Saturday, June 29, 2013

Waterlefe Golf and River Club in Bradenton, FL

What a round. In my pursued of becoming a better player I am now trying to do what I am supposed to do more. Play. Play and Play. As a matter of fact, playing and practicing is pretty much the only thing on my mind right now. There is a simple reason for that. If I want to make it within the time I set for myself, I need to put more work in. More work towards golf. After a great round on Friday in  Sarasota I started today yet again at Waterlefe Golf and River Club. This course is one of the toughest around. Also one of the most beautiful tracks here.
Today's round was a skins game format. Points. Not many players. So there was not much to earn. My focus then was to put the ball in play and play a good round following my plan.
I am satisfied with the result. Shooting 81. The front 9 I had a rough start. My first drives were not exactly straight and so I had to take 1 out of bound ball and 1 water ball. That gave me 2 penalties , which you really can not afford here. However, I played several good pars, putting for birdie on those holes. My putting was good, just had to fight the speed a little. The back 9 was much better. I was able to get the ball out there and give myself more opportunities. My best and also my worst hole was the par 5 number 14. I had a good drive and had about 220 to the hole over the water and bushes. I gave it a go and was pin high. Unfortunately right on the edge of the fringe cut to the rough. Took me a minute to make up my mind what club to use, but I took the putter for my 16 feet eagle put. Missed it right, leaving me a 3 foot put for birdie. Not doing through my routine, I missed it! So, a great second shot from 220 out and then that. But, I was over it the moment I put the flag back in the hole. I hit my next ball in the water on a par 3. Put my dropped shot 9 feet behind the hole in the rough again, but made the put. Followed up with a par, another par and then lost my drive on the last hole. Again a little unlucky. Overall , I am satisfied what I did with what I got and with how much work I can put into my game. I am long ways away from where I should be by now. 6 hours a day would be the right thing. So , starting Monday I will try again to get the rhythm going. Practice morning, play afternoon. Every day. Has to work. There is not other way I am progressing. Another week an my new club are here. I am getting excited. This will be so great and a huge step forward.
When I am on the course, I feel great. Literally happy inside. The landscape, the nature, the challenge, the silence. Just no better place to work, play and spend time ( well maybe a good beer garden works LOL).  So my golf is progressing and Waterlefe slowly buy surely is submitting to me :). Took a while. I will not play there for a while, but if given a chance , I am in.
On a different note. When I played my Friday round I played very well , until I had  a strange feeling and itch. It was horrible. After that, on hole 15, my finger started swelling, my head was red and I felt strange. My tongue was swelling and I had a hard time to focus. That result in playing two bad holes and finishing with a 78. When I came home I thought I had a heat stroke. But when I woke up the next day I found something different. Both legs are covered with ant bites which are infected, swollen and literally running with stuff. Disgusting.
That makes it clear. I had a allergic reaction which was so strong, that I had real troubles. Those ants are dangerous. I knew that before, but twice I got hit now. Really need to pay attention.
So, Waterlefe was great, Bobby Jones was great, my legs are infected. Sunday I take of play and will practice twice .
I have never been so determined like today to get it done. There is no other choice :). Any advise on how to fight the red ants? Let me know. I will post some pictures in a different article.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How to keep the fun going when trying for professional golf - my thoughts and my approach hopefully easy to understand and be helpful

Sitting here tonight working on all kinds of things for my dream and goal I realized , that I have fun doing what I am doing although I am not in the best position to do it. As a matter of fact, I am far from where I need to be with certain things, like finances, team building , sponsorship and so on. However, I do have fun. Every day I am out there working on my goal, every minute I spend online doing the same thing and every minute thinking about. How can I keep it fun? Simple. I know that this is my destination and that this is what I truly want to accomplish. So , nothing can hold me back, take my fun away, give me negative thoughts or whatever. So my suggestion is simple as well. Before you decide that you are making a run for it, be it as a young guy/girl or a little older like me, sit down and give it a good thought.
1. Is that what  you really want?
2. Are you willing to make the necessary sacrifices ? All of them ?
3. Does failure put you in a bad, negative or even depressed mood?
4. Will you be able to fall, get up, fall , get up , fall get up and so on regardless how often it will happen ?
5. Do you have fun in life even right now?

