Thursday, January 30, 2014

Slowly getting into my golf year , Tournament on WFGT

As I wrote before my year will start different than I had planned. Less practice, less play and only few tournaments. But there is good reasoning for that. We had family here and plenty of things to get done and secondly our wedding will be in February and not only do we have guests coming but lots of preparation is on the agenda. That said I am certainly noch stopping to practice or compete. My weekly skins games are on as always and I am playing the WFAMT on Mondays as well as one FSGA tournament. That will keep me on the edge and in good playing mode. So far things look good. After 5 tournament rounds on the WFAMT I can show for 2 wins and one 3 rd place. Might not have been my best rounds, but a win is a win. It gives you confidence and $. Last Monday at The Ritz Carlton members Club it was amazing. I might have finished 3 rd , but there was endless potential. Started with birdie putts on 1 and 2 which were both very makeable but which I missed both. Had more along the way. 3 of them literally lipped out. But there is three holes which were significant and which not only cost me a very good round but also 280$. Onthe front first par 5 . I had a great drive and put myself in position for an eagle putt with my approach. But only got a par out of it. Had two 10 foot birdie putts right after and missed both. 17 I had a good drive but got close to the water. We searched and did not find it. So I dropped and played another ball. When I walked 15 yards further I found my first ball. It was in the hazard, but a very good dry lie and playable. Too late. Ended up with my only double. On 18I had a great drive . Put my approach within 8 foot. Missed the putt yet again. This one was huge. It was for the win and a skin. 280 $ lost with one putt. Still a great round. Only missed 3 fairways, had lots of GRs and great short game including bunkershots. Even putting was good. The lip outs were unlucky. Best part about all this is the fact, that I am able to play good golf with almost no practice, little play and lots of stuff on my plate. This shows me that I made very good progress mentally and playwise. We are on track and I am excited about what is to come starting in March. Mybentire environment is changing in a positive way and is changing the way I envision it.  We are close to reach some good goals. Goals which will enable me to do the next step.
For today. It is cold, my foot is not good Nd needs rest and I need to catch up with all my reports, articles and writings. In other words. A day at home. Since I love our homeq. This will be good.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

2014 - a new year with plenty of events and plans

OK, I agree. It took a long time to get back. The first months of this year started with all kinds of events which delayed my official start into this season. No worries, none of the events where bad. As a matter of fact , they were all very positive. Still, time passed and I was not able to sit down and get my plan together for this year. Sure it should have been done last year, but it wasn't. So I am working on it as I sit here and write. But, there will be yet another delay coming up. Although I am beginning to practice and work on my swing with all available technology and resources, the month of February is completely blocked out for another big event. My marriage. After almost a decade of wonderful times we will finally follow through with our original goal and close this circle as well.
I will not go into detail with all that. But it does have an impact on my next 6 weeks in terms of practice and tournament golf. There will be guests coming, things to be organized and so on. So I will play every day by ear on how I will do my practice. The good news is, that my tournament rounds are all scheduled and secured. Thanks to continuing support I will be able to practice, play and play in tournaments. My regular games on Fridays and Sundays will stay as they are. I will alternate between Pinebrook Ironwood and Bobby Jones Golf Club on Fridays. Tatum Ridge Golf Links will stay for Sundays, although I might take one Sunday off to spend valuable time with family from Germany.
There is 3 tournaments, all point tournaments, I will play on the West Florida Amateur Tour. Next week at the Ritz Carlton Members Club followed by Laurel Oaks Country Club and Lakewood Ranch Country Club. Those are three great events on courses which without a doubt will help my game to progress and keep me in touch with championship tracks. That is pretty much it until the end of February. Not exactly enough, but not bad. My focus will be to prepare for each single event. This I will accomplish mainly by practicing my short game on a fast green and by playing each track at home and on the range using the yardage guides to each course. Meaning, I will play the course in my mind and do so several times. The Ritz Carlton Member Club I played many times. So I feel comfortable there. Laurel Oaks would be the same. Lakewood Ranch I only played one time So that will be more demanding.
I am excited about this year. Even though the first two months were busy with all kinds of things, I played very good golf so far and I am working very hard to get in shape. I lost some lbs already and am working yet again on more. My specific weight goal is still far away, but I am making progress and that is exciting.
I have never felt better about my game and about my future in golf. Whenever I am on the course I can feel that I am going forward and that I am where  belong. It is wonderful.
This year we work on getting me into a professional golf school for a week or longer to fine tunes my swing and maybe add or cut some things. Further I will work on my home practice area. My dream being to have a full size simulator in an enclosed space where I can play and practice real rounds of golf. Also a nice putting green would be a big goal. In terms of equipment I will change to clubs and add one more. That is easy, as I know what I want and need.
I am hoping too find more resources this year to be able to give 100 % to golf only. This is the toughest one, but I am convinced that it can be done and I will do everything I can to get it done.
Last, I will put more focus on writing. I know I can write and I have plenty to write about. Thing is, you need to sit down and do it. This is the hardest for me. Not sure how we will schedule that, but there needs to be a way. Another nice thing coming up is a conversation with a friend who is thinking about starting his own line of golf clothing and is looking for advise and help in terms of advertising and marketing and design. We will see what comes out of this one. There is plenty more things coming up and I will have about 6 weeks to fully prepare. To get a better tournament schedule, find out if we get to travel, see what sponsors and resources I can find and so on and so on. But I am here. I am ready. I feel great and no doubt I will share my experiences and thoughts. Thank you for being patient.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Freezing day 3 how I use those times to make progress in other ways

