Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 - an exciting year of golf, learning and preparing, maturing and progressing.

It is time to write a short recap of what we were able to accomplish in the past 12 months. 365 days to professional golf was started to be a real time and no gimmick diary of my way to professional golf. For those who follow me or read my blogs, you know that I am writing without reservation and without holding anything back. It is a true account of my game, my thoughts, my opinions. Simply put, it is exactly how I feel.

The idea was to work very hard for 365 days and reach a handicap of 2 or better to then play on bigger tournaments and enter some mini tour events to progress further. I was totally aware that this is a huge task and I received some great messages encouraging me and supporting me right from the start. It seemed like a huge goal to many who did not know me and were not aware, that I am not starting as a beginner or even as a high handicap player or mid handicap player.

I was lucky to find one dedicated sponsor to start my journey at the beginning of this year. Well aware that this is a very tight situation, I was determined to proceed and to start a regiment of practice and play. This was for every single day. Go to the range at least 4 times a week and play the other 3 days plus tournaments on different AM tours as well as plenty of skins games and city championships.

My schedule was huge at the beginning of the year. There were dozens of tournaments I was planning to play.

We started out well. Practicing and playing whenever it was possible. Not exactly easy in the beginning. I did not work out for a long time and my body had to adjust to the constant strain you experience when playing competitive golf or practice for long hours. But I was able to get the adjustment done and did not have any problems. With a specific practice plan in mind and a good schedule one can progress nicely over time. When I say over time I mean just that. Most golfers or people think that you can learn golf fast and then progress to be very good to excellent in a short period of time. I have to say that when you are a beginner and work hard , you will move fast up to a certain handicap. From there on it becomes harder and harder.

So I worked hard every day and started playing tournaments. In the beginning there were not many success stories I could write about. But things got better every months. The more balls I was hitting on the range, the more theory I was applying to my game and the more I played on good courses, the better I got. Soon I started to see some good results. Some wins, some seconds and some top tens. Naturally I had some bad rounds. Came in at the bottom a couple times. But that never bothered me. It is all part of the process.

But the most important part was that my game progressed nicely. I started shooting 70s more and more and worked towards low 70s. There were a few rounds I was on my way to par or even better. Great feeling and it showed me that I am on the right way. I played some very good rounds out there on some very tough courses. I was excited how things went.

One of the biggest things which helped me to move forward were my new golf clubs. For the first time ever I actually got a brand new, top quality and pro fitted set of irons. I can not even tell you how excited I was and still am. What a difference to my old little blades. I think I have lost years using my old tiny McGregor VIPs ( don't get me wrong, I love those clubs).

Getting those golf clubs was a blessing. It took me a little to get used to the bigger heads and the fact that they are not forged irons. But, once I got adjusted, things changed. My iron game improved big time. My shots were longer, more accurate and I had more spin when I needed it. Every aspect of my iron game improved with those clubs. I started to win some more here and there and played great rounds in games we play in the area. It is much more fun to be part of the top groups and actually make some $.

One of my biggest projects was my driver. My driving distance was not good. Not good at all. When playing long par 4s ( 410 and longer)  I often had long  hybrid shots into the green. Even 3 fairway woods were not a surprise. So I needed to get some distance from somewhere. I just could not figure out what happened to it. 280 was no problem some years ago. Even if not always in the fairway , I was able to get out there. But somewhere along the way I lost it. I figured if I can average 260 I would be in good shape.

So I worked hours and hours on my driver. Even hired a coach a couple times. Shot videos and used my swing analyzer. On top I used trackman data to help me. It took months and a ton of hard work, but the result is here. My driving average went up by at least 20 yards and I now can reach long par 4s with a short hybrid or even my 5 and 6 iron. That is exciting and elevated my game to a new level.

Another big issue was my putter. I played a Nickelputter 909 after I gave up my Nicklaus Acushnet Offset ( played that for almost 2 decades). I thought I need to use technology to help me. But I never got it going. Then a friend one day had a Ping2 in his hand, a putter which I owned before and which I really liked. Talked him into selling it to me and I was on my way. My putting improved from here on and I am right on track with it again. I will not give it out of my hand again. I have a nice practice area at home where I play 3 to 8 foot putts often and it helps. My practice mat has about 11 speed, so that is pretty good to work on.

I think the driver was my biggest hurdle and I managed to actually get over it. The foundation I build with my driver I will use to make it even better. Equipment wise I feel pretty good now. Great clubs, good driver and my old putter. Couple weeks ago I used some certificate to get a real 3 wood. First time in ages. Best thing I got in a while. I now have all my distances covered and am able to reach anything and plan my rounds better. Great golf club. As always I will review items in my other blog as this one here is for my golf mission only.

Also I was lucky to get new golf shoes. Switched to Ecco and am excited and very happy. No more hurting feet, better feel and they look good on top. A good shoe is important and will help you to improve. I just never thought it was that big of a difference.

So I worked hard and played lots. My tournament schedule however was cut dramatically. Playing tournaments and bigger tournaments especially costs $ and lots of them. There is much involved. Including travel, boarding and food. There are also practice rounds and tournament entries to consider. So we scaled down my original schedule to make sure I have my focus on all the other events. That worked out well. Although I am aware that this was yet another set back in terms of time towards my goal, it did result in some good success stories and I was able to get other things done which are already part of the preparation for 2014.

But what I will do and what is planned for 2014 I will write in a second entry in the next few days. I can promise. It will be bigger, more and even more in focus for golf.

On September 8th 2013 one thing happened which I simply did not even consider. I injured myself. Playing a game at IMG Country Club I arrived at Hole 3. A par 3 which from the second tees is about 170. Not a big deal. As a matter of fact a beautiful golf hole. Elevated tee, huge water to left and in front, elevated green with large bunker on front left side. We were hitting straight into the wind. The pin was right behind the bunker. We had about 165 to the pin. With the wind I figured about 185. There I made a wrong decision. Feeling in great shape and feeling good about my game I used a 5 iron into the wind. Thinking 190 I gave it a huge rip. It was a great shot. As a matter of fact I was putting for birdie. However, when I did this huge turn, I felt something in my back. Not paying attention at first I finished the round with growing pain.

Next day I woke up and could not move. It took me over 2 months! to get back on a course. A disaster for my time schedule and my plans. In the status I was in any longer break would move me backwards by months. But what can you do ? I needed to wait and make sure I am fit long term. That is exactly what I did. I waited and waited and waited. No play, no practice, no work. Frustrating. Nothing went forward. Absolutely nothing.

It set back my game, my work and my plan. After this time I started playing. But only playing. No practice. Just going to games and play some tournaments. It went well and I overcame my fear of hurting myself again. So I am swinging freely again and I am back on the range. Not every day yet, but I am back.

This two months literally stopped my progress. I reached a 5 handicap and was moving forward to get better. But those two months derailed me totally. So I thought. Fact however is, that I have a set back, but that I am still in the race. My game suffered a little, but not too bad. Still playing very good rounds. I was able to practice so much, that even after this long period of laying, I shot one of the 2 best rounds of golf this year the 2nd round after I started playing. So, all the work was worth it.

The last few weeks were just playing a some practice. Won 1 AM event and followed up with my worst round of the year. Then played an ok round and followed up with a great round right after that. Rollercoaster golf. But not a big deal. I can live with that.

It gave me time to make a plan for next year and what needs to be done. After all, although we worked hard and accomplished much this year, we did not come close to what I wanted to do. Still no camper or RV, still a small team, still not at 2 or better and still no golf school visit.

So there is plenty to work on starting tomorrow!

2013 was a wonderful year. A wonderful golf year and a wonderful year in general. Certainly my golf game improved dramatically and I was able to show my future potential partners and sponsors that I have the will , the determination, the talent and the work ethic to get it done.

I learned a lot. On the course and off the course. About my game, about the game, about practice, about sponsoring, equipment, course management. I met wonderful people. Tour players, tour caddies, new friends. With all that I matured into a different golf player and maybe even person.

So I am very satisfied. We accomplished a lot. Using all the resources we had available and taking advantage of opportunities when they showed up.

I can not even tell you how thankful I am for my sponsors who without question were the main force behind me. Making it possible to play and practice on an almost professional level. My family who 100 % stands behind the task and offers support with believe, work, encouragement and more work.

It is a tremendous effort to reach the goal I set for myself. An effort to be done by many people. It is not a one man task. It is a group effort. A team coming together working on the ultimate goal, believing that nothing can stop them. Just like a football team running for the Superbowl. We are not a big team yet. But, this year we built something which will be the foundation for the coming year and years to come.

If you followed my blog. You found many things. Disappointment, joy, frustration and excitement. You learned about me, what I think and what I do. You got a true inside of what a person working on his dream and passion has on his mind and how he deals with situations on and off the course.

I received many comments and messages. All of them positive and I thank all for that. It is great to know that there are people who have an honest interest in your work, passion and in helping you. 2013 was a great year, no doubt about it. Now 2014 is waiting and it will be an even bigger year. More determination, more effort, more work. Another 365 days to professional golf and I will get it done.