I can assure you. Myself, I asked all those questions and here are some answers.
1.
Yes, it absolutely is. Although not always easy, I am standing for it and I want to play. I not only can imagine that I can play, but I can feel that I belong out there to play. I have done many different things in my life and I was always sure , that this is what I want. However, when I am on a golf course something different occurs. I can feel it. I feel good. I feel right. I feel happy.

2.
Bring a sacrifice and I will make it. It really does not matter what I need to do, as long as I can see that it will help me moving forward in my task. For that I will give up things. All kinds  of things. AS a matter of fact , there is little to none which I would not give up to keep moving towards my goal.

3. Failure always has some impact on everyone. I am certainly no exclusion to this. When I play a bad round. Lose money. Don't make a cut. Make a big mistake on the course or whatever. I do have a moment of bad feelings. The difference is, that my moments are very, very short. The reason for that is simple. Once a shot is done, it is done. Once a tournament is over, it is over. Money lost is money lost. There is simply no reason to morn about it, be depressed or have any negativity growing within you.
The moments I had which were  tough, were moments when I had to realize, that I have the ability and the talent, the mindset and will, but not the finances and team to make it happen. Fact is , that if you can not take failure and move on and have experienced big set backs because of that, reconsider the decision to pursue professional golf. There might not be another career or sport in which you will have as many set backs and losses as in this sport.

4. Go back in your life. No matter how far back. Think about situations in which you had a big fall. Sports or work. Did you get up immediately and try again? Or did you walk away and changed your direction?
 I thought about this one many times and I had to go back all the way to my table tennis experience. Playing tournaments and leagues. There I learned to never, ever, stop. It did not matter. Then I think about my life , my work. Never did I give up at all. Changed direction or the main goal. So that was an easy one for me.

5.
A crucial point to work and keep the fun in professional golf is to have fun even before you start. If you are a grumpy person right now, you will be when you start working on your goal.

Here is the deal. My mind was and is set. I am a happy camper and work through whatever is coming on to me. I am willing to do whatever it takes and am in the process. I have no fear of getting rid of people around me who are trying to hold me back. Friends who have doubts , are no friends. Period. So let them go their way, I do. That counts for every one. You need to learn that in order to keep it fun, you need to get rid of dream poisoners.

Now to practice and play. Do not overdo it. Practice is good and play is good. But you need to have time for fun things other then golf. Go out, spend time with family, have another hobby or just hang out on the beach. Whatever it is. Always remember, golf is a game. A sport which you picked to make a living.

This might be a little much to think about. But as I promised to all readers I am willing to share my thoughts and make them available to younger players who are thinking to go for it or a in the middle of it.

I can tell you. I am on a mission. Nothing , absolutely nothing can stop this pursued and I have fun with it.

This is my thoughts for tonight. Tomorrow is full practice and getting ready for the next two rounds. I will report about my practice session tomorrow.