This is the third day of freezing temperatures. Not exactly what you are looking for as a golfer. But nature has it's own agenda. Fact is that those days could be very helpful. Think about playing in the north of the US or even Europe. You never know what is going to hit you and if you never practiced in the rain or cold you will not be prepared. Yesterday I kept my physical practice low. Just spent about 45 min in my practice area with a 7 iron. Going for full and half swings. Both fairway lies and  rough lies. I was very satisfied. Even with my winter jacket I was able to turn nicely and make solid contact each and every shot. I also did some putting. Mostly 5.foot outta. Those are the most important to me. Often just around the green I can chqip those balls close but leave myself a fair amount of 5.footers from the fairway. Putting went wellq. Most of my time yesterday I worked on my mental aspects, which I think are a huge factor in my situation. Started reading a wonderful little book which was exactly what I was looking for. Interesting information. By far not new. However I need to reinforce my knowledge and start acting more accordingly. So there is some goal for this year. I will elaborate more on that later. Today I spent the morning trying to find a way to develope a playing and practice schedule. Both of it I do not do enough and need to how it. Checked different AM tours . There is great tournaments coming up. TPC Sawgraws on the 18 and 19 of this month being . My favorite. Also look for Vegas and other places. So far I only came up with 3 tournaments. 3.times West Florida Amateur Tour. Small events. Stableford. But on tour like courses. That will help t keep my putting and chipping up. I am confident to get a schedule for tournaments done soon. As well as for my practice and my school. Golf school that is. I am a little bit behind with my planning. Mostly because of other plans which need to be completed and ofcours funding of the adventure . However, no doubt in my mind that we will move forward towards the goal. Play golf, tour the US in an
RV, write about it , travel abroad , make the tours and ultimately join the senior tour here and there. Today is off day first. Then some swing practice and putting and back to the book to work on mental aspects. The hurdles in this aspect need to be taken and I know I can.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