Monday, December 16, 2013

West Florida Golf Tour - Last event at Bradenton Country Club

It was a good and successful year. I will write a recap of my year towards the end of this months. Today was the last event of the West Florida Am Tour for 2013. Bradenton Country Club is a nice and not easy track. My goal today was to try out my new GPS watch. A nice tool which will help to learn about my game and to score better. I had a rough start into the round. But it was not all bad. There were great bunker shots, good putts and a couple good tee shots. The back 9 was better. I scrambled along and the last 5 holes I actually played par again, which was satisfying. It is always good to be able to come back and play good holes after playing bad front 9s. Much more difficult than playing 9 good holes and stay on it. There is not much to criticize about my game. Had some wonderful and tough bunker shots, some incredible lob shots and very good drives.  I am not doing my regular practice and it shows in my short game and approach shots. But knowing the reason helps to handle those situations. My swing is good, my touch is fine, my mental set up absolutely OK. I believe if next year I am getting some professional help to get back on track ( looks like IMG or PGA in St. Augustine) I will find my old game and can move forward to better scores. Again, I will go in detail later this year. We accomplished so much.
My around at Tatum Ridge yesterday was good. Missed the 70s by 1, but am satisfied with what I am doing.
My old coach told me that I am like a Ferrari who needs some tweaking and I heard that again not too long ago. So let's get tweaked. It some times is difficult to handle the fact, that you know you can shoot great, but shoot OK, good and some times very good.
We had a good time again . The players on the West Florida Am Tour are nice and easy to get along with. There is some very good golfers in this group and I love the fact that we shoot for Pro Pins on Pro conditioned courses. Makes it really hard to play very low scores. The rest of the year I will just play some skins groups, keep it slow on practice and enjoy time with family. Probably do some practice at home , putting , chipping and using my net. Just take it easy. We have some ambitious goals for 2014 and a huge playing schedule. So a couple of weeks rest will do good :). I will keep all updated about what is going on and towards the end of this year I will analyze what I did, what we missed, how we build our team, who will be part of our team in 2014 and what the new goal is. So be patient and thank you for all the positive messages. It is great to know that there is plenty of people out there who believe 100 % , just as I do, that I can be playing on circuits again. Just a matter of time, believe and hard work.
Keep your emails coming. They keep me moving and working and staying on it.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A few days of rest can get your game back on track

Yes it is absolutely true. I did not think that I am tired after 3 days of golf, but I guess I was wrong. When I played last Monday and did not get a game going it for sure was mental and physical fatigue. There was no other explanation. I did not have pain and my mind was clear. So I just kept working for a few days and did not do much for golf, just one little session at Suncoast last Thursday. It was good. Took me a few balls, but then my drive was back to almost normal. Straight, long and consistent. My wedges were much better and my mid irons OK.
Friday I played Bobby Jones. Good skins game with good players. Had a good group going. My goal was to hit fairways and good drives. Secondly to hit some good shots and give myself opportunities attacking pins. Attacking pins always involves risk of finding traps and roughs. I was happy. Found 13 of 14 fairways from the blue tees ( which were tipped out yesterday) and averaged about 250 r 260. Not very long, but long enough to reach greens and go for pins. I felt comfortable with my driver and worked with about 80 % of my power. This is a good goal for this Sunday and Monday as well. Just use 80 % and get the ball in play. My approach shots were not that great. 180 to 150 was good. My 5 iron, which I use between 170 and 190 worked OK but I have to get some work done with that. My 6 through 8 were good and dependable. My wedges were good just not accurate enough to score well. Putting is very good. Biggest struggle at Bobby Jones are the traps of which I found 3 of them. They are so inconsistent. You never know what you get. Lots of sand, no sand, little sand, dark sand or whatever. It is like Christmas packages you open. You never know what you get. One trap in particular was funny. I try to hit a good shot from about 15 yards out of a huge trap. It was so soft I scooped out 2 or 3 inches of sand and moved the ball about 4 yards within the trap. So I figured I do it different. Just to find out that in this spot I had about 1 inch or less of sand to work with. Oh my. What an experience, but I knew it can happen so I did not even think about it for a minute. Come Sunday and Monday I will have nice traps to work with. But I am not planning to be in them anyway. After all I had a stretch of a few months not finding one single bunker anywhere. Much more enjoyable golf. So , I had a good round, accomplished some goals and had a good time with the group. Did not win any $, but there is another round coming. Today I will follow up with a short practice session at Terra Ceia. Just short game and then some driver and hybrid. 2 or 3 hours. Just a light session to be in shape for tomorrow at Tatum Ridge. Skins game with close to 90 players. Will be fun. Monday we are back at Bradenton Country Club. I am looking forward to it. Need to come back and confirm my first tournament. I am not affected by bad scores. It is something that happens when you play risky or when you are tired or not in focus. So , I will go out, do what I do best and have fun on this last WFGT tournament for this year. Holidays are coming up and my focus is shifting to family time. Although golf is my life and is what I like to do best, family always comes first in the end. But I elaborate on that maybe later, after practice or so. For now there is breakfast and coffee on the list.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Recap of a long weekend of golf

4 days of golf are over and I learned a lot. Started out at Carpris Isle on Friday , where I played a practice round or the weekend tournament. This Friday round had only one purpose. Map the course, get some feel for the course and learn about distances. It worked well. I just hit the ball , but from the get go had a strange feeling about my swing. It just was not there. Especially my drive. After hitting 90 of fairways for a while and having a driver average of 250+, I did ice not even get close to that on that. My right arm felling strange, no turn etc. However, we had a good time and I was able to accomplish what I wanted. As a nice bonus I made some money with a good birdie. First round of the tournament was interesting and nothing special. Again the same feeling with my swing. My right hand did not let go and I was not able to find any rhythm at all. My putting was ok though and I always could get the ball close to the hole and put out. As a team we played an ok round, but I was disappointed of what I could bring into it. This is a course where a par round should not be a problem. Went into Sunday with new and good spirits and we played better. I had a better feel and my drives were much better although still not like they were all year. Good rhythm. However, I was holding back all day long. Which resulted in short drives and short irons shots. But at least something was going well. My putting was very good and I was pleased with my short irons, which I was not able to play well the two days before. Two holes however, decided our finish. In a two men best ball event the idea is to have 1 ball in play at all times. We did not accomplish that. Two holes we both played in the water of the tee and were not able to get a bogey out of it. Pretty sad I have to say. The 4 extra strokes we got out of that literally cost us the win or being in the money. It was a fun weekend and a fun format. We won one skin. A birdie putt I made on 2. Not much money in it, but at least something. Overall I had fun. Clearly I miss my practice and the set back is bigger than I thought.
After the tournament I put my focus on Monday. The Ritz Carlton Members Club with the West Florida Golf Tour. One of my favorite tracks. I won 2 times there and got 1 second place. My last tournament good result was a Golf Channel Tour event not too long ago. A stroke play event were I came in second after playing a great round of golf. So I was looking forward to go out and bring in another good result.
I felt great. No pain and just a little tired from the weekend. My warm up indicated that I had a good feel with my short irons, ok with the mid and long irons , good with the hybrid. Yet again, my driver felt strange. However, I still could move it forward nicely.
It was a very interesting round of golf, which resulted in the worst score in over 1 year. It was pretty amazing. I hit 2 out of 14 fairways. On that course, not being in the fairway is an automatic extra stroke. The rough is difficult and getting balls out can be hard. I managed a couple times, but that was hit. When I was not in the rough, I was in the water. Incredible. I did not think it was possible to hit that many bad shots in one round of the tee. On par 3s I found the traps. I never get frustrated so I worked on every shot, never really finding any rhythm or confidence. My short irons were very good. I pulled of some incredible shots which probably saved me another 5 or 6 strokes and I actually had 3 birdie opportunities which were as close as 5 feet. But I made none of them.
I spend over 4 hours trying to get my swing back and was not able to make it happen. It is hard, when you shoot in the 70s for the most part of a year and your drives are straight and long and getting straighter and longer and all of a sudden you are facing a situation like that. Not good.
My sand shots where all very good. Giving myself chances to save par, which I did not, but the chance counts. Chipping was good, but not confident and a little short. But I was able to get it on. Only had one 3 putt. Now that is a good thing, but also shows how bad my game was on the course.
Overall it was a good learning experience. Maybe there was some mental fatigue in play , but in all honesty, I think it is the bigger picture. I did not practice one shot since September 8th. I go out there and play. This is wrong and I am not happy about it, but there was no other way to do it. This is a different player out there on the course and I do not like him. If you know you can shoot par or better and are not even close to that number, it takes plenty of mental strength to keep going and not let anyone disrupt your thoughts and goals. Here is the good news. I can not be disrupted. I know I can play par or better on any course, hit 300 yard drives and make it happen out there. But I also know what it takes to do all that. It takes time, practice, investments and a team of people who believe. Like Stacey says in here commercial. It takes practice, hard work, more hard work and the total believe that you can do it. Passion. You need to be able to block negative out and do not let bad days like that throw you of track. It is golf and things happen. Mentally I am absolutely fine. This had no impact on my goal or game. Reset and move forward. The only challenge I currently have is practice. I should be out 2 times a day working on my game and get ready to join IMG to pursue new levels. However, I am not. Have to work and due to some other factors there is no way I can do what I need to do. We have one more tournament this year and I will put my effort and focus on that one event to finish with a good round of golf. Then this year is over and we will see where we stand with my game, our team, our complete set up. First I will focus on this one event at Bradenton Country Club and after that I will go through the year and put together a report on myself :). It is 8 am and I should be getting ready for the range. Yet, I am getting ready for work. If things go well and my body holds up nice, I can go practice or even play a skins game later this afternoon. But we will have to see how things go.
One thing is for sure. I love this game and I can not wait to get out again. No matter what round I put on the card, I would not want to be anywhere else other than a golf course for work and fun. Well, other then off time.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Laurel Oaks Country Club East - West Florida Golf Tour Event and the week in the making

