Monday, December 29, 2014

Best Golf of My Life by January 1, 2015

The title of this post has been a common refrain of my posts over the last couple months. I set out eight weeks ago with a mission to be playing the best golf of my life when the calendar turned to 2015. I established an 8-week off-season plan, and I am very proud to say that by completing a Light Fitness Routine over Christmas week, I followed my entire off-season plan perfectly. And the plan is working. I feel like my game and my body are both in great form right now, and I really do feel like I am better at golf than I have ever been.

This off-season has been a great mixture of some new stuff and a dedicated commitment to the same old stuff. The "old stuff" is a solid, goal-oriented practice routine. The new stuff is the work on my swing mechanics that I have done with Mitchell Spearman. He and I have spent four days together over the past two months, and though we have not made any drastic changes, the subtle adjustments we are making is having a drastic impact on the consistency of my golf swing. While working very hard on my mechanics, I have been intentional about not letting my new swing thoughts dominate my practice. I have spent the majority of my time on the old stuff: putting, short game, wedge play, shot-making, and playing golf. This balance has allowed me to feel complete about my preparation, and I am ready to hit the ground running. It has truly been a great off-season.

This week is going to be a bit of strange one, but I am really looking forward to it. I have no practice or fitness requirements this week, so it is kind of a free week. Starting January 5, I will be accountable to a whole new set of weekly practice and fitness goals, but this week is my "transistion" between the off-season and the new season. I may not go at it quite full-speed this week, but you can bet that I won't be sitting around, either!

I am extremely proud of my last two months of work. I had a mission and a set of goals I was going to follow to achieve that mission, and I followed the plan perfectly. This is just the beginning, however. As I move into the 2015 season, these past eight weeks are just a building block. It is time to keep moving forward. I am excited to do just that!

Thank you for following and caring enough to keep up with me. I hope that all of you have have had a wonderful Christmas and that you are ready for a great New Year! Keep it here for another update within the next couple days as I roll into 2015!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

It's Off-Season but I'm On-Track!

December 8-14 was one of the best and most thorough weeks of practice I have ever had. That week, I set out to complete my Full Practice Schedule and Full Workout Routine. I was in Florida with fairly warm weather, which helped, but I completed all of my practice by Friday and easily finished all of my workouts, too. The past seven days have been a different story. Despite having reasonably nice weather in Tennessee, my practice drills really made me work this past week. I needed to complete only a Light Practice Schedule to finish the practice requirements set out in my "off-season plan" that I published seven weeks ago, and it took me until the very last glimmer of sunlight on Sunday afternoon to do that. I'm not sure why some weeks are harder than others, but I'm thankful for the challenge. This week it took some perseverance and a great attitude, but I completed my Light Practice Schedule and my Full Fitness Routine. It is so valuable for me to have a goal and achieve it, and I am feeling great right now.

Seven weeks ago I published my off-season goals and committed to following a plan that would have me playing the best golf of my life by January 1, 2015. So far, I have followed that plan perfectly. In fact, I have no remaining practice requirements in that plan and have only a Light Fitness Routine to complete over the next ten days in order to check off everything from my off-season goals. I'm proud of the work that I have put in over the past seven weeks, and I truly feel that with some light "stay sharp" sessions over the next week and a half, I will hit 2015 playing the best golf of my life.

I feel great. I have a big post coming sometime in the next several days that outlines my 2015 Goals, and I am excited to share those. More importantly, I'm excited to get to work pursuing them! Keep it here for that update and enjoy this Christmas and Holiday Season! Thank you very much for caring about me!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Quick (but Great) Update

I had an absolutely fantastic week in Florida last week. I completed my Full Practice Schedule and Full Fitness Routine, and I also played 27 great holes on the Stadium Course at the TPC Sawgrass and had a great session with Mitchell in Orlando. Mitchell is as impressed with the progress in my swing as I am with the results that I see in practice and on the course. We are continuing to make subtle and gradual changes that are having a profound impact on the efficiency and consistency of my golf swing. In addition to that, I continue to be very pleased with the quality of my short game and putting practice. I said that I would be playing the best golf of my life by January 1, 2015, and I truly believe that all the elements are coming together to make that a reality. I need to have another good week of work and workouts this week, but I will be able to relax a little bit over the Christmas week and still achieve my off-season goals!

