Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Lake Venice Two Men Championship, general practice, WGAT National Championship and more

I am now working my grip and set up for a few weeks and it looks good. It is a long process to change something so fundamental as the grip. As a matter of fact my coach , Jerry Hinton, told me that it might take 6 months to fully change and be used to it.

So far I must say that it feels good. I think I gained some distance with my driver already. Also I believe that my woods of the deck have improved. I am struggling with my 5 iron and at times 6 iron. However , my short irons are in good shape, as they were before. It feels to me as if I make better contact when staying committed to my swing.

In the end I think I just have to keep working on it and try to make sure that I watch my grip before every single shot.

Last weekend the Two men Championship of Venice was on the schedule and I was again in it. This time I had a different and by far better partner. I do not think that I would have entered this tournament if not finding someone who has a positive attitude and a reputation of being a good player.

My practice round I played at Rolling Green Golf Club ( I wrote a review for this course here). The main reason I picked this club was that Jerry plays there every Friday morning and wanted to see me play. Information about Rolling Green you will find in my review.

In regards to the round. My objective was to put the grip to work, watch my set up and see if I can hit longer shots off the tee.

I had a very positive experience there. Although I had many questionable shots, my 3 wood and driver looked pretty good. Pretty straight and of good distance. In the end I was able to get a good eagle on my score card on 18. Not the longest par 5, but long enough to make it a good one. And if you argue that this could be a par 4 ( 480 yards). Fine with me, it still is a birdie. Fact is , I was able to reach the green.

From this one hole I was able to take a lot of confidence with me into the weekend tournament at Lake Venice Golf Club. It was a team event. So our roles were defined pretty well. My objective was to put the ball in the fairway so that Mark could take a good swing at it. He is a long hitter. From there on I worked on getting a safe score in . Saturday was best ball. So I wanted to make sure I play at least par on every hole. That did not work out entirely, but close.

Thing is, that I never really found my rhythm on Saturday. Just could not get the game going as I wanted. Mark played well and so we carried us through the round with an OK finish. Shooting a 75 is not stunning. But it was acceptable considering the circumstances. By that I talk about the fairways and the course in general as well as me not finding my game. The good news was , that I made a lot of very important and good putts.

Sunday was a scramble format. Here we thought that we will catch up with the leaders. Again the plan was that I putt the ball in play and let Mark rip it out there. Second shot put it on each par 5 for eagle putts or in regulation on par 4s for birdie opportunities.

I was in good shape from the get go. Literally only missing 3 fairways. Reached 2 par 5s in two after hitting great drives.  Did not get all par 4s in regulation but most of them. My short game was right on and my putting was very good for at least 12 holes. I had some issues on the front 9 coming in.

Mark did a good job with some very good drives and long approach shots. So we were able to have a great back 9 with 2 under par , but had to take a 1 over par on the front. That was not good enough. But back to my game. I went through my newly developed routine like a clock work and it worked out great.  Some of my drives were perfect. Not only right were I wanted them, but I already gained about 10 to 15 yards. My longest drive on that day was 290 yards +. A great drive. Little right to left and I did it without the usually hard work I have to put in to hit a drive that long.

In all, I am very satisfied with my game over the weekend. Clearly the work with Jerry starts to kick in. We discussed further steps for improvement. A big one will be golf clubs. Different driver, additional hybrid and different wedges. I am not entirely sure when I will or can move on with that, but I am working on it.

Also I will add the Game ( a tracking product to see how you play your round, shot by shot. McDowell seems to have success with that). Last I will take a series of up to 10 more sessions with Jerry Hinton at Tatum Ridge Golf Links.

Last my practice at Sarabay CC needs to increase gradually. This might be a challenge for time and technical reasons, but there will be a way.

I am extremely excited about how I progress and change. It is a long and hard way. But it is a fun way and honestly, I feel like I am supposed to do exactly what I do. No doubt whatsoever that I will make it.

The upcoming weeks are going to be very exciting and very exhausting. This week in full focus on practice until Sunday. Sunday I will play yet another round with Jerry to see if I am on track. This will be the Tatum Ridge Game. A good and big game. Good $ opportunity as well.

Several rounds coming up including 2 tournaments. But the two most interesting I entered today.

The South Florida WGAT Championship at Colliers CC in Naples and the National Championship of the WGAT in Howie in the Hills ( close to Orlando , FL). The second one being the biggest event I play in this year. It is a 3 day stroke play event in which the goal is to win your assigned flight and win a  trip for two to South Africa for the World Final in which to represent the USA.

The tournament will be on the 25,26 and 27 of September. However we play on 2 courses and I need to play 2 practice rounds, one on each, before I get there. I want to have the best shot at a win. A win there would be huge.

It would give us a trip for 2 to South Africa 4 weeks after the qualification, around October 25 or so. All and I mean all expenses are paid for including flight, drinks, food, hotel and so on. Best, I would represent the USA and be part of a great team over there, battling teams from all over the World. How exciting that would be. After all I am a US Citizen and that would  be the topping on the cake.

Now that the green fees are paid we will work on hotel nights for the trip. If things go even more well my entire family will be part of this event and travel with me. That would be even better and a double motivator. On top it would actually our first golf trip as I always pictured it.

But one thing at a time.

Anybody out there played on the WGAT before? Maybe even qualified? This is my first year playing on this tour. Would love to hear from players who were part of it.

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