My first event on this tour went well. That is what I can say. We played on a course which I like and I was able to play a good round. Even though I made some mistakes and was not 100 %, I was able to shoot a nice 78. 6 over par with one double bogey. Not bad at all I must say. It brought me a nice win and some spending money for the pro shop. Unfortunately none of my skins held up. Amazing how many birdies people play. Most important was that I accomplished some other goals. 1. I was planning to hit 14 fairways. Although I did not hit 14, I did find 13 and that is a very good ratio. 2. No 3 putts. Despite me being away as far as 60 feet on tough greens, I accomplished this very important number and I am truly happy about it. I love to putt on fast greens and they were fast and in good shape. Those were the two most important things I tried to work on. Further I worked on hitting draws of the tee, which worked ok but there is lots to work on. Also it is worthy to mention that I did not find one single sand trap. I like that fact. Not that I do not feel comfortable in any sand trap, but for sure it is better to not be in it. No penalty stroke. My one errand drive was behind a tree on a 420 par 4. I punched it into the fairway of the other hole and had a blind shot over a ton of trees. 180 or so. I put it within 9 feet. Missed the putt. Was a great shot. The putt was downhill and fast and I over read the break. A great start into the season and with my set back because of my injury, I am very happy with what I did. Official money leader. No matter how you get there, lead is lead :) .
1 day rest after that. Well, it really was not rest. Had to remodel the bed room floor. Big project and it took me much longer than I thought it will. No rest for this golfer. But it worked out fine and it needed to be done. After all this is part of our life as well. Today there is some work on the agenda and short practice. Nothing to big. Just focus on putting and some shipping.
Next tournament coming up is a two men best ball at Capri Isle Golf Course in Venice. Never played there but heard good things about the golf course. Must be tough, nice greens. This is an interesting format and I will play with Adam Zaidel again. Good player and friend. He did well at Laurel Oaks as well. As a matter of fact Adam played a great round there and had a good finish and good earnings. It is always fun to play well and have all friends play well ( I have to mention that my group won big time last Monday overall). So we will play a practice round on Friday and see how the course is. I hope the greens are fast. West Florida Golf Tour at Ritz Carlton Members Club is coming up and the greens are extremely fast there. So it would be nice to find some fast greens in Venice. It is exciting. I love the game, I love to compete and I love to be out there. This is what I like to do. For now, making a living is hard. But those times will change soon. Give it some more time. I am a little behind with my plan, but I am truly moving forward. And honestly, it is not all about winning $ and so on. It is also about living a passion and a dream and that is what I am working on. Ok, breakfast and then getting ready for take off. I will be back later and update a little on plans and dreams. My back is all good and that gives me new energy.

Monday, December 2, 2013

West Florida Amateur Golf Tour - winter season starts and I am in

Today is the day I have been waiting for. The West Florida Amateur Golf Tour stats again and I am in and ready to go. Well, ready to go is a thing of definition. I am healthy enough to play and my back is good to go. But I missed 2 months of practice and that will be a little difficult to make up . However, it does not change the fact that I am excited to play and go out and compete. It will be different than I thought. The idea was to be fully prepared for the winter season and play tournaments which will catapult me into the pro circuit of this tour. This will be a little slower then I had in mind. Nothing I can do about it. Fact is , that my practice I did over the past 12 months changed my game and brought me to a different level of golf and mental approach. Now I will apply what I have over the next few weeks. I start practice this week. Slowly working about 10 hours on my game this week. I play this event at Laurel Oaks Country Club to begin with. Laurel Oaks Country Club is one of my favorites. We play the East Course on which I won before and which I like very much. It always has been good to me and I feel like I have a connection to this side. We will see how this course and I will connect today.
The West Florida Amateur Golf Tour is a good test. Great courses with Pro Pin Placement and a small but good field. I am excited.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday it will be practice at Terra Ceia Bay Golf Club. I have not been practicing in over 2 months, but feel that I am ready to start again and work towards my goals. Friday we have a practice round at Capris Isle Golf Club in Venice. There we will play a two men best ball tournament. I am partnering with Adam Zaidel. Good friend of mine and a very good golfer. This will be a German team up ( although I am American , I am born in Germany after all ). I think we will complement us nicely and have a good chance to get into some winning ranks of this Cadillac sponsored event. Followed by December 9th at the Ritz Carlton Members Club with the West Florida Amateur Golf Tour. I love , this is my life , this is what I like to do and this is where I feel that I am alive and happy. It is very early. I could not sleep anymore. I am excited and ready to go. Hope it is not too cold this morning. But then again, better then too humid.
First on the agenda of getting ready: Coffee, little breakfast and water. Plenty of water. No doubt , you will read a recap of today's event later.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The year goes towards the end and I am thankful for what I accomplished

I realize that this year is not over yet. But the next few weeks will not make a huge difference in the outcome of 2013 and the tremendous goal
It was an exciting year with many accomplishments and big steps forward towards my dreams and goals. While I end up short this time, I can not find one negative aspect of this entire mission. 2 months I was injured and could not practice and yet I was able to play some of my best golf in years. I will start practice, diet and workout again this coming. This is already in preparation for a huge 2014. There is a few tournaments left for this year. Capris Isle two men, WFGT and some skins. All those to finish out a great golfing year. But my full recap will be posted in January. I am happy, thankful and more confident than ever. There is no doubt in myq mind, that I am on track. So reset goals and time frames.Make new plans and keep going. That is what I will do.Last Friday I played a good but difficult golf round. It showed me one more time how difficult it can be to stay in focus when negativity is around you. So more than ever I will make sure to surround myself with positive people. People who believe in my goal and are willing to give and help. Nothing new and yetq so crucial. But for today and tomorrow ny focus is on getting some other things done.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Comeback after over 4 weeks of injury - Bobby Jones Golf Complex Skins tournament

Friday the 15th of  November was the day. Finally I thought I will be back an see that I have some fun doing what I like most. So I got all my stuff ready and let Bubba know that I am in the game again.
The plan was to stretch as good as I can and warm up nicely. However, I was running late yet again. So I had to do a short version of the warm up session. Which in that case was fine. I did not want to hit to many balls anyway and take it easy even before we started. Signed up and got myself a small bucket of balls. First I did some stretching for my back and it felt good. I still have a strange feeling when I lean backwards, but it is much better and it is not hurting, just a strange feeling I can not describe. Next I warmed up with wedges, 7 iron, 5 iron and a few hybrids. About 40 balls and I have to say that my wedges looked pretty good. 7 iron looked pretty good also. My 5 iron and hybrid looked pretty insecure, but that is not a surprise. After weeks of not hitting any balls or even have a club in my hand, I did not expect to hit great shots right away. I did not swing any woods at all on the range. I kept it short and then went on to do a few chips and putts. This all looked good. I think I reached a point where I can chip and putt any time. That does not mean I will not practice any more in that matter. As a matter of fact, my practice for the most part is around the green all the time.

We started on time and I had a good group. All pretty good golfers and people I like to play with.
The first tee was really strange. I was not exactly sure how hard I should swing, turn or whatever I should do. So I decided to simply start slow and move the ball forward one shot at a time ( as I should do it all the time anyway). My first tee shot was straight down the middle exactly where I wanted it. My first approach was right over the trees and on the green for my first GR and a birdie chance. I was pleased with both shots and right away felt that I will be able to increase my swing hole by hole. I made a good par to start with. My next tee shot I gave a little more and again had a great tee off. So I was confident to play good on the front 9.

So I did. Except 2 tee shots which one cost me a bogey all my tee shots were good on the front 9 and I was able to play a solid 5 over par. Not that this is a good score, but for not playing all this time I was pretty satisfied. Not hurting and feeling good I made the decision to play 80 to 90 percent on the back 9.

Started with a good drive on 10, GR and then missed the birdie putt close. My drive on 11 I put all the way to the right over the trees, but when I got there I had a shot at the green from besides the tree and over another one , clearing the bunker to a back pin. Ball was sitting on sand which was not so good. About 180 to the pin. I made a commitment and gave it a go to hit it over the tree, clear the bunker. Pulled off a great golf shot which left me 12 foot for another birdie, which lipped out. No doubt, that this was a great  shot.

12 I missed the green but had a super LW within 2 feet and saved par. Putted for birdie on 13, 14 and made 13. 14 I was short with my approach but chipped it within 9 inch. 16 I putted for birdie again and missed it by an inch. On 17 I hit a wonderful 7 iron with in 5 feet and made a difficult down hill putt for birdie. 18 I putt it within 8 feet for another down hill birdie putt which lipped out again. However, I played the back 9 2 under par for a 34. That left me with a 75 and in fact with the best round on that course in 2013! Now that was a bummer. I lipped 3 birdie putts and missed another 3 by inch or less and had one double bogey and yet I finished 3 over par . Not even playing with 100 % force and not yet sure I am all in good shape. Go figure.

My putting was doing well, my chips were no good except 2 of them, my drives were straight but not huge. Although I had a utility club in on the par 5 hole 14 which I put it on the edge of the green from 245 out.