Monday, June 24, 2013

IMG Academie golf club in Bradenton and more

After a wonderful golf weekend I am ready for this week. Friday I played at Bobby Jones Golf Complex. Those are always competitive golf rounds and we had a good time. I kept working on improving certain aspects of my game and believe I succeed with the plan.
Saturday I was playing at The Links at Greenfield Plantation. A former top course, this course now is ok for what you pay. Interesting was the group I was playing with. Good golfers who are dedicated to play often and in competition. I was 1 under through 5 holes, but started struggling with my driver yet again. That cost me my points and about 6 holes. However, I was able to come back and get another birdie on the back nine and get some pars on the way in. As a result I did an ok round. My iron game and short game were not at their best, but good enough to make some money on that day. The course has plenty of water and if not accurate with your tee shot, there is little chance to have a good approach. Greens were slow, which cost me many putts. Really need to get used to such conditions as well.
Most important was the round at IMG Academy golf course on Sunday. Great group including some professionals competing on a course which was in great condition. They always to a good job to keep it up. Even though the greens were not fast as well. However, at least the greens were in very good condition.
This round I worked on one thing. Getting drivers out. Playing 400 to 440 yard par 4s requires long tee offs and that is my biggest challenge. But , I was able to get some good shots of the tee and bring great pars in. Doing some sand saves and other shots which I did like a lot. I think one great example would be a par 4, 400 yards ( which is not very long, but very tight and water on both sides). Had an ok tee shot and only about 175 to the pin. I was going for the front of the green as it was close behind the bunker. I ended up in the bunker, which was pretty deep and not something the average golfer would like to encounter. However , I was able to hit a good bunker shot and leave myself 8 foot for par, which I then made. This was a classic one. 1 yard to the left and my shot would have been a great birdie attempt. Had some other endings like that. Missed a 10 birdie putt on 9 after I hit a 190 approach right on the green. Thing is, I am giving myself more opportunities and make more important shots when I need to. So there is some very interesting improvement to see. But I think the best part of the golf round at IMG was that in my group I had a player who not only is a professional, but also tried to make the senior tour at one point, where he came up short. What a difference to play with someone who actually knows what he is doing on the course. Moving his cart the right way, conducting himself around and on the green and staying positive and calm in almost every situation. Pretty much my profile on the course. But , if you want to play pro golf, there is no other choice. After all, you play and then you move on and then you play again. So, getting angry or excited in negative ways does not help anyone. Further, when you learn how to move around the course properly  you will safe all players time and make sure they can focus as well.
After the golf round I sat down with him and we talked about professional golf, about his story, about my story and about my plan. Further about my game. It was very interesting to hear what he had to say about my game, my plan, my age and what it will take. He pretty much confirmed what I wrote many times and keep telling others. There is no limit and I have everything I need. Age is only of limited importance and for the most part I just need some fine tuning of what I have. This is exciting stuff. It is nice to hear encouragement and confirmation from someone who actually has the needed knowledge and experience. On top of it all, I received the offer that I can work with him as a coach. How good can it get? Not much better. So IMG Golf not only was a good round, but also one more positive experience on my journey. One thing we already had in common. We love the game of golf. Being out there on the course, playing against par, a group and an entire field. Taking on each shot as it is and see what we can do with it. There is nothing like it and I am more determined the ever. There is nothing I like to do more then just playing this game ( when talking about work and sport that is). Needless to say, that there is many other things I like to do after or before. Now getting ready for another match up tonight in Sarasota. Let us see if I can do a short course with my irons :) . Tonight the order for  my new golf clubs goes out. I am so excited, I can not tell. This will be a brand new chapter in my career with a huge change coming up. It will be exciting to work on my new game and reach for new heights.

Remember to shop through my store to support the goal, thank you !

Monday, June 17, 2013

Swingyte Golf Swing analyzer and more

I am so excited to report that today I was able to set up this little machine which I will use from here on to support my practice. One of the things I learned is, that I am simply to short. So I need to work on club head speed. That is difficult when doing it alone and without any gadget. This is where the new Swingbyte 2 comes in. I will start using it every day and start tomorrow. My first target : My driver! In order to move up and on with my game I need to up my average to at least 275 yards. Looking at the US Open that would not even be enough LOL But , also considering the likeliness of me playing there, an average of 275 will be sufficient to play some great scores on any given course.
In order to get to this average 2 things need to happen. A. I need to have more club head speed and B. I need to have a more consistent swing plane. Although I technically know how to accomplish both, the new item will help. In combination with video I believe I will get a better swing for tee off within a few weeks. It will not come fast, but I think, that at the end of July when flying out to Seattle and playing two tournaments there, I will be in great shape ( with my swing that is).
After working with my driver I will work my way down to a 3 wood and possibly 5 wood ( I do not play a 5 wood yet, so I am not sure if I will spend to much time with it or not).
100 mph to 105 mph  is the speed I am trying to reach . I am not far of. But it is truly amazing on how much distance a few mph will actually make. The Swingbyte analyzer is brand new to me as well, so I can not tell much yet. But when the time come I will write a good detailed review. You find that on my review blog:

Achim's Golf Product Reviews

This will also replace my review page on our website. This week I am working mainly on getting things in order. Meaning. Getting new clubs, getting new bag, getting new clothes and planning more play and practice. Whenever you get a new set up, the # 1 thing to do is getting used to whatever that is.

Practice will continue, but besides working on woods I focus on short game. It seems odd to me, that I failed to hit good shots on my first day of the tournament and then wonderful shots on the final day. It makes me believe, that the shot is not embedded enough yet. In my mind and in my muscles.

