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.