There were some great shots and some very good putts. Good course management and I was very calm. It gave me 2 closest to the pin, 1 skin and some other winnings. So that was a good start back into the game. It showed me, that all the work I did this year was worth it. I was able to come back without practice and play and yet shoot one off my better rounds this year by playing with about 80 % power. Now that tells me something right there.

Coming home I felt great and the next day I had no issues at all with my body. So I think, I can slowly start working my way back into my practice routine and playing routine. Just need to keep it easy and focus on the right things on the course. I stretched in between and did nothing wild from difficult lies. Just moved the ball and gave myself opportunities when I could. Really was reading the greens well. Looked at every putt from all 4 sides and made sure I have a good overview. It paid off greatly and I will make sure I will do it the same way from here on.

I will not do any practice or play until about Tuesday. Just resting my back even more and do some putting and chipping at home and then start going to the range on Wednesday. Maybe we play in Capris Isle on Friday. There is a two men best ball tournament and I play with a good friend there. Since we never played there , it would be good to drive down there and see how the course is. Same before the tournament.

I am truly excited about the West Florida Amateur Tour, which starts on December 2nd at Laurel Oaks Country Club. For sure I am in this game. One of my favorite courses to play and I like the group which is playing there. Is a little more expensive, but good price money and good skins and most important , good practice for playing on fast greens and tough courses. That will help for next year. There is huge plans for next year and I better be in shape and continue to work hard. I want to move on to higher things. But that is a complete new entry :). For now , I am excited that I had a good come back at Bobby Jones and that I feel good. We will take it from here and see how things develop.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Starting practice after an injury

Ok, the time has come. I feel much better. No pain when walking around or moving. No pain when waking up. So , we made progress. This week I will start practicing again. Very slowly.
There is two tournaments coming up at the beginning of December and I am planning to play both of them. I am excited to get back in the game. It is horrible when you can not do what you do , breath and live. But this week we will take it slow. Putting, some chipping and some pitching. Might add some woods to it. One at a time. I will see how I feel. It is a matter of starting slow and then add to it. Most important part of my game and in every great golfers game , is the short game. So I will chip a ton, pitch a ton and putt a ton. I am fine with my driver. I know that I can hit it straight out there. Just take it slow and do not go for distance. Also I have a new stretching regiment which I will do before every round and practice now. This will help to avoid things like I had or even still have. If things go well I might go and play at Bobby Jones this Friday. Although I would like to play Saturday in Venice I think it is to early to go for two rounds. Need to wait for another week.
We will also add some different diet and again I will go back to some Nutrition which helped me greatly before. I will report about it when the time comes in a few days. For now I thank you all for following, visiting and joining my fan page on Facebook. Also for the tips and ideas on how to get better. I will implement some of it for sure. Some of the ideas and tips will have to wait for various reasons. One thing is for sure. I will finish this year only very little short of the goal. Which that means: Reset goal and extend plan. I am more excited then ever about what I am doing and will do and there is great things to come. What I am most happy about is the fact , that I have enough time to get it done. Meaning, being 45 really helps. But I am aware that time flies and that I need to stay in focus. For now I will prepare a BBQ and Salad for the rest of this Veterans day. Which I observe thinking of all the veterans and foremost thinking about my grandpas and grandmas as well as one person I can thank for my middle name. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Setting priorities in professional golf and life and how they both work together

Priorities dictated which way you go and how your journey will look like. Mine are pretty clear in most aspects and I can assure you, life gets much easier when you are totally clear on where you want to go and what your approach is. I have never felt more confident in my plan and in my goal. Both, short term and long term. It feels great to wake in the morning and besides being thankful, to have no worries but a clear vision of what to do next and what the goal is.
 
Being in this position my current status might not be fun and exciting, but it is relatively easy to go through. For almost 4 weeks I was not able to practice now. Just some putting. Played 2 days last week and although not a huge mistake, it might not have been the bet idea. On the other hand, I learned that I am not ready yet and need to keep healing.
 
This all has a huge impact on my regular life. One of the things which plague a future professional of any age is finances. Now , I am a very lucky guy and my situation is good. But what does good mean? Good mean, that I have no worries. I do not have to worry food, housing and so on. This is a huge factor in order to have s settled mind. Also good means, that I am not alone and have , at this point, supporters or if you want sponsors, which help greatly to make things happen. Last I have a great partner, who is supporting the plan and everything what comes with it.
 
Yet, all this is still only a start. Meaning I am working on business and even at times try to work on the side for other friends and companies. Now here comes the impact and the decisions to be made.
Working on our business is easy. I can do that from home and mostly on this laptop. For that I do not even have to sit and when in focus I get things done. This is our future. It is long term and easy to get done.
 
Working outside is a totally different story. It is a good way to support the cause and at this point in my career, I can use every single paid hour I can get. Now that is a challenge right now. There is plenty of opportunity to go and get hours in. But all of them are physical and hard work. I probably could do it right now. Just take enough pills and make it through the day and then through the night and so on. But what impact would it have on my golf game and plan? We will never know, because I am not taking the risk. No matter what. I will sit, rest and certainly not risk to get a long term injury. Now there a life impact decision. It is all about where your priorities are. So if you decide to work on a pro golf career or even thee attempt to get there, you are better ready to sacrifice all kinds of things and without hesitation. It can be hard and it is an emotional struggle at times. But envision your goal and the rewards coming with it and it will all get easier. Times like that are breaking points for some. To me, that is just a test to show that I am serious about what I am doing and will not let anything push me of my route and way.
 
All that said, I feel good just sitting here and doing work which is equally important in my life and not move much, turning down income opportunities and working on our future not a temporary fix. In terms of how I feel I share my Fan Page entry on Facebook.
 
Looks like a nice day out and certainly the temperature is perfect for a practice session. But I will stay put and keep resting my body, my muscles and my back. The best advice from a specialist was to keep resting. 2 to 6 weeks is the time frame estimate for a case like that. Well , I am in week 4. Only after that fact that all is gone I shall go any further with a doc. My pain is gone. I actually can turn nicely and no more problems sleeping. So big steps forward with all things. Yet, there is an uneasy feeling when I do certain movements. When we talk about the future, we talk about my career. The fact that I am planning to play golf in the coming years and earn income with that. So, the priority is clear and long term. Rest, let everything heal 110 %. I tell you, this is not easy. There is so many things to do. It is hard for me to just sit, stretch, eat, lay down and so on. But it needs to be done this way no matter what. I made great progress with my writing work. Soon there is more published in my blogs and sites and articles. Surely all in this group will hear about it . Also I made great progress with my mental training and my Spanish learning. Both I need to put more time in. But at least I am on it now. The Big Picture is getting all together. Like a puzzle , one piece at a time. I am thankful to have so many people crossing their fingers, many supporting me with writing, calling and in other ways. I can not tell you, how nice it is to receive a phone call from a loved one who shows support no matter what it is about . OK, enough rambling. Breakfast and a long list of thing to be done online is waiting LOL. Off into a new day and thankful for that big time.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Feeling much better after this week's rest

Felling better one step at a time. I knew it will take a while to get better but I just did not think it will take that long. Thing is that I am not hurting much anymore and yet stil have a strange feeling in my lower back when I do certain moves. That concerns me a little. But I trust it will work out. After the weekend we will see where we stand. I was planning to play the City Championship of Bradenton next weekend and I think it will now ok. The good news is that I get other things done, which is very important also. Although it is true that playing golf and practicie is very important, there is also many other parts to be managed and done to make it happen and the better t the result.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Another day rest for a future pro golfer

So there we go and I still need to add some more rest. I find it amazing how long it takes. Makes me wonder if age really plays a role. The goal is to be fit on November 7th for the Bradenton City Championship , but I am not so sure you if it will work out as I like it. I simply can not practice. Maybe some chipping. But in view of the upcoming months, I will play it safe and try to be as cautious as possible. What I do now will have a huge impact next year.
This will give me plenty of time to work on many other things which are directly related to the ultimate goal. Like weight, online business, fan pages , practice plans and much more. So It surely is not boring. Just different. Thank you for all the comments and messages. No doubt , that I will apply some of the advise I have received. It seems like there is plenty of golfers who experienced things like that in their golf career. Who better to learn from then from someone who has experience with that? That is it for today. Tomorrow is another day and surely I will have to report more about the overall progress and situation of the plan.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Recap of Sarasota 2 men better ball and news about injury