What else did I learn last weekend? For sure I confirmed, that I need to stay out of conversation which is related to golf. Whenever I do not talk, I can play several leagues up and I need to learn to do that. need to let it rest.

Bradenton Two Men City Championship

While the top pros were battling it out on Merion, we did the same at River Run Golf Links. While by far not one of the toughest courses I play, this one is demanding in terms of keeping it in play. Saturday was qualification day. We had a good tee time  and so I was pretty good prepared. It was humid and hot. Started out ok, but was not able to score and my partner could not keep up for the most part. So after a long , hot and humid round of golf , with many missed opportunities we cam in with a score which put is in the last group for the final. Despite that being not the desired spot we wanted to be, it had one good thing. A good realistic chance to win a flight.
Our tee of was much earlier on Sunday , which is not exactly my favorite. So it took me a few holes to get going and it seems, that this was enough to lose the run. Shot another bad back 9 ( where we started). On the back I secluded myself from my partner, the other players and went into a zone which is needed to win. From there on I played par with good birdie chances. Was able to bring it in at 1 over. Unfortunately 3 shorts short of the win and after counting back, short of any money. Not very satisfying. However. I took plenty of good things out of my rounds. Most important I found out, that if I am 100 % in the zone and committed , I am able to make it happen. We played the blue tees and so it was tough all the way. But when I was in , I was in and played a great front 9. Did not say more then 10 words in over 20 hours. Did not pay attention to anything.
So, it is mental for sure. Last I must say, that my putting improved dramatically as I chanced to a Ping Putter similar to the one I played before for a long time. With some adjustment I was then able to get things going again. Putting great long putts for lagging and finishing up from 6 feet in. So there is no doubt, that I will change to this or a similar putter in the next 7 days as part of my new set up. I am excited about all of it. The new clubs, new bag, new analyzer , new shoes ( not hurting after 2 days of walking!) and new putter.
Read about the course in our review blog some time this week. Things will slow down a little because of extensive work and 3 to 6 hour practice a day.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Preparation for Bradenton City Championship - Two men best ball

Yesterday I played a practice round at River Run. It was very hot. But I enjoyed playing and played well. hit good drives. That will be the key this coming weekend. If I can get the ball in the fairway with good distance, I have a good chance to get on the green in regulation and that will result in birdie chances. I will focus on the medium and shot par 4s to score. The long par 4s are more difficult. The landing areas are small at times. Not sure what tees we are playing and how long it will play. The greens were very slow, but I am sure they will be ok this coming weekend So what I did, I did not try to hammer those balls. Always having in mind, that the greens will be fast and in good shape. I hit driver for the most part yesterday, but there is plenty of holes I could go with a 3 wood in case I am not accurate with the big one. But we will see. They do not have a driving range, so I will warm up in the morning at Terra Ceia Bay. Because of my handicap tee time is pretty late in the morning. That is great, so I have time for breakfast and warm up.
My preparation will be short game and driver today. Not to much. I need to be in shape. We will play Bobby Jones Golf Complex tomorrow and I want to walk the entire weekend.
Tomorrow I will work on target shooting. Meaning, put it in the fairway , even if shorter and then attack the pin.
On Saturday the game plan will to play the middle of the green for the most part unless the pin is a good accessible position. Need to avoid bunkers. The bunkers at River Run are the same as Bobby Jones. You never know what you get. Sand, no sand or whatever. So I keep that in mind.
Tomorrow I will finally get my swing analyzer. This will be a huge step forward. The Swingbyte analyzer has good reviews for the most part, but I am convinced it will help me to improve certain aspects of my game. This weekend we order the clubs and I am excited about that. One step at a time we are getting in pro shape. Pro shape to me is , when I have equipment which is made for me, when I have a situation which is tailored for success in our task.
Ok, not getting ready for some practice.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Short game practice at Terra Ceia Bay Golf Club

What did I do today to move on? The most important part in golf. Short game. I worked on it for 2 hours. The last few rounds I played well , but when I made mistakes, they were most likely connected to my short game and I needed to reinforce my confidence.
I know I can hit any shot without a problem. But when standing over the ball , I need to be 100 % confident in my mind to do so and I missed that a few times. That caused me to lose many shots and as a result a couple rounds under par.

