Never Stop Grinding During A Challenging Round

As I watched the final round of The Players Championship, I was reminded of an important lesson about playing competitive golf. As Lee Westwood struggled in most areas of his game, he demonstrated a moxie that should inspire most players. I watched him hit poor shots, then respond with clutch recovery shots. He hit his ball into the pond or a sand trap only to respond by working his magic to reduce the damage. Westwood showed that as a professional golfer, actually any golfer, it is important to never stop grinding during a challenging round.

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Every Shot Counts During Every Round

I do not know about you, but I believe that every shot is important during all my rounds of golf. At any given time, on shot can turn your great round into a good round, into an average round, into a poor round. It really depends on how poorly we actually hit a ball. This happened to me during my last round where two bad swings resulted in a three over par round. Just two poor swings!

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Day One – Ontario Golf Regionals for the Military

Day one of the Ontario Golf Regionals went as hoped. I played a strong round overall, but with mixed 9s. The course was set up to score and considering that it is late September, it is in fairly good shape. The only real challenge is the greens because they are playing slow and are a bit shaggy compared to earlier in the season. But we have to play the condition that is tournament golf. Continue reading

Golf and Patience

Grateful GolferGolf is a game that tests your patience every round. Regardless of how well, or poorly, you are playing, something always seems to happen that challenges your ‘zen’ state of calm. I have discussed the tale of two nines recently and experienced another round like that today.

I started off my round with a par on the first hole. Confidently, I walked to the second hole and as I strutted to tee box the wheels suddenly fell off! For the next 7 holes, I shot 3 doubles, 3 bogies and 1 par! I was 9 over after 8. I will admit that my ‘zen’ was gone and I was feeling quite frustrated. The main reason for my poor performance was my driver. I did not hit one fairway…..not one! I was in the rough quite a bit, but not on the short grass at all!

Ever the optimist, I told my playing partners that now was a good time to screw my head on straight and start playing golf. Well something amazing happened. I striped the ball down the fairway about 290 yards. It was by far the my longest drive of the year! Sitting just under 200 yards to the green (the ninth hole is a par 5), I stoked a smooth 4 hybrid to 8 feet! I was putting for eagle! As I lipped out the putt, I still felt a sense of relief that my game was not totally gone.

Playing the back nine was fun. I had 2 birdies, 3 bogies, and 4 pars. I shot even par for the last 10 holes! Additionally, I was putting for eagle on the 18th hole. It was very long, but I was still putting. The difference between the front and back nine was my improvement off the tee. Also, I caught a few lucky bounces, but overall my last 10 holes were pretty solid.

My final score was an 81. Not my best by far, but reasonable considering the roller-coaster round I played today. A golf lesson for us all would be that these games are very important. Sometimes in competition, players have to grind out a good score. Today was one of those days. Most of all, I had a fantastic time. Gratefully, the company was very good and that always helps turn my mood around when things go sour.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

Grinding in Golf

Base Playdowns 2014 club ball duckI finished the first round of the Wing Playdowns yesterday. This golf tournament is a three-day event to select a 5 man – 2 woman team to represent 8 Wing Trenton at the Ontario Golf Regional competition in July. Due to inclement weather, the second and third round will be played next Wednesday and Thursday. After two days of heavy rain , about 100 mm, the course played tough, long and unforgiving. We played from the tips (blues) and between the hot sun, sprinkles, puddles, ground under repair and casual water everywhere, all the players had to be on their game to score well. I am grateful for my two playing partners; they were very pleasant which really reduced any stress that might have mounted as the round progressed.

Shooting an 81 was a great score. Given the conditions, I felt very good about my result; let me explain. The very first shot was into a 200 yard par three.  Using a 3 hybrid, I struck a smooth shot that tracked straight for the pin. As the ball landed 2 yards short of the green, it kicked straight right and finished 4 yards from the green, but still on the fringe. I could not believe it! When I arrived at the green, I noticed my ball hit the side of a sprinkler head! And so the games began.

I was short on most chips. For some reason I could not adjust to the wet conditions and could not hit the ball hard enough on my approach shots. Uncharacteristically, I only chipped the ball within 10 feet once all day. No matter where I was located, I could not seem to adjust.  Having said that, my putting was very good.  I made at least 5 putts from between 10-15 feet. Most of those were in the side door!

Base Playdowns 2014I am not a long hitter, so I do rely on the extra 10-20 yard roll from my woods and long irons. Well, during this round there was no roll! Therefore, I was hitting many long irons on my second shot. Everyone knows that hitting long irons into the green is not conducive to scoring low! As a result, I walked off with an 81.

Our round took about 4.5 hours. It was a bit slow considering we were a threesome, but we spent quite a bit of time looking for balls in the long rough.  Our course has decided to let some of the grass grow along the course. Normally, this grass is not really in play, but yesterday it was. In some cases the grass is up to your knees and if you find your ball, it was likely you would call an unplayable lie. This change in routine definitely impacted how we played. Focus and concentration was definitely tested!

Some of the things that was very helpful during my round that helped me grind out a good score was:

  • pre-shot routine – this allowed me to stay focused on the shot at hand regardless of other results;
  • mental concentration – I worked both physically and mentally during the round. I found that the use visualization and positive mental focus prior to my round really helped; and
  • being grateful – stuff happens on the course. Good breaks and bad breaks, regardless I was grateful for the opportunity to play golf and hopefully represent my Wing at the next level. This positive attitude kept the negative thoughts from creeping in and really affecting my score.

For those players who understand that you can score well and play poorly; score poorly and play well; and really work on the course keep your score down, yesterday was the latter. I felt that I really worked at playing golf yesterday. My score is a bit higher than normal (about 4-5 strokes) but I am very happy with the result. I am encouraged and excited for the next Wednesday!

Currently, I am tied for 3rd place with two other players. Our moving day will be Wednesday and my strategy is to play my game and shoot my handicap.  If I do that, I will be well situated to move on to the next leg of the competition.

I am a grateful golfer!  See you on the links!