So the weekend is over and although it was perfect weather and great golf course conditions , the golf tournament I played was a painful experience. In many ways that is. Physically and mentally. After 2 weeks of rest after hurting myself in a yet different tournament, I was excited to get out and play. Golf is my life and my passion. Something I like to do for a living and as a hobby. So you maybe able to imagine how it feels when I can not go practice or play. It is a test which is hard to pass.
When I did some practice on Friday before the tournament, about an hour, I felt good chipping and putting. As a matter of fact, my chipping was very good. I did not work from the rough or tough lies as I usually do because I did not want to hit into the ground or anything. I only hit very few woods and hybrids and did not use a full swing or turn. So it felt fine, but not all the way healed.
Never the less I was ready on Saturday morning to go out and give it my best and have some fun. My warm up was about 25 min. I did not want to do too much. Just stretching, which felt not that good, and some swings, which worked out great. .A new challenge was my right foot. I am not sure why, but it hurt badly when I moved it and it felt like a few months ago when I overdid my practice and had soar ankles. So walking was no fun. But more important, I had a little challenge with my set up for my drive. While on the course  it only took me 2 holes to figure out that I have very limited ability to turn. This mostly was a result of a mental error. I simply had fear in my mind. Fear to get hurt again or to get the old injury back because it was not healed all the way. This mental state lead to many bad shots. Yes I had good shots as well when I was able to block out things and give 100 % focus to the task and shot on hand. So we played along and did the best we could. I was not able to bring my best game to the table. That had some impact on my partner as well. Surely he brought some confidence in my strong game. After 18 holes I have to say that I was happy to be done. I enjoyed the weather , the company, the nature and the fact that I was outside my four walls. But I was not to excited about the result. So , when we sat down after the round for a beer and some social activity, we set new goals for the next day. Funny how the beer helped to lose some pain and relax the mind. Had a relaxing evening at home and then at a little bar in our town where we had a couple drinks. That really helped to get my mind of my physical condition.
The next day my tee time was 8 10 am. Not a time which I would choose to play golf. That is why it is so important to be in the top 3rd of the field. The better you are the later you start on Sunday. But not this time. I was up at 5 30 am and it was way to early. But I patiently got ready. I felt that my back was a little worse than the day before. But my foot was better. When I got to the course I had about 20 minutes to warm up. My focus was on stretching. So that is what I did . I did hit a few balls and was not too excited about the feel I had, but was not hurting too much. I started out OK with some good tee shots but immediately felt a little pinch in my left side every time I turned or bent down to pick up my ball or tee it up. That was not every enjoyable. I did the best I could to go through the ball when chipping or with my iron shots, but for the most part only made it half through and then got stuck. That resulted in many more bad shots. Approach shots to the right and short , chips which I chunked or left short. My drive was acceptable. So I was able to get it in play, but my second shot often was a disaster. Biggest challenge was my utility club of the fairway. I did not go through the ball and certainly did not turn my hip. On shot in particular was not easy. The fairway bunker. Usually I am not in it. As a matter of fact. The past 2 months at least I hit over 80 % fairways and pretty much never hit any trap. This weekend alone I was in 5 or 6 traps. More then in over a dozen rounds before that. Maybe even more. I easily handled the green side bunker shots. Only had one miss hit from there. But my fairway trap shots both ended up in disaster as well. 1 I tried to play my utility club, which I always do, but pretty much stopped in the back swing. So I came in totally wrong into this ball and hit the lip. My ball never left the trap. I changed clubs and was able to get it out and move it forward. Both shots hurt tremendously. Luckily I only had one more fairway bunker shot and I handled it a little better. Throughout the round my pinch got worse, resulting in my focus from being on the task switching to trying not get hurt or move the part which was hurting. It was a mental fight which I did not handle well and lost all the way. Only a few times I got myself to actually swing through the ball and do what I do. Funny, when I did that I had great golf shots LOL. Honestly. The second 9 I pretty much had my goal set on making it through the round and avoid big disasters. I gave myself a couple opportunities , but could not convert.
When I was done, I was done. On the last hole I played my best drive outdriving my partners by 40 yards. However, this was the shot which hurt most. My approach I put right on the green for a chance to make a birdie in the end. This shot also took a lot of me, but it was nice to show that I can do this easily if I am in shape.
Our round was actually worse then the day before. Not by much, but worse. So for the first time since entering tournaments at Bobby Jones I did not win my flight. Sad, but acceptable because of the circumstances. I do not believe the result would have been possible otherwise.
Because I could not sit or stand too long I took of right away , not spending much time with my friends, which I usually do. I felt my back at home, but was hoping that it will be better in the morning. The exact opposite is the case. I woke up with my entire back hurting yet again. Not as much and in a different matter than 2 weeks ago, but it hurts. More in some positions, less in others.
So , I will be confined to our home again and this time I will go through with it so, that I will be fit for the next tournament in two weeks. I have no doubt that in that time I can get back to where I need to be.
I learned a lot about me, my game and the game itself during this weekends play. There is plenty for me to work on mentally that is for sure. Also I need to learn back up swings for occasions like that. I also learned that I can still have fun, although not playing well. One thing is for sure, in order to play my best golf and be ready to compete , my body needs to be in good shape and my mental state needs to be without doubts and fear in any situation. So there is plenty to work on. We started on the physical part and will continue starting this week. Not stopping until my weight and fitness goal has been reached 100 %. Whatever it takes.
Further I start my mental practice again. Meditation, self help and so on. This will help to get more control of my mind. My swing is good. There is some work to be done, but that will have to wait.

Besides having a good time anyway I also met some great new friends. One of them being a caddy on the LPGA tour. Great guy and more then happy to connect and build a relationship. He also told me that he would caddy for men. You can hire him for a tournament and so on. He offered to help me when the time comes. So that is exciting :). Further I met some old friends. It is a nice feeling when people walk up to you and congratulate you for a win or good result in a different tournament or ask where you have been because they did not see you in 2 weeks and were wondering. There was honest concern about my well being and that is a good feeling.

Well. There we go. That was my weekend. Despite all the things I had a good time with my friends and was thankful to be out in the nature. It was like on vacation. Today I will rest and see how the back develops. I sincerely hope I can get it back in shape soon. But, before I go out again, I need to feel 100 % sure, that all is gone. Biggest challenge is the fact , that this will set me back at least 2 months. So my original time frame is behind now. Further I will not be able to get into the golf school as I was whishing for.

Considering the delay for that and the practice time I would need to implement what I have learned, there is another month. This is not good, but out of my hand at this point. That is the life of a golfer and if you depend on your game to earn your money, this is serious and needs to be handled as such. But even that part I love :). So back to planning, writing, organizing and so on. Oh and if there is suggestions for getting a soar back healed faster, bring it on.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

2 men better ball tournament in Sarasota

It now has been 9 days since I injured myself and I am still not all the way healed. This is driving me nuts. No practice, no play, no nothing. Sure, I have fun writing blogs, reviews, Skype with family and friends and make plans. But honestly, I rather be playing golf, practicing, fishing or standing on a bar with view on the water having a beer.
Oh well. I need to be in good shape, so I stick it out, on the couch LOL.
Today was 90 % rest. Heat pads, massage and so on. Feels great. I am confident that I am ready for this weeks tournament. It is a two men better ball. So each player plays his own ball and then you take the better score. That will help. While playing it will be interesting. I know for a fact, that my mind will try to hinder me to swing full because of fear of hurting myself. Luckily I know that 1) Pain is a mental matter and 2) fear really does not exist as a fact, but as a mental error and protection mechanism. So I will be fine. Maybe I play even better. Whenever I do not swing fully , I play more straight and score better :).
right now I am hitting 80 % fairways in average. I would like to keep it up and work on distance. As a matter of fact , the week after I got hurt, that is what I was planning to work on. So I will continue after the Sarasota Two Men in preparation for the Bradenton City Championship in November. The last test before I go back to the West Florida Golf Tour , FSGA and later Golf Channel Tour. Already it looks like I will have plus days to the original timing. How I will mark that I will let you know.
But it only makes sense to keep playing the AM tournaments. With the GHIN now being at 6.0 I am good, but not good enough. With the 2 week break I am not sure how it will go.
I need a 2.0 before I can enter the tournaments I like to enter. Sounds easy. 4 strokes. But it is huge. A huge step forward. My weight loss goes extremely well . I am getting to closer to my first bigger goal. Another lbs or 2 and we are there. But still long ways to go and then back to the gym and build golf muscle. Naturally I will do that with work out and nutrition products like Herbalife 24. But there is a broad spectrum of things which need to be done.
Not that I am turning into a fitness fanatic. Far from that. I love beer, food and the good life. But you can have both if you do it moderate and at the right time. The day before a large tournament is not that day to go out til late am and have cocktails and I stopped drinking on the course all together. Well maybe some charity events are different LOL.
So I am excited to say that my approach is by far more professional in that matter as well. It is a forming process I think. Another step in the making is a professional school, trainings cam or something. Not sure yet when, where and how and with whom. But I do know, that at one point I will have to consider it. Unless I am getting convinced I am Bubba or Lee or ChiChi LOL. Well, for now, back on the couch heat pad.
If there is anyone out there with suggestion for helping my back muscles. I am open. I like natural things and need to find out when and what to start stretching things again. So , comment and write . I appreciate it all.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Trying to get my back injury in order

It has been 4 days now and my back is getting better. But it takes time. In reality I would need to lay in bed all day and all night to get it done fast. But I tell you , that is pretty difficult. There is so much work to do, there is so much to read and to study. Also there is house work to be done. But I guess, I just have to let it go. So far I am using Ibuprofen, Stopain spray, Salonpas pads. Also I apply heat and cold. Most funny part the position I have to lay in to not hurt is all is so strange, that I only can hold it on the couch and only for so long. But, I try to do it as often as possible.
All play is cancelled for this weekend and I am not even sure if I can play next week. But I think I will enter the tournament for next weekend. This should be plenty of time to get well.
Meanwhile there will not be much to post. I am working on my review blog. One review and step at a time. Did you check it out yet?

Golf reviews

I write reviews about all kinds of products, tournaments, tours, courses and shops. This will be a great data base for anyone who likes golf and who likes Florida. Since I live in Florida, many course reviews are from this area. The goal is to have 1000 reviews by the end of the year. A huge goal, but a good goal. There is also updates and links to other sites and blogs.