My focus today was chipping around the green. Different shot shapes, different distances, one club. SW is the club of my choice. After going back and forth on how to fine tune my short game I finally made up my mind. I will use once club for most shots around the green and will practice every possible shoot with it. Only when I work with lots of green I will change to a different loft to get a  little more roll.

So today I hit lob shots, shots from 5, 10 and 15 yards off the green ( different pin positions). With spin and without spin.

I relaxed hitting my driver, 3 wood and hybrid. All 3 of them feel good and I did not work on anything specific.

After doing the woods I went back and did another 90 chips and pitches to give my body and mind the opportunity to learn how to adjust. After all ,that is what you do on the golf course. You hit a driver, then a PW or a 6 iron. Then you play a chip and then a putt. Just to go back to the tee box and let another one go as far as you can.

I am satisfied. By now, I can hit the shots I like and need for the most part as I wish. Nothing fancy. A simple game and shot shape. But that is all what it takes. In the end, all what counts is to get the ball to the green and hole it out as soon as possible.

With a good game plan you do not need anything more. The less confusion in your mind the better.

But that is it for my practice today. Rest of the day is admin work. Not always the most fun thing to do, but it needs to be done and I am not only the player, but also the manager, the coach, the office help, the sponsor in between, equipment ward and so on and so on :). Keeps me busy LOL. But I love it and that is what counts.

What needs to be done to become a professional golfer other then hit balls and play golf?

This question I hear all the time. There is plenty to do and it is not only practice and play. Besides spending a few hours per day on the range or course, one has to work on communication with potential sponsors, work on finding new opportunities to play, earn money or meet people. Create an identity of a pro golfer. This includes a clear image, even the way you clothes plays part in that.

The beginning is the most difficult part. Just because I am sure I have the talent, the will to practice and work hard and the total believe that I can do it does not mean, that others simply jump on the train and support you or believe in you.

In the phase I am now it is more then difficult to convince anyone that I am able to make it on any tour. Being 45 is the first obstacle. The average person does not believe that a person of my age has any chance to make it. There is some understandable reasons for it. For example, the question: Why did he not make it before? This is a valid question. But as easy as it is asked, as easy it can be answered. There is many factors. Finances, family, work, health and location being a few of them. When I was 24 I had not doubt I can do it. But at that point, my dedication was not in focus. I just was not working on it the right way and with enough conviction. That does not draw people and support. This is different now. I am 100 % dedicated to my task and to my goal.

Secondly some would ask: Are you physical able to make it? Despite the opinion that in todays pro golf only gym going body builders can achieve success, the reality looks very different. It is true that many top golfers work out every day, have a personal trainer and so on. But when you look at all pro tours and check who is in the top 25 to top 50,  you will find that there is plenty of great players who put their focus on golf only. People like you and me who are dedicated to the game. Right now I am in good shape. Not the best I could be in, but in good shape. I am easily able to play fully concentrated for 18 holes for 4 days in a row. I also work on getting in better shape. Which does not mean I spend 2 hours a day in the gym, which that simply does not do it.

Those are two examples which I would encounter. But as fast as the questions arise, as fast they are answered.

To put it all together. It is all about success and attitude. I will find sponsors and support as well as believers if I am successful and show the right attitude. Success does not come easy and the success I can achieve now is to play good rounds of golf playing official events. Be it on amateur tours, city championships or whatever is out there.

Showing attitude is the easy part. Practice hard and daily. Play whenever getting chance. Put other things in second place and chose golf as priority. Be in public and show true interest in the game and what all comes with it. Never stop learning and listening and so on. When not practicing, work on business plans, practice plans and whatever else is connected. Last, have a clear vision on what there is to accomplish and what you will do once the time has come.

I have no lack on attitude that is for sure. Also I have a clear vision of what we can do once I can actively play.

This is a business involving much more then just hitting this ball. Although this is my primary task, right now I have to fill in for all other positions. Communication, sponsor relation, mental coach, coach and so on and so on.

So to answer what needs to be done?

Believe, work, communicate and lead. Sounds simple? Well it is not. But if you have the passion and the conviction to make it happen, even the toughest task becomes pleasure :).

I would love to engage people to exchange tips on how to proceed. How to make it easier. How to find players with the same interest. How to find sponsors who are ready to take a risk.