Everything is great, and I am excited. Keep it here for updates from a great week of work and for some exciting news about the start of next year. Thank you for keeping up with me!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Great Work in Florida

I am continuing to make progress. My practice has been feeling very good, and my tournament play last week confirmed that I am moving in the right direction. I still have a lot of room to improve, though. This week, I have been utilizing the great practice facilities and reasonable weather at the TPC Sawgrass to continue working on my game. I have a few items left to check off my list, but I am well on my way to completing my Full Fitness Routine and my Full Practice Schedule. My workouts and my practice have been on point, and I am feeling great. I had a little match today on the Stadium Course, and my results continued to match what I am feeling. Playing in chilly and at times breezy conditions, I hit 14 greens in regulation and shot two under par despite making a triple bogey on one of the most benign holes on the course (12). I was victorious in the match. This week has been great, so far. I am going to have another solid day of work in Ponte Vedra on Friday and then will spend Saturday with Mitchell in Orlando. I am excited to keep getting better. Five and a half weeks ago, I set out on a mission to be playing the best golf of my life by January 1, 2015, and I am confident that I will be.

Thank you for following me, caring about me, and believing in me! Keep it here for more good news as I continue to progress. Enjoy some pictures from Sawgrass:




Sunday, December 7, 2014

Great Week!

I decided to play the eGolf Tour Championship so that I could assess the state of my game on a difficult golf course under tournament conditions. I am very pleased with the work that I have been putting in on my game, but I knew that playing a golf tournament would be very educational for me. Working on some new swing thoughts and having gone nearly three months without playing a competitive round, I was very curious to see how comfortable I would feel. The results actually surprised me a little bit. By no means was I as comfortable as I would ultimately like to be or as consistent with my ball-striking as I think I can be, but given the situation, I was very solid from beginning to end. The results speak for themselves as I posted rounds of 68, 68, 68, 71 for a 13-under-par total and a solo third place finish in a strong field of 168 players. More important than the results, however, was the experience of hitting solid golf shots under pressure and honestly believing that I was going to. This week was a strong validation of the work that I have been doing, it has me excited to keep following my plan. 

I will give you some cool bullet points from the final two rounds of the tournament. 

•The Cupp Course at Palmetto Hall has some very intimidating holes with long forced carries off the tee and greens fronted by trouble. Two holes that have always been something of a nemesis to me are holes three and seven. In the third round, I hit two perfect tee shots on these holes, and then stuck two four-iron approach shots en route to birdieing both! 

•I posted a third-round 68 (-4) despite making a double-bogey from 83 yards out in the middle of the fairway on the short par-four 11th. My tee shot found a divot in the fairway, but it really should not have been all that difficult of a shot. I chunked it badly and left myself with a 30-yard bunker shot. From there, I hit my shot over the green into a hazard and converted a great up-and-down for double after a penalty drop. That hole was my only major blunder of the tournament, and I am proud of the way that I responded to it.

•In the final round, I smoked my drive on the par-five 10th hole. I had just 216 yards to the flag for my second shot, but the 10th is a very demanding approach. A severely sloped green is fronted by a ten foot plank wall that drops down into a pond. The severity of the green is such that any approach that goes long of the green is really no better than hitting it short in the pond anyway. I typically lay up short of the water because of the demanding nature of the green, but trailing by seven shots and having a perfect yardage for my three hybrid, I decided to give it a go. I laced my approach to eight feet directly behind the front hole location and rolled in the putt for an eagle three. It was a great feeling!