That and the planning for the next few months and next year will give me enough to do to keep me really business the next few days. Needs to be done anyway.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Great weekend with a liltle painful end - Bobby Jones Golf Complex, Lake Venice Golf and IMG Academy

Ok, the weekend is over. I can report two very good round of golf. One at Bobby Jones Golf Complex in Sarasota where I shot some good golf despite bad fairways and bad greens. Made some $ and am satisfied. On Saturday another very good round at Lake Venice Golf Club. Again, the conditions are far from being normal. Fairways are muddy , greens are still not rolling, but it is playable. Again shot some good birdies and was able to get some $ in. I am at a point, where I know wright from the first tee, that I will shot well and that I can handle any situation. It feels great and it shows . I am gaining experience and make more and more better decisions. That is what I call growth. Gaining maturity on the course. Sunday I wanted to put my game to the test on IMG Academy Golf Course. I started ...out well on the front 9, only making a couple mistakes including missing 3 very makeable birdie putts and one par three way over hit, but pared. Towards the end however I felt a little strange in my back . I am not 100 % sure, but I think it was on 7,8 or 9 where I did something which started to hurt in my back. I bit my teeth and started out well on 10 and 11, not being able to turn well, I still had birdie opportunities. My tee of on 12 was painful. Missed the fairway, which was fine. I had a shot at the green from 140 and I do not mind fairway bunkers at all. However, I ended up short and wanted to get a LW close. Uphill lie. Hitting a full LW means turning your hips well and that was a dump decision. I hurt in my back swing and came back to fast and took out a huge divot and did not move the ball more then 15 yards, tried to pitch it close but it was too late. Took a 6 on that one. Same thing happened on 13. Drive was very good. Approach miss hit. From here on I tried to do damage control and kin of played shots like punch shots. My driver worked fine using my hands but my irons had challenges. Still hit 3 out of 4 greens in regulation, but leaving very long putts. I was hurting all afternoon and had a painful night. I guess, when you turn 45 you need to warm up better. So today we start our fitness plan up again. 20 days. No alcohol, controlled eating and slow build of muscles and loss of weight. Mostly I will write and ready today .Hope to be able to play next week in North Port for the City Championship. But we will see.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Venice Open 2013 - First Round Recap

So the first round is done and over and it was a mixed one. There is no range on the course. That made it very hard to get warmed up and get muscles lose. I am sure if I would have know the area, I could have gone, I found out later, there is a range 2 miles away.
The goal was clear. Shot in the 70s and target the Championship flight and 1st flight.
Had a rough start right away. Shooting 2 bogeys. On 1 I had a bad chip and had to two putt. On 2 my drive found the fairway trap right by the edge and I had to hit a short shot into the fairway. Could not get it close again, but was happy with a bogey. From here on, I was cruising along. Had two more bogeys and the rest all pars. Considering the fact I had 1 3 putt on a par 3, 2 shots behind trees and one mud divot. I was not unhappy to come in with a 40. The back 9 started with two bogeys and a par right away , but then I moved on nicely , just getting the ball in play and trying to give myself some opportunities. However, I was not able to keep the ball straight and dealt again , with trees, chip outs, another bunker. But I made a great birdie on 15. Again under a tree with my drive, I got it close to the green and chipped it in for a nice birdie.  1 over on the back 9 I came to 16. Found the rough yet again and after a not so good chip, had to take a bogey. So back to 2 over par. There came 17. The par 4 which you can hit over the pond, kind of a blind shot, and get it close or even on for the longer hitters. I laid it up again. Perfect utility which  left me 165. But again, mud divot. This is not a shot you practice. So I decided to go for a punch towards the green , just to get it close and trust my chipping. Did not work. It got away to the right after I was not able to hang on to the club. Found the water to the right by a few feet. While going there I was not to concerned, until I found the entry spot. I had a tight drop area, all sand with a couple trees in front of me and the bunker right there as well. Not pretty.  Was an OK drop. But I did not make solid contact  and got lucky that was stopped by some rough in front of the green.  Chipped it within 6 feet. But I missed my double bogey putt. Wow. There we go. Triple bogey on 17 put me at 5 over and the tough 18 still coming up.
18 at Lake Venice is an app 200 par 3 with water all along the right sight and in front. A bunker on the right side of the green to keep you from playing a lay up. To the right there is some brushes and then 2 cart path and the 9 green.
Intimidating for sure. However,
I was determined to get it on there.
Had my 5 iron in my hand for the 187 shot but felt some wind all of a sudden. Checked the trees and saw nothing, but I changed to my 3 hybrid anyway. Good decision. I went a little to much left, but made it on the fringe. Getting there I saw a 35 down hill putt looking at me. But I had no doubt in my mind, I will get it close. So I did and left myself 4 1/2 foot for par. I had to step back 2 times, but then made the putt.

In all. I found 2 traps, had to chip out behind 2 trees, approach the green 2 times from under a tree and play a fade around trees two times on par fifes to get a shot at the green with my third.

Not sure if that covers it all.

Considering the wet conditions and the fairways as they were, 81 was a pretty good score.

I am in about 18th place. So I did not make the Championship Flight. But I know most people playing in it and they all , without exception , have one thing in common. They are 30 to 40 yards longer of the tee and much longer with their woods in the fairway. That leads to plenty of shots with shorter irons, which are much easier to control when approaching the green.

Which brings me back to the same old story. I need a longer drive. More speed and more power. But , that is what we are working on. Meanwhile I am very happy on how I handle the course with all the challenges.

On a good note. I made it in the first flight and am either leading it or tied for second. Which gives me a real shot at the win of this flight.

2 times I came from the second position at the Sarasota Championship to win the flight. So I feel comfortable in this position. As I feel comfortable in any other as well.

Another great point is, that my tee off is at 10 10 am. An advantage when you play well and I now know that there is a driving range. Meaning, I can actually warm up and get my muscles lose and get some feel. This should help to have a smoother start.

A review about the Venice Open I will write on Monday. So far, all is good, friendly and we got a nice shirt.

Just found this article and it confirms what I felt and found and wrote as well. Many mud balls , which are much easier to control with wedges, which you hit more often when you have longer drives.

http://golf.heraldtribune.com/2013/10/05/visacki-walters-1-2-in-city-of-venice-championship/

I play with Phil and Mike at least once a week. Great players. But the only real difference is the tee off. Mike is 30 to 50 yards longer on each drive and wood shot. Phil is about 20 to 40 yards longer. Around the green they have no advantage and on the green they do not either.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Bobby Jones Golf Complex - Friday skins game

For the first time in months, the course was in OK condition. It was almost all dry and they started to repair the fairways and work on the greens.
While they have long ways to go, we were able to play a decent round of golf.
Goal today was to test the knee and not overdue it. It worked out well. I hit OK drives through out the round, trying not to turn too much. But while holding back I lost some distance. Which on this course was not a huge challenge but left me with some long approach shots I did not feel comfortable with. However, I managed to get the ball to the greens and also was able to put some GRs on my card. My short game was excellent. Everything from 120 in is my game and I will build on that. Some great chipping.
Again had trouble with my putts. But I will not overate it. The greens are still in bad condition and a straight putt is a bonus. Speed of the greens seems to be different throughout the course, which is a little harder to adjust.
In the end I got of the course with a 79. Again not too exciting, but pretty true to the round I played. With some putts missed and some approach shots left short, the 7 shots to par are easy to find. No surprise what I am working on after this weekend.
My knee is fine, but I have it in my head all the time. So tomorrows task will be to get everything out of my mind and just play my game.
My tee time is 10 30 am. They tried to put me out earlier, but I declined. I like the later tee time. It gives me time to get there and maybe on the way to warm up. They do not have a range there and with my routine and back it would be better to have my 45 min warm up before the round. I will see what I can do. I might be able to stop somewhere along the way and so some warm up.
The weather should be good tomorrow , as it was today and so we are back in better conditions to score. Not sure how the course is. But I have a feeling it will be dry and the greens fast. Just as I like it. We have October and this weekend is yet another test to find out how all the practice is working out. What was interesting today was, that there were actually players in the group who were willing to bet on scores. Amazing how they think they actually can judge that. But that is why they play as they play and where they play. They give statements based on their game or what they were able to put on a score card. Interesting and actually funny :) . But my group was excited about my game and wished me success and good luck. A couple of those guys are great golfers and have a much better understanding of the game then most others. I will cross my fingers to have some of those positive players with me tomorrow in my group. But then again, it does not matter. You have to play with who you are put together. I will just be quiet and do my thing. That is what I like best. Actually I found, that most of the very good players, do not speak a lot. Some times I wonder what % of good players talks all the time and what % just goes about the game :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A well earned break from golf, diet and work out