Saturday, June 8, 2013

How to make a hole in one

25 years I am working on actually make it. Not sure how many times I got close. But, there is really not much you can do about it. Just keep practicing and playing. The more you go on the course, the bigger the chance that you actually will make. But here is a good story about my almost hole in one. The closest I ever got, but it did not get in :).
I played Bobby Jones Golf Complex Friday. My biggest challenge is that there is not full driving range. to warm up. This results in really tough starts on the front nine and this Friday was no different at all. I had to fight for every par and even bogey. Simply to get the ball in play. I made good pars, putted for good birdies, but really did not get anything going. Had really good approach shots. Tried a 5 wood and was very happy about it. The back 9 is where I then need to score.
It was a tough start with a bogey and another bogey. Then another bogey on the long par three. So I had to change something. On the par 5 , 13 ( which I play as a par 4 from the white tees) I had an ok drive. About 270 and only 193 to the pin. The challenge was , that I was in the rough and under a tree with 3 more trees towards the hole. So I needed a low shot, landing it in front of the green to roll it on for a chance to get en eagle putt. I gave it a go and made it. That resulted in an 10 foot eagle putt. Unfortunately I missed it by an inch, getting a good birdie out of it.
The next par 5 I could not reach, but still put myself in a birdie putt position. I missed that one as well by an inch and got a good par. 15 is one of the toughest par 4s our there. I had a good drive and only 156 to the pin. I nailed it and had yet another birdie putt within 9 feet. I left it short  ( downhill!). The greens on that course drive me nuts. They are not rolling at all. But, had a good par. 16 I missed my drive to the right and left myself a shot out of the rough from about 129. Not a big deal, but I did not catch it right and ended up way right on the green, leaving myself a 40 foot birdie putt, which I got close for a par. Then came 17. I just played a good shot on that hole last Wednesday and the pin was in a similar position, just a little more back. We were even in the match against the other team with two holes to go. I figured that I go for the pin instead of the middle of the green. I needed to get it close and make a birdie to win the match and get a closest to the pin. Full focus and off the shot went. The moment I hit this shot I thought: Wow, this is good. I worked itself left to right towards the flack. Landed, people were screaming, it rolled, made a strange turn and came to a stop. I knew it was good, but I had no idea how good until a bystander who was close the green told me. He said the ball rolled toward the pin, hit the pin, bounced to the back of the cup, circled the cup for one complete 360 turn and stopped 1 inch from the hole. Amazing.
That was as close as one can get. ( I had an eagle shot once from 168 which landed in the cup and jumped back out ). Needless to say I won the hole. I was so adrenalized, that I hit another good drive. My approach on 18 was 3 feet to long to be perfect and it rolled over the green. I had an easy birdie chip, which I missed. Ended up with a bogey. But, we won the match anyway. Shot 38 on the back with 4 missed opportunities. I am getting closer to my under par round. Step by step, round by round and I am excited about it.
Yesterday I learned, that I will start carrying a 5 wood and leave my LW at home. My SW will do the trick, but I can also customize my bag before every round.
I am in good shape and feel very confident. That is the key. Also I am better in blocking out things around me. Still struggling with some other thoughts, but I am working on that. Today was a day off, tomorrow short game and driver practice and maybe play. Next week 2 Terra Ceia rounds, 1 River Run round and 1 Bobby Jones round. Then I shall be ready for the weekend tournament. This is all exciting and I am thankful that I can do it. Over the next 8 weeks we will work harder to make it even easier for me to focus on the task :). So I can not tell you how to make a hole in one. But I can tell you , the more you practice, the better your percentage to actually get one. So I will continue.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Wednesday Round at Bobby Jones Golf Complex