• I finished the tournament sloppily. I failed to birdie the easily-reachable par-five 15th hole and then hit a poor iron shot into the 17th hole and made a bogey. I faced a long birdie putt on the final hole, and before hitting it, I noticed that I had fallen into third place by one shot. I also noticed that I had a couple shots of clearance over fourth place. I was overly aggressive with the birdie putt and wound up three putting for the only time all week on the final green. That sloppy finish is my only source of disappointment all week.

•On two fairly demanding golf courses, my ball-striking stats were very impressive. In order, beginning with round one, I hit 12, 13, 14, and 14 greens in regulation. As good as my short game and putting are going to be, I will be very VERY successful if I can continue to improve on these numbers. 

•My best-man from my wedding and closest friend, Ryan Nelson, dominated the golf tournament, and I got to play alongside him in the final round. That was really special. 

Needless to say, it was a fantastic week, and I am quite happy that I decided to play. I never lost sight of my off-season mission to be playing the best golf of my life by January 1, 2015, either. I completed my Light Practice Schedule and Light Fitness Routine, and I am doing a great job of following my off-season plan. I am more confident than ever that I will be playing the best golf of my life when the calendar turns to next year! 

Thank you for following and believing in me. Great stuff is happening, and even better stuff lies ahead. It's a fun journey, and I'm loving the ride! Keep it here for more updates. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

It's Feeling Good

I entered this week's eGolf Tour event so that I could assess my off-season work under some tournament conditions. I can tell that the new feelings on which I am working in my swing are far from ingrained, but things are feeling very good! I'm glad that I have a little more time to really work on my full-swing before the New Year gets here, but I'm definitely on pace to be playing the best golf of my life by then.

In the second round on Thursday, I overcame some shaky ball-striking early with some good recovery shots and a hot putter. Then, as I settled down and began to strike the ball nicely, my putter cooled. Still, I posted my second consecutive five-birdie, one-bogey round of 68 to reach eight under par for the tournament heading into the weekend. I am thrilled to be in a position to pursue the leaders, but more than that, I am excited to keep improving.

Though I was a little bit disappointed with some of the putts that I hit in Thursday's round, I am still very pleased with the state of my short game and putting. I have worked hard on these two areas of my game thus far this off-season, and that work is showing. I will continue to focus on sharpening these as I move forward.

For now, I am focused on completing a good week of work and continuing to play well in this tournament. I tee off at 10:10 Friday morning in the third round. I am currently five shots behind the leader and in a tie for third place. I am really looking forward to the competition the next two days. Thank you for following, and please keep it here for reports from the last two rounds.

 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Tournament Week--Good Start

I haven't experienced a tournament week in quite a while. I am on Hilton Head Island playing the eGolf Professional Tour's season-ending event at a great venue called Palmetto Hall Plantation. I opened the tournament on Wednesday with a round of 68 (-4) on the Hills Course at Palmetto Hall. I played great and was in control all day as I posted a five-birdie, one-bogey performance in my first competitive round in more than 2 months. I definitely do not feel perfectly comfortable yet with the work that I am doing on my golf swing, and I certainly know that I have a long way to go to get to where I want to be, but I was very pleased with the state of my game. I am happy to have shot a good score, but more than that, I am very excited to see the fruits of my practice. All areas of my game were bright at times in round one, and my short game and putting were consistently good throughout the round. It was a great way to break back in to competition. 

Now, with that said, I want to keep it up. I'm having a good week of work, and I plan to continue with my off-season quest towards playing the best golf of my life by January 1, 2015. Along the way, I might as well get myself into contention to win this golf tournament, too, I'd say!
I'll play round two tomorrow on the Cupp Course at Palmetto Hall, and I'm excited to get back out there for more tournament action. 

Thank you for following, and please keep it here for more updates from the tournament.

Close Calls and More Progress

I'm playing good golf, and it's really fun! I haven't been able to put enough consistently good play together yet to have a good...