Not that this day was a voluntary break of anything, but it was, on the other hand, well earned.
After a ton of practice, a very strict diet plan and lots of mental practice my body seemed to have had a little challenge. Yesterday my knew was really hurting strangely. I rested it in the afternoon yesterday and I did not do any practice today. No work out in the gym and we have a 4 day break in terms of diet and gym. All feels good. But no worries ,I am not slacking or just eating like a pig and so on. Just had a nice lunch, no practice at all and no work out. No mental training. I will be ready for tomorrow which is my preparation day for the weekend.
Although , I would not suggest to take very long breaks while being in preparation for pro golf or any special task, I think a day off can be very helpful. Just to rest your mind and muscles. I feel new energy.
So I am starting to prepare my game plan and my play book for this weekend. Both will not take long. I know the course well and it is a pretty straight forward course. Key to a good round will be to get the drive in play. That will be a first step. Distance will be important, but only secondary. If I can get the ball out there between 240 and 270 on the longer par 4s I am fine.
The par 3s will be interesting. They will be over 200 on the front and could be as long as 235. That is a long way and I am not sure how I approach it. I guess it will depend on how I feel on that day. Since I am not carrying a 3 wood, I can pick my utility club, which I can hit long ways but mostly try to use as a links golf style approach or I can use my driver, which I actually use for all kinds of shots on the tee. I can use it for 200 or 250, all depending what I have in front of me. If there is some wind with me I can use my 3 hybrid as well to fly the green. But we will see. I know my clubs well and I know my abilities and will take full advantage of the experience I have.
So my play book pretty much shows a plan on where to go on each fairway to have the best shot to the middle of the green for myself. Not that I am not attacking any pins, but if I can hit the middle of each green, I will have some pretty good birdie chances and will be in much less trouble. I played most of my past rounds without ending up in any sand traps and I am planning to keep it this way. I feel confident to hit good bunker shots, but I prefer to be somewhere else. So it will be a conservative plan. Keep the ball in play and give myself some opportunities for birdies. Par 5s will be all 3 shot holes. There is only one hole I consider to get on in two, depending on the drive.
120 an in is my game and that is where I like to score and be. If I get the plan done I might share it before the tournament. We will see. Now back to some golf reviews and back to work on my website, which I am not making any progress.
Did you check out the golf reviews yet? This blog is developing nicely.

http://achimsgolfreviews.blogspot.com

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Wonderful day but short practice

It was a great day out there today. But I did not get to the range until late and then I found out that my knee is hurting when I turn. Not a very pleasant feeling I must say. I have no idea how that happened. The only explanation would be that I did too much in the past few days. My turn when I hit drivers and woods is no perfect , but I never had problems with my knee before.
Needless to say that my practice today excluded irons and woods. I put my focus on chips around the green and some lob shots. Did about 200 of that all together and was satisfied with my results. My GW is turning into a very important club around the green. It has a great feel to it and I seem to have more spin with it as well.
It is one of the JPX 825 irons. The review is out there in the next couple days, but I can tell you already, that this is a wonderful golf club for anyone.
Well, after the short practice I rested my knee all afternoon and I will do any practice tomorrow. I can not afford to get any injury and I will see on Friday morning if I can play Friday or if I hold back and focus on Saturday and Sunday. I am sure it will be fine.
Even at my current level it is crucial to stay healthy. It would be a huge set back if I could not play for longer then a couple days at this point. So we will play it safe.
Nothing to report about my blogs, website or fan page. No progress at this point. It is not easy to find the time to actually get it all done. Thinking about finding people to do it for me , so I can focus on something else. But that is a challenge in itself. So we will see. Fact is, without those sites and blogs running properly I lose money, the opportunity to find friends and partners and therefor time. Let me tell  you, if you think walking towards professional golf has everything to do with golf and not much with anything else, think again. It is a tremendous effort to get things done. There is a ton of stuff which you need to keep up with. Find tournaments, sign up, communicate with the shops and groups, find other events, find $ to stay in the game, practice , play, develop a business plan for golf and all things around you, find voluntary team members, keep the equipment in shape, talk to people constantly about your plan to convince them to join your successful team, map courses, write game plans, play practice rounds, clean stuff, find your identity on the course and off the course and build an image which you can honestly present to the public. In short, create a business, develop a player, public relations and advertisement. This is a task for about 6 or more people! So once you decide to go this way , you better be prepared :) . I like all of it and have no doubt that more people will join me and give 100 % of their leftover time to the mission. The day will come LOL.
But now, back to some writing and maybe starting the game plan for Saturday and Sunday. It is crucial to have a good game plan for the course. It helps to stay in focus. As always, comments are welcome , suggestions very welcome and any kind of support extremely welcome :)

Getting ready for the Venice Open this upcoming weekend

I am so excited that the weather is changing. It is not as humid anymore and also the rain is gone. It was difficult at times to play on courses which mostly were mud and water. Greens not rolling, balls plugged and lost in the middle of the fairway, no roll after good drives and so on. Now things will get back to normal. Dry courses, nice weather. Only thing not good will be the green fees, which will go up in season. However, I have a good set up for practice and will play on several tours, which enables me to play practice rounds and good tournaments. Also I am part of several skins game groups, which also is competition and the opportunity to earn some $ , which is a huge factor when playing on this level. I had an enjoyable practice yesterday. Worked for the most part on chipping and putting. To many strokes got lost missing putts or not getting close with chips and shots around the green. So I will focus big time on this matter. My drives keep being straight. I think I gained some distance. Carry distance that is. But I will only know how good they are once I play on a dry and well maintained golf course. Currently my second shot on long par 4s ( 420 to 465) is still a little long. 180 to 220. Not that I can not reach the green from this distance, but my accuracy suffers, the ball is hard to stop and if I have traps in front of the green or even a water body, I have to think twice. On long shots I often play links golf. Meaning, I land in front of the green and let it roll on. All depending on the hole though. So I keep working on that. But fact is, that my drives are in the fairway at a rate of 80 to 90 % in average and that is a good statistic, period. My next goal will be bunker play. That is not easy, for several reasons. There is a ton of different kinds of sand and all are acting different. There is wet, dry, lots of sand, no sand, shells and flat and steep. But I only have one bunker to practice in. So I will do what I did over the past 2 months, avoid bunkers. I am not exactly sure , but when going through the last 10 rounds , I did not find more then 8 sand traps. Fairway traps are no problem at all. I can hit out of them at any time and get something out of it. Most green side bunkers are ok. It is those special lies I am struggling with. But I have a feeling, I have to simply play and learn. Long time ago I was told by a playing pro, that the key is to get it out. Getting it out and on the green is half the money. Getting it close is a bonus. So we work on that. Overall , I was happy with my practice. My game improved and more important my mental state improved big time. Learning things form a mental coach might not always be new information, but certainly helpful. There is at least two key points, which I am practicing to become good at in terms of focus. This upcoming weekend is a good golfing weekend yet again. I start with a practice round at Bobby Jones ( hoping it is nice and dry) in which I mainly will work on my driver and hitting it as hard as possible. Saturday is flight day for the Venice Open. I like the course. I play there every Saturday for a big game and so I know it pretty good. Saturday is about playing as well as possible and getting into a good position for the final day. The last 3 city championship I had tough starts, but finished strong with a good win and some money in my pocket. However, this time I go about it different. I will try to be in focus right from day one. This is a mental thing with me, but I do not see any reason why I should not be able to play as good on the first day as I do on the last day. The course is long and tight. So there is hurdle to take. I need to hit it long but yet I need to be in the fairway at all times to get a shot at anything. Also I am preparing specifically for the par 3s on that course. There is two of them over 200 yards, 215 and 236. Those are tough and long par 3s, which I played par and some times birdie on for the most part, but always had tough second shots. I really need to be on the green there. This shot is for my utility club and I am hitting it as much as possible. A 3 wood would be a good club to have for those holes. So I am working on getting one of those. Not sure if I can accomplish that before this weekend. Another club I put a lot of work in is my 3 hybrid. The long par 4s are all perfect for this club and there is 1 par 3 which I will use it on. 18 is about 190 and has the perfect shape for my hybrid. I was on this green every time but once and finished at least with par on this hole. So I have a good history with that tough little thing and tough it is with water, traps, ditch and so on. My physical condition is great. 20 days of no alcohol, special food plan and even going to the gym helped me to loose over 10 lbs, but more important, I feel better over all. I will not get much more done before the tournament, but for the future I will work on another 35 lbs loss and better conditioning. The non alcohol policy right now is not a long term one. I like my beer and wine. However, I will have to wait until I reached some goals and then I can enjoy any of this again. But I did find, that I am in much better shape in a tournament, if I do not consume large amounts of beer the days before the event. So we will change our behavior in that matter as well. Further I developed a better meal and snack plan on the course. I found during the past rounds, that I play close to par or better on the front 9, but run out of fuel on the back which leads to scores in the high 70s and sometimes even low 80s instead of close to par or even better ( there was several rounds where I was under par through 4 or 5 which is a great start for any round). I think there is a direct connection. In any case I am excited about my golf and look forward to todays practice at Sun Coast Golf Center. Also I am happy to hear that friend of mine will be back soon and we decided to practice together and work on our games. It is always good to have a partner to work with. So that could be of great benefit. Now, getting ready and off to the range for a few hours. After that, planning and mapping the tournament this weekend and work on websites and blogs.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Charity Golf MARINES

Had a great tournament.  Nice 4 some. Did not get in the winner circle. I did win the closest to the pin. Was a good shot. Many good shots and putts and yet I can feel that I miss play. The 4 days without and the round of Bobby did not help. Now relaxing and resting for IMG tomorrow.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Golf after a ton of rain

Being from Seattle, WA, I know rain. I also know golfing in rain. However, what we found today at Bobby Jones Golf Course was pretty much unacceptable . Actually unplayable I should say. But after being inside the house without golf for 4 days, I did not care. Just wanted to hit this ball and be on the course. Played an OK round of golf. Some good drives, good approach shots. Putting was not the best. But on that course I have difficulties to judge speed, Once the greens are dry and firm, things look different.
So it was a good day. Had fun. Used my gift certificate at Manatee. That was nice. Got some great shirts for a good deal and some other things. Getting back s.th. at almost every competition. Tomorrow is Charity golf on the agenda. Will be great and lots of fun. Get to play with my better half as a team. Gonna show them :). Simply love this golf life style.
My getting in shape mission is coming along great as well. Losing weight and gaining some muscles. Much better fitness as well. Good things are to come :).