Part of becoming a professional golfer is to play and play and play. So yesterday I decided to play with a group of good golfers at Bobby Jones Golf Complex.
The weather was not too promising. However, I am usually very lucky with the weather and so we did not think about it for another minute. Well prepared for the rain I warmed up for this Wednesday round. I felt good. Maybe  Little tense from the day before, but good.
What then happened I do not know, but for 14 holes I had to work hard and fight against my own mind to get pars and bogeys. I hit shots which I did not know I can, so bad. Topped the ball, many times went left and literally had only 1 good drive which found the fairway and even that was a miss hit. Being in a team match, all that did not help to make any points. One might think I should get frustrated  while all that happened and for the regular player that might be true.
Me, I worked on every shot. Did my routines, developed swing thoughts and never believed, that the next shot could be a bad one. I kept my cool and continued to work on correcting my thoughts and swing. Finally, on the toughest holes on the course, 15, I was able to overcome this hole. After another drive to the left rough and next to a try I was able to lay it up nicely in front of the green with a perfect line to the pin. Followed up with a dead aim pitch and made the 8 foot putt. Every shot I was in total focus and could execute it. Just in time to start turning around the match.
A safe drive in the fairway of 16, followed with an ok approach and a wonderful 14 foot birdie putt brought us back. 17 is a par 3. The pin measured 158 and was close to the right bunker and close to the front. We had about a 1 club wind. The top player of our opponents hi a great shot within 15 feet of the pin. Watching his ball flight I switched my club to a longer club, a 6 iron. A little bit much, but the wind seemed to be stronger and I figured I just swing smoother. The goal was to put it inside his ball and win the greenies and then make the putt to win the hole and almost get even. I was able to not only put the ball within 8 feet, but also made the putt without there ever being a doubt. On 18 I had my second good drive into the wind, but still had 177 to the pin. The pin being by the right bunker with almost no landing area. But I decided to go for it and put it below the pin, which I did. I was within 13 feet with an uphill lie.
This was exciting. Because after being behind for most of the match, I was actually putting for the win. But, after making two great birdie putts, I missed this one. Leaving it short. Here is what happened. While in my forward swing of the putt I got a little distraction and lost my commitment in the putt. I had to make a choice. Trying to hold back and risking to touch the ball rolling it a few inches forward if I can not hold it or letting the putter swing and get at least close enough to make the putt and half the hole. I let it go, made the putt for par. I almost single handed turned the match over the last 4 holes! We lost 1.50 $. This could have been plenty more.
That is exciting. But what is really exciting is, that for 14 holes I played as if I have not played longer then a year to two, but was able to find my B plus game and execute shots when needed. That tells me, that I can control my mind and my body to a point which allows me to play well in any situation. That was a great revelation and will give me more confidence for future play.
Today will be an off day. It is raining and we have a tropical system moving towards us. That works out great, as I am a little tired. Still getting used to put all this play in. Time to reflect, write and review. Work on websites, tournament entries and ordering the new clubs. I love this game and everything about it.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A full days work is not work at all if what you do is your passion

Yesterday was without a doubt the first full time golf pro day since I started.
Getting up at early hours is not my favorite, but if it is for something which I believe is important and I look forward to, it is not a problem at all. First I had a good 3 hour practice at Terra Ceia Bay Golf Club. My focus first was on warming up and then working on my driver. My rhythm is getting better, but once that is accomplished I need to find some extra speed to get a better average. However, the greatest news about this part is, that I am getting more consistent in getting this ball into the fairway. Meaning , I am straighter the I ever was before. So that looks all good and I keep working hard every day to get it in sync.
Second, I worked on chips around the green from all kinds of positions. I am satisfied with it and I gain more confidence step by step.
In the afternoon I went to play River Run Golf Links for a practice round. It was ok, but wet. We played in rain for over 2 hours, which is not my favorite. However, I did ok. The greatest news is , that on this tight course, this was the first round were I did not lose a ball at all. I was able to keep the ball in play, which is a huge plus and certainly helps to give yourself opportunity for a good approach. Overall, not the best round I played , but a good practice round. In the end. The only time it counts is , when you are in a tournament. Game day so to call.  One the things I really need to get done is the clubs. Simply to give myself more room.. Today I played again, but that will be another post. :)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Mac Gregor VIP Sandwedge - my favorite club around the green