West Florida Amateur Tour - Sarabay Country Club Tournanment and how it went

So the new year is 7 days old. Yet , I had some experiences already. Starting with the hangover skins game which went well, an OK Bobby Jones Friday Round and a Tatum Ridge Golf Links round which left open some questions.
I know that if I do not practice every day for hours and work on my game as planned and needed, I can not expect to play exceptional golf rounds. After all I am a talent, but by far not a talent like some as the guys you might find on tour right now. However, I still have more to offer then the average player. Be it talent, ethics, will, desire  and believe and that in itself helps to keep you going through times like that. Although I have huge plans for 2014. The current month and the next month are also packed with other events and obligations, which might not be part of the plan towards pro golf but are part of our life, which is quiet wonderful. So when I got ready for the West Florida Amateur Tour event at Sarabay Country Club I put my focus on my mental game. I did not want to make any changes nor did I want to confuse myself on the range or so. So I worked on keeping my focus and sticking with my game plan.
Sarabay Country Club is by far one of the most difficult courses we play. It does not have the length like the Ritz Carlton Members Club, it does not have the trickiness lick The Founders Club and it does not have all the water like Waterleaf, to name some other good tracks.
However, Sarabay has something which by far is more  difficult, Donalrd Ross greens with a stimp speed of 11.5 to 12.5. The greens are build like mounts. Falling to the front and sides and with falls fronts all over. You never know what will happen to your putt and need to study well.
I was looking forward to it. I do well on fast greens. My putting and chipping is much more accurate  than on those regular greens or soft carpet like things, which we find often on other courses. On top of that gusty and high winds where said to come in. Not very pretty and certainly for golf that is not what we are looking for. However, the weather is what it is and as a player you just have to work with it.
When I got up in the morning it was 68 . A great temperature. When I stepped out it was nice but very foggy. I prepared myself for a round with some fog, some rain and little bit of wind. But I did put on some long pants and took my sleeveless jacket. 2 sleeveless golf shirts and I was ready to go.