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Gulf Gate Golf Course - A nice executive course shoot out and a day of nice practice at Terra Ceia Bay Golf Club

Yesterday was a great day in terms of practice and golf. In the morning I went to Terra Ceia Bay. First talking to Mike Montelone about the Charity tournament we sponsor. The Marine Corps do some good things and we support that. The tournament is on the 28th of this months and we are a hole sponsor and also give free golf tees to all players. It is not much, but it is something. But that is another days writing. After getting things done for the tournament I went on and did an increment of chipping mainly with my LW. I found in my last round , that I had some troubles with judging my distances around the green. I believe it was because most greens were elevated, but just to make sure I did about 100 short chips for the feel, which btw I will do again today.
After that I again worked on my hybrid and driver. It is crucial for this coming tournament, that I am able to get this driver straight out in the fairway and that I a able to get the ball on or to the green from 180 to 210. Very important. The long par fours , meaning par 4s over 400 are the holes where I need to be able to score and I was struggling with. So I started with my hybrid first. Mainly working on set up and rhythm. I make solid contact most of the time but still do not get the distance I like. I am rushing often and need to become smoother and more consistent . My coach told me I need to have my feet wider and I try to do that, which is really difficult as I have an upright swing and my irons are fitted for that swing. So, I have the same swing with all clubs. Widening my stances means choking down on my clubs and that means less club head speed. However, I do it a little bit so I have a better stance.
It work great. I just need to keep in mind to have my shaft leaning forward a little more. I had a tendency of hitting up with my hybrid, which is a big mistake and leads to many bad shots.
I did not have one miss hit with my hybrid on the range. So after about 15 shots I switched to my utility wood, which is like a three wood but not all the way. Did about 5 with this one, as I have no trouble hitting it and feel comfortable with this club. I go by Freddy's advise. If there is no trouble with a shot or club, you should not spend time working on it. So I moved on to my driver. The never ending story with it. My past rounds I did very well, hitting it straight and hitting those fairways 80 % and more. Little lack of distance. But as I wrote before and as we all know, distance is great, but fairway is better.
I worked on about 20 shots. Main goal is to increase the carry. I was very satisfied. All of my drives are straight and feel good. My distance is good and I feel that I am getting a little longer. However, I will only see that on Friday, when I play my first round at the Manatee County Open. I just have to pay attention that I am not getting to fast. Like I said. I am better off in the fairway 240 yards out, then 280 in the deep rough or behind a tree. Just have to remember that.
I concluded my practice session with about 30 putts and I do not see any challenges with it. So it remains a mystery to me why I missed so many putts.

At 4 I was on my way to Gulf Gate . The Par 3 shoot out in Sarasota. When we took of we had a huge storm and I was hoping it will be good down there and people will show up. I was not disappointed. There was no rain at all and we had 20 players who showed up despite very bad looking skies.
My goal at Gulf Gate was simple. Put it on the green, middle or close and then give every putt a good roll. This course is known for bad and bumpy greens.

To our surprise, the greens looked great. I walked up to my shot on 1 to putt for birdie and thought, wow, those greens look good. If I have good greens, my chances are much better. Missed my birdie putt though.
Had a great shot on 2 within 9 feet. Exactly where I was aiming. Uphill putt. I took my time, gave it a good roll and made sure I follow through the ball. Birdie. Good feeling. I missed the green slightly on 3 and almost chipped it in. On 4 I put it within 7 feet just on the fringe. Again gave it a roll, birdie. I was aiming for the uphill putt with my tee shot so I felt great. 5 I was aiming for the pin, just short, put it within 1 1/2 foot. A great shot and made the birdie yet again. I continued to play well and gave myself chances and opportunities.
Great shot on 12 over the water. Putting for eagle. That I missed , but made the birdie. This is a tough par 4 , but with guts you can get over the water and bunker and put it on the green. Which worked out great. Gives you confidence.

In all, I was putting well, hitting greens with my irons and just feeling good. The only drive you can play on this course is on 6. A short par 4 which they play as a par 5. However, it is a very narrow fairway. I played about 2 yards to much to the left and bounced it into the water. Not too happy about it, but on any other fairway that would be an acceptable drive. Thing is, I was not on any other fairway at that moment LOL.
I dropped one in the rough. Had an uphill stance, 123 yards to the pin, over the pond and bushes to a pin in the front of the green. Got myself in focus and put it within 4 feet. Missed the putt though. Thing is, the shot was tough and I got it done.

The round yesterday on that course really boosted my confidence big time. My swing had good rhythm, my turn was great, I was hitting solid irons and my putting was confident and to the hole. It really helped that the greens were in much better shape.

Made some $, which was very much needed and felt like I did my job. Of my 5 birdies 2 skins held up. Very exciting also is the fact , that I played a 5 under par 53 on that short course.

Today I have about 2 hours at Terra Ceia. I will keep working on my short game and finish with about 40 shots hybrids and driver. The driver will be a key aspect for me this weekend. If I can get it in the fairway , I have a good chance to give myself opportunities on and around the green.

Later this evening I will do about 100 or so putts at home on my putting mat.




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Monday, September 16, 2013

Just over 3 months to make the goal

Time is running and it is running fast. Nothing can change it and nothing can make my day longer. Although I never minded that our time is limited and I have no control over how fast it is running. Time is a given fact and everybody has it and is in it.
I put myself on time limits or time frames often. It helps me to work harder and stay in focus. It also puts some pressure on myself to get moving and get things done.
Similar to my mission to make it into professional golf. This year is running fast. So far I can say we accomplished plenty of goals and made some great things happen. At the same time I have to say , we are way behind  and I already know that my left over time is tight.
There is ways to go to get to a golfing level to play consistently very good golf. Right now I play some good golf, some average golf and once in a while some great golf.
That is not good enough. My time investment into the task is simply not sufficient yet and over the next couple weeks I am working on finding out how I can dedicate more time to golf during the day.
The daily schedule is simply not satisfying and certainly will not lead me to my goal fast enough.
There is still too many distractions which my mind is wondering off to and which should not be there.
But it is a difficult task, because we do have to take care of certain things in life. There is work to be done for my business. Writing on the Internet and working on online advertising is time consuming and a long term project. So it takes patience and believe to work every day on your list. Once $ results come in, things will get easier. A sad factor in all of our life's aspect. Once you see $ results from your creative work, motivation kicks in. There is work to be done at home. House repairs , yard work, cleaning and so on. This all takes tremendous amounts of time and unfortunately we have to do it ourselves at this point. This is where $ come in again. It would be all much easier if someone else would do the yard, the repairs and renovations. This is all time lost. Time which could be used to work towards important goals. There is a social life, for some people that is not a factor but we do have one, and there needs to be time made free for. Also there is family for which there should be plenty of time, but which suffers from work and home ( not from golf , as this is the primary task).

The conclusion is simple. There needs to be dramatic changes in our lives very fast to make things happen and the thought about that, combined with all the conversations and discussions about that, is exactly what is keeping the mind from being free and in focus of what is important.

I have every shot in my bag. Draws, fades, lobs, sand trap shots, spin shots, stingers and so on. It comes down to what is my mind when I get to the golf course, walk up to my ball, stand over the ball, get ready for the shot, prepare for golf , get up in the morning .

I know this is all not new stuff, but since I write about it, you know it is keeping me busy. Busy enough to change my mindset in minutes, sometimes without even knowing.

In order to succeed, I need to get up, get in focus, work on prioritized tasks and stay in focus on those goals in a positive manner. This is my greatest challenge each day and a constant fight.

The great news is, that I know that I am made to play. Be out there and compete. On whatever level I will qualify at this point of my life. So I know, no matter what happens around me and comes on to me, that I am on track. On track for myself and for what I do and like to do.

The funny part is , that at this point, there is plenty of doubt and resistance around me and other players like me. But let us win a tournament or qualify for a tour. All of a sudden we are heroes, people who made it happen. Role models. All by the same crowd LOL.

So what do I do today? Pretty simple. After having a good breakfast I am going to the range and work on my driver, hybrid and short game for about 2 hours. Coming home I will have a short lunch and do some work and then I am off to a par 3 shot out to earn some $.

In the evening I will go through my stats, my day and the golf results of the weekend and write blogs and work on my social presence.

Almost a perfect day. Only swimming and a beer with friends on the water is missing. I will celebrate my day, enjoy every minute of it and let nothing distract my goal, my thoughts and my joy.

This will be an interesting week. Preparing for the Manatee County Invitational hosted by Pope Golf. This will be a good test and it will show me , where I really stand right now. How I can play from long tees, compete with really good golfers and how I deal with myself and what is around me. I am excited. This is what I am practicing for and what I think I am here for.