Fortunately, the catching up that I am talking about is on my blog and not in my golf game. I had a really productive break that featured a nice blend of soaking up time with family, working on my game in traditional ways, and adding a couple of new and exciting things to my preparation. It all has me feeling re-charged, energized, and optimistic for what 2017 and the future will hold.
I’ll start with the new and exciting things. I started working with a physical trainer in early December. I have always tried to prioritize health and fitness as a big part of preparing to be my best, but despite feeling like I was in great shape, certain movement patterns in the golf swing have been difficult or impossible for me. I went and had a great two-day meeting with a golf fitness expert, and he has helped craft a workout program for me that will accentuate my strengths and help to address some of the limitations that have been challenging me. I won’t go into any biomechanical detail here, but I have definitely learned a lot and am really having fun doing workouts that are specifically aimed to help me perform better on the golf course. One of the most enlightening things is that fitness is not always about training harder, faster, and heavier. Rest, recovery, and mental clarity are important components to be physically at my best, too, and I am learning to be intentional about achieving them. In just one month, I can already tell that having this trainer helping to guide my physical preparation is going to make a big positive difference for me.
The work that I am doing with the trainer greatly complements the work that I Mitchell and I are doing in my golf swing. Improving my mobility in certain areas and stability in others through the training is going to help expedite the improvements that I will make. I spent some great time with Mitchell over the break, and we are continuing to improve together. I’m becoming a much more consistent swinger of the golf club, and I’m excited to keep getting better.
I also made a trip to Southern California over the break to visit the Titleist equipment test site. I spent a great day on the driving range getting my equipment all dialed in and spent an incredibly valuable few hours with Scotty Cameron’s great putter fitter at their studio. I didn’t make any big changes anywhere in my bag, but there are a few little tweaks here and there that I think will make a very positive difference. I also learned a lot about myself and my tendencies, particularly with the putter. For example, if I’m not intentional about engaging my core muscles during my setup, my body will move slightly to seek balance just as I start my stroke. When I do engage my core, my body stays incredibly still and allows for maximum consistency. Similarly, on the range, I learned that if I don’t trust that a club is going to go high enough, that’s when I make some of my poorest swings. We tweaked just a couple of my clubs to ensure that I never have to wonder if they will go high enough. When I trust that the club will get the ball in the air, I make a committed swing. I didn’t actually change very much about my equipment, but the things I learned at Titleist are valuable lessons for me.
I also did some traditional work on my game. I put in my first two “full” days of work just this past Thursday and Friday on a quick preparatory trip to Florida, but I was mindful of having little bits of practice most days during my offseason. It will take me a little time in good weather to sharpen all the finer points of my game like my feel on and around the greens and my distance control, but I feel like I did a great job of improving mechanically over the break. I’m confident that I’ll be able to dial in the feel components quickly. I was able to have some friendly matches this past week, and though I showed some signs of rust, I did most things really well and felt great on the course. I am really excited to get on site at a tournament and to prepare and compete!
Off of the golf course, it has been an amazing offseason. Alicia and I enjoyed the holidays very much with our families and really relished spending a prolonged period at home. We made some cool improvements at our house, too. I had been using our small third bedroom as an open-space gym and golf room, but it was quite small for that. In December, we embraced our attic, and in doing so added two new rooms to our house. We moved all of the stuff that had accumulated in our garage into the attic, turned our two-car garage into a great gym, and turned our third bedroom into a wonderful office. We love it! But most of all, we enjoyed just getting to relax and spend time with family, friends, and each other.
We are both feeling really great and are preparing to do big things in 2017. Alicia is working to make the world better through her job at the Center for Sport, Peace, and Society. She also has embarked on a lofty campaign that she has coined #BetterEveryDay in which she will do 100 push-ups every day in 2017 as a way to show that a commitment to being better can be as simple as making a choice and sticking to it. Follow her campaign on Twitter and Facebook. By the way, my commitment to be #BetterEveryDay is to trade in 15 minutes of mindless media consumption for at least 15 minutes of reading a book or something academic each day. It may seem small, but we are committed to being #BetterEveryDay. Join us!
2017 is going to be a great year! I’m excited to get the golf started this week at the Sony Open in Hawaii. I guess my claims to keep you updated here on my blog aren’t very trustworthy, but I’m going to try to do better. I really appreciate you caring about me and keeping up with me. I will return the favor by giving you good updates from the tournaments. Great things are coming. Keep it here to enjoy the journey with me.