Although they forecast rain for the entire week, I was up and running early to get out and continue pro style practice. On the list today. Get the SW in shape all around the green to get my LW out of the bag other then when needed.
The number was 300 chips and lobs for today. I was not sure if I will make it because of the weather.
But on the other hand, I need to practice in rain as well. I worked for about 1 hour when heavy rain came in. First I stayed out and kept going. However, I had to go in the car and wait for a little. I do not have any rain gear at this point and did not want to risk to be all wet for the second part. Luckily it stopped raining within about 5 minutes and there was only a little mist going. So I continued to do my short game regiment. Lob shots over the bunker and so on.
To finish my practice today I did the 5 shot target circle. This is a drill I do at the end. Picking spots and from there chipping and pitching to 5 pre determined pins with the goal to get within 3 feet with every shot. I did about 100 balls like that and was satisfied with my results. I have about 3 ways for my chips and can use my SW for pretty much any shot and any distance around the green. This also leads me to believe, that , at this point, I do not want to change my SW. I am happy with it for now and need to focus on overall iron game instead of starting all over. So , until I hit the Mizunow SW somewhere, I will not even think about ordering it. The MacGregor is a good club and I play it well. Like the looks too. But in detail you can read about it on my review pages. The rest of the day I am working on our websites and other technical stuff. It is raining heavily on and off and my practice facility is closed for the afternoon.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

How to play with 3 clubs and still play 2 over par?

Woke up to a wonderful morning. My foot is not hurting anymore and I feel great , even though it was a tough and wet round yesterday at Bobby Jones Golf Complex. Our Friday round is one of my favorite events. It is competitive, not too expensive for a practice round and the guys who are playing are fun and very good golfers. On the way to the course there was plenty of clouds coming in and so I checked for the weather and it actually did not sound too bad. Some rain, no thunder and no storm. I do not mind the rain. I lived 15 years in Seattle, WA and so I am used to play golf in rain and have rain around me all the time. But lightning and thunder is always a concern. Even though you do not play in it, it is there and comes fast here in Florida. But when I got to the course, everything looked fine. A quick warm up and I was ready to play. I decided to take a cart because of my foot. Just want to let it heal all the way. We had a good group. All golfers with low handicaps. Me being the lowest. We played well and steady. I was 6 over par through 14 and had a long and good drive on 15, setting myself up for the 2nd birdie of the day. ( I played a mixed round. My scrambling was great, my drives not so straight. I did some incredible saves and my short game is on). Then the very black cloud we watched for 20 minutes was right there and it started pouring down on us like crazy. We thought shelter and decided to wait it out, as the other groups did the same thing. After about 30 minutes, everybody decided to be done. There was no thunder and no lightning. So I decided to finish. I had towels with me, umbrella and clothes to change. The rain still was coming down. So I finished this hole with a bogey, lipping out my put on a swimming green. Next hole got another bogey, which was not that bad considering the conditions. On 17 I hit a good iron but got an interesting break. I hit the rake and it kicked left. Leaving me with a difficult chip and so I got a par on that one. 18 was pretty much unplayable. I felt great, because I finished. That was good practice and according to players like Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros, one needs to practice all situations. You might wonder what all that has to do with the title? Nothing. But here it comes. After drying for a while a friend asked me to play another 9 holes. I looked outside and the weather seemed very nice. So I agreed. But then he said we will play with only three clubs we pick before we start. ( he mostly plays with 3 clubs only and his about a 10 handicap!). I picked out the 3 wood, 6 iron and PW. Those clubs have the broadest use in my bag and I practice many shots with them. We played the back 9 of the British side of Bobby Jones Golf Complex. He took the lead after 3 holes and was two up through 5. On the difficult number 15, a long par 4, I was able to get a par and get one back. The last 3 holes I was dominant and that was despite it started pouring down again so hard , that we had an ocean on 18. But I played a great par on 16 into a wall of rain. Had a great tee shot into the same wall of rain on 17 and got a par there. 18 was unplayable, but I had two great shots towards the green. I was putting with my PW and made putts from 6, 8 and 10 feet. My 6 iron was dead on from 120 to 160 and my 3 wood worked great for all the rest. Key was to avoid the bunkers, keep it in the fairway and not to over swing. I played 2 over par ! Considering the rain, wind and that I played with 3 clubs, that is pretty good. I have to say, that I actually practice all kinds of shots with those 3 clubs and was prepared. Other then putting I do all kinds of distances and shapes with those, because you never know what you encounter on the course. So how do you play and play well with 3 clubs? Practice. Go to the range and practice different shots and shapes with a few clubs you like most. I was so wet, I was dripping and I was tired. It is harder to play in pouring ran and windy conditions. But it was fun and a great test for skill, which I pasted easily.