Tuesday, February 4, 2014

West Florida Am Tour event on Laurel Oaks West at Laurel Oak Country Club and more

We are in February and the year started slow as it was planned. While my practice level is at a low point for simple reasons like time, transportation and some other unavoidable yet important matters, I am able to get some things done at home in my practice set up. Which basically means hitting balls into a net and putting on a fast putting green. So yesterday I was ready to play the West Florida Amateur Tour event. Sunday I played a very promising skins game at Tatum Ridge. Put out a 5 over par 77 which on one hand was a good round and on another not so much, considering I had 8 makeable birdie putts and left most of them short and missed a couple by 1/8 inch or so. However, I hit plenty of fairways, had the par 3s under control and dealt with every challenge in a professional matter getting up and down for par. I actually hit one ball in the water and took a double bogey on the front. Considering those two holes, the 77 looks pretty good. So you might understand that I was pretty excited to go out on Monday and add to my successful play on the WFAT. One little thing I was thinking might interfere with my top form. Superbowl Sunday. Would not have been significant if not for two major reasons. 1. I lived in Seattle for 15 years, have family there and consider it my home town and 2. we had family over from Germany who were here for 1 day before leaving on a cruise. Now, if I would have played in a pro event of any kind as part of my income schedule and promotional tasks, both of those things had no meaning to me. However, I had a very late tee time and it was a smaller event. So There was no reason to not have a good time at Superbowl .
Turns out it was a good thing. I felt great in the morning and if there was any physical impact, I was not aware of it. A true fact is, that alcohol will impact your senses and interfere with your swing. I got to the course and went right to work on the chipping green and it felt just fine. Had good control over my balls and could keep it short and move to the range. Since we had a 1 hour delay on the course because of fog in the morning, I had plenty of time to warm up and get ready. After a little stretch routine I did my warm up routine starting with PW and working my way up to the driver. It felt good. Swing was nice and smooth and I made solid contact through out this routine. My driver was straight and felt workable as well. Next I went over to the short game area and there my main goal was to get my LW hot. I expected fast greens and wanted to make sure I can fly and stop my ball as often as possible. This is my preferred way around the green. While many play the roller I like to fly it 3 /4 and then let it either roll out or stop it with some spin. My LW felt good and I moved on to some trap shots which also were in order. I am sure you can see why I felt pretty good. I was not tired and my warm up went well.
My round was a little bit up and down. My tee shot was good for the most part on all par 5s and most par 4s . I am pleased with my driver. Although I am not the longest player in the field, I hit a very high percentage of fairways, Mostly about 80 %. That is pretty good and gives me plenty of opportunity to get GR. GR normally translate in birdie chances and good pars. My approach shot was OK from 150 in and I gave myself opportunities. The approach shots from 175 to 210 where OK, but not as dialed in. The biggest challenge was my putting. When I hit the green I was able for the most part to make 2 putts. Only one three putt on the card. I missed some birdie putts yet again. Leaving them 1 inch or less short by not giving enough zipp to the ball or better said by not applying enough speed. I made one birdie putt from about 4 feet. But it will be a tough year if I need to get the ball within 4 feet on every hole to actually make a birdie putt LOL. I guess I can talk about the greens yet again. On Sunday we had a speed of 7 to 8. Which is horrible and you need a hammer to move the ball. Yesterday we had, per posting, a 10. But I am not sure if they were right. It seemed slower and the greens were bumpy and beaten up. However, I do not believe that other then 1 or 2 putts, the greens had any impact on my game. My lay ups on par 5s where all perfect and I was no further then 15 feet for my birdie putt.
The biggest challenge I had were par 3s. I literally only hit one green ! 2 par 3s I found the water. Saved one bogey and had to take one double. One par three I plugged the ball , but still was able to get a bogey out of it. I played 4 par 3s 4 over. Not good. Those are 4 lost strokes which are simply not necessary. But John Daly talked about it on his cd. He does not like par 3s. You have one shot and anything can happen. That is what happened to me yesterday.
I had 3 bunker shots and all were OK. On all three of them I scored points. Overall I was able to play well with what I found on the course. Had some very long and good drives and handled challenges pretty well, always going for the tough short and executing them decent.
I am not too far away to find my first par round on a good course. I can feel it and came close several. times. Just a shot there or a putt there. If all putts which were extremely close would fall, you could shave some 8 shots right there and are on the way to an under par round. But that is the nature of the game. Balls need to fall. My confidence when I am standing over those putts is not the best at this point and I need to work on it. However, I need to hang in because before our wedding next week and the time we spend away, not much will happen. I will play a couple tournaments and get some practice in. I need to stay on it. Play and play and play. Even without sufficient swing teaching and practice it is crucial to stay on the course and in competition. To challenge your swing and mind. One never knows what might come along. I have never felt more confident that I am getting closer to the breaking point. So , today we will do some good work on the range for a few hours. Putting will be a big part of it. Short game as second part and then some irons. Only few drives and woods. I feel comfortable and just want to keep my feel. On Thursday I get to play a great golf course. Long Boat Key Harbor Side. The FSGA will hold an even there and I a lucky to be registered. Not sure which flight I am in. I was planning to play the gross only flight. But will take any. They all play the same tees. 6500 will be the length. Not to bad. Still short compared to what I need to master, but a good challenge. I am excited and look forward to be out. As a matter of fact, I can not wait to be on the range today. Fact is, that I feel best when practicing , working on my game, playing a round of golf and even better when in a tournament. Whenever I have my clubs in my hand I feel like I am doing what I am supposed to do and is that not what we should feel when we do things? I found my purpose and now it is a matter of working it and keeping at it at all cost. 1st step right now ? Coffee and breakfast LOL.

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