When I arrived at the course it was and warm. First thing I was told was that we had a 30 minute fog delay. Oh well, better than playing in it. So I warmed up on the range. It was hot. My shots were OK but I did not have the best feel at this point. I simply was warm and sweating. Since I had shorts with me I first thought I will change, but then I was to lazy to do it. Just before we started on number 1 a cloud came in. High winds and temperature dropped . I was happy to have long pants. The winds were a little concerning, because my last few windy rounds did not go to well. Mostly because of my distance perception. But it is what it is. My first tee shot went right into the trees on the right. The wind took it and drifted it all the way. But I saved a bogey and was happy. From here on it was a wild front 9. The wind changed all the time, even in the middle of the swing or even then the ball was in the air. We never were really sure what club to play and what target to pick. It was difficult to keep the ball in play. However, my short game was right on. My chipping , bunker play and putting was very good. We played the course at 6500 yards and despite hitting into the wind a lot I was able to post a 39 or 3 over par on the front 9.  Keeping the ball in play, chipping it close to the pin on those super fast greens and not letting one single ball run of again once I was there. I had some miss hits, some bunker shots and some errand iron shots. But I was able to get it all done. Also I missed 4 very makeable putts. We will never know what score it could have been. The biggest issue I had was the cold which started on 6.
The temperature started dropping and we could feel it. The wind was freezing to be exact. I found my stalking hat and put on my jacket. Unfortunately the jacket as my shirt were sleeveless.
When I walked up to 10 the temperature dropped further and the wind picked up even more. Incredible to say the least. at that point I was not sure how cold it was , but I was told that it was 48 to 50 with the wind blowing and making it a windshield of about 40 or so. In other words. It was freezing cold on this course and the wind from here on not only picked up but started to change directions and swirl at all times.
I was so distracted that I made a double bogey on 10, which stayed the only one I had.
The back 9 I started with a double, a bogey and a birdie. The birdie being the result of one of my best approach shots in a long time. After a great tee shot I had 120 into the wind with the pin 4 yards from the back and sitting on the plateau. My plan was to land it behind the pin and get it back to the hole a little for a straight putt. After going back on forth in regards to what club to it, I made my choice and went for it. The result was perfect. I landed it right where I wanted and got some spin back. Although a ton of skill was involved, I have to say that I got lucky that the wind stayed as it was and made it possible. I made the birdie putt and was excited to be back. But, I started feeling my joints and my hands started getting really cold.
The next 6 holes were the toughest in a long time. Not because of the holes themselves. But because of the cold. I began to get stiffer by the minute. My arms which were not covered started to not be flexible anymore and my hands had not as much feel as I would have liked. My stalking hat kept me warm around my head and that was the big winner. Because I had to figure out to keep a good round going. My playing partners fell apart one by one. Simply not able to keep focus in the cold. So I changed my game plan.
Keep the ball in play, move it forward, if possible attack a pin and put all the focus on making the putts. Getting in without another double and get every point I can get out of it.
It was work. That is for sure. Had some good holes. 16 I put my tee shot in the green side bunker. Gave myself a chance to safe par, but missed the putt. 17 I putt my drive into the fairway bunker right on the edge. A 3 wood was the right choice, but I was thinking skin $. recovered with a great shot from the sand around some trees for a lay up. But left my GW short and had to take a bogey. But , bogey was fine with me. On the tee at 18 I pretty much did not feel my fingers any more. However I took the driver again and almost ran into disaster. Put it on the left side behind some trees. 5 yards from OB. The choice was to take a hybrid and to try to hit a 180 shot under the tree and between 2 trees 15 yards in front of me which were 2 yards apart ( which makes it like a tiny opening) or chip it out to the fairway to move on safely. Going with the % shot I pitched it out. A very unlucky bounce left me with a side hill on the edge fairway bunker shot. Not pretty. I only had this hole left and was determined to get something out of it. I was able to get the ball out of that thing and move it 10 yards in front of the 150 yard marker. A good shot. My 4th shot was from 147 over the water , with a tree to the left calling for a little draw to a pin which was all the way in the back on a plateau with the Ross green falling to the left and right. But the biggest challenge was the wind. It was howling. The entire back nine we had a hard time to even keep the ball still on the putting green or keep it on line. It took me 3 minutes to figure out my shot. I used my GPS, range finder, yardage book and even discussed the wind with my partner. I came up with 180 to 185 to the pin. So I opted for a 5 iron.
Just when I was ready the wind seemed to even pick up. But I made up my mind and set up for my draw. I gave it a huge rip and it worked out. Amazing. I can not tell you how excited I was about it. Huge iron shot. Pretty exciting and I actually left myself a make able 11 foot par putt. Downhill.
I took my time, but I missed it by an inch. Making the bogey was just fine with me. So I came in with a 43. Not to happy about the number. On the other hand , considering the conditions, I was pretty excited that I was able to bring that number home.
When I brought in my score card and looked at the leader board I realized that I shot a great round of golf. As a matter of fact only 4 players matched it in the end including a couple of the best players around. Although I matched the gross score and only one shot left me short of playing the best round of the day, I was lucky that they had a net division, which gave me the win in that division.
I do not care what quote I am assigned and I am not interested in handicap. What counts is that you play a good round beat whoever is ahead of you. On this day I beat my peers in the net division and the gross division. Which shows, that regardless of the quote on that tour, I am perfectly able to win and play great golf. My hands were frozen, my joints were hurting ( for the last 6 holes) and my ability to turn was maybe 50 percent. But I was able to stick it through. This win gave me some confidence in my game, a good pay out ( my birdie was cut though) and the assurance that I am more than able to handle any condition and the respect of some of the best players including some pro's.
But it took also most of my energy. I was not prepared properly in terms of clothing, food and drinks. So when I got home I was exhausted. My body burned more than I had in me. But I felt great anyhow.
 All of it will help to make it through the next 6 weeks and keep me going and afloat before I can enter a golf trainings camp and prepare for a more professional approach.
In order to move forward I have to work harder, play more, practice more and invest more of my time, money and passion into this game and that is exactly what I am planning to do. My time is ticking and I need to stay on top of things. Today is freezing and I have a home office day with some practice and some other work out.
Feeling pretty good about the fact that all my work from last year will have a long term impact. No doubt there is more to come.