finish when I feel like I could have gotten so much more from my game. That is why I am more motivated than ever to keep improving. I feel like my game is better than it has ever been, and I just need to further sharpen it so that I can let it all out in tournament play. The 10% frustration comes from the fact that this golf tournament was so winnable for me, and I gave it away with some extremely poor and uncharacteristic blunders. That is okay, though. I will improve, and I will take advantage of plenty of opportunities to win this year.

All-in-all, I cannot be disappointed. This was my first event on the NGA Tour. I posted rounds of 68, 68, 72, 71 and never trailed by more than four shots at the end of any round. I overcame tough starts on both Saturday and Sunday to keep myself in contention in the tournament and ended up with a tie for 6th place finish. That means I have finished 4th and 6th the past two weeks on the two largest mini-tours in the United States. As much as I think I could and should have won this past one, those finishes are not too bad for this early in the year.

My week of practice this past week looks terrible on paper. The golf course had no short game facilities at all and the weather was not conducive to good practice sessions, but I didn't put up much of a fight. I had no short game sessions at all (and boy did it show--my chipping and wedge play were awful at times), and I wound up three drills short of finishing all of my putting practice, too. I did put in a lot of quality work on the putting green, but could never quite complete my 6-footer drill on the grainy practice green. I also left out one of my ball-striking drills. Like I said, it was not a good week of work on paper. On a positive note, I did a great job of keeping up with my fitness work. It is definitely a challenge to fit workouts and runs into my tournament weeks, but I feel so good when I stay on top of my fitness.

I'm heading back to familiar grounds this week as the eGolf Tour plays at The Club at Irish Creek in Kannapolis, NC, Wednesday-Saturday. Though the weather appears that it will present quite a challenge to practice on Tuesday and for the first round of competition on Wednesday, I'm determined to have a better week of work. If I can clean up my short game and wedge play and stay focused from beginning to end, I know that my game is good enough to win golf tournaments. I'm going to work hard to do just that.

One other note about my practice: I'm determined to reach my goals about holing chip shots and bunker shots. I have been awful at that so far this year, but it adds such a great element to my practice, and I know that it will pay huge dividends when I need to hit great short game shots in big tournament situations this year. I'm really going to commit myself to those goals this week in my short game practice and see if I can make progress.

I'm excited about my start to the year, but I know that bigger and better things are coming! Keep it here for good reports from the eGolf event this week and other good updates. Thank you for following me!

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