Golf can be a brutally revealing sport, when its going good, its bliss, but when your off, its a brutally difficult sport. For anyone still reading this bizarre golf blog, I appreciate your patience during my absence. I have been through quite a roller-coaster with my game. Many issues have gone into the steep decline in my performance, but this blog has never been about my performance, but more my experiences and preparation for attempting to play this game at the highest level possible.
Playing well for a long period of time will all come crashing down, if you do not put the time and effort into keeping, mentally, physically, and emotionally sharp. The desire to practice and compete need to be burning deep inside, and sacrifices need to be made. I basically just lost all of these aspects necessary to compete at a level that I desire to compete at. I started shooting scores in the 80’s on occasion, and didn’t ever grind out rounds, just wanting to quit and walk off the course.
My recent trip to the UK was a disaster, I only managed to play 9 holes in the Senior Open (a tournament that I have qualified for 4 times and have made the cut three times) My back gave out after nine holes, which probably was more a result of the 42 I shot on the front nine holes. During my three practice rounds I was golden, and anticipated a good round in the qualifier. But the lack of getting off to a good start really in any event, has me in a tail spin. This blunder was followed by another poor performance in the British Senior Amateur at Ganton. Although my clubs got lost for three days, I cannot use that as an excuse to shoot an 84 in the first round, followed by a 76 for a 160 total. I did make the cut and had a chance to shoot a final round 80. Although this may have been the hardest course I’ve ever played (next to Oakmont in the 2003 US Amateur) I normally like the tougher venues, and feel they play to my advantage.
Everything about my game has been weak in competition, poor driving, iron shots, chip shots, and poor putting. Each putt I am not sure if I will hit it with my eyes closed or open. Finally I just decided that this 3 year slide needs to come to and end, and I should either quit competitive golf and all the frustration, or get back to what once worked before. What worked before was simple, I was confident.
A few weeks ago, I played a round with a good buddy of mine Stan Morrison. We played the Olympic Club Lake course from the tips, and after nine holes I decided that I had enough of the sloppy focus, and pitiful play. On the back I made a purposeful effort to focus, visualize, and extract the putting issues. I played solid, and carried it into Monday’s USGA Senior Amateur qualifier, where standing on the 17th tee I stood -7, a career best in a USGA event. I didn’t finish strong, but still shot a solid 66, and was low by 3 shots.
The difference was I didn’t carry the fear about “oh my lousy game” waiting for the bad shit to happen. I made a 6 foot putt for par on the first hole, and I was off and running, not missing a putt inside 10 feet through 18 holes.
I also must admit I have a new secret weapon, its a simple new weapon, its food for the brain function, and focus. I’ve had this food twice on the course, once after 9 holes in the US Open local qualifier at The Preserve (played the back first and shot 39) then played the front in 31. And this qualifier my breakfast was this product that you can read about at http://www.cognutria.com
It won’t cure the putting woes, but you will be more focused, aware, and into making better decisions. I will never not play without taking one (or two) of these delicious baked bars, which is the genus of its founder Allan Lees.
After a 10 day layoff, I again played the tips at OC Lake and shot a 67 (although not in a tournament) for my last 36 holes I am -10. This after shooting half my rounds in the 80’s. We all can get better, you just need to believe you can do it, and that the sacrifices will pay off. Don’t waste your time wishing for something magical to happen, it never works that way. If you put in the time to be better mentally, physically, and emotionally, combined with better nutrition, you will play better golf.
And yes, I have a TPI trainer, I’ve recently been to a Hypnotist, I work with one of the best golf instructors in the world, and I again am making sacrifices to play better golf. I have many more stories and experiences to share with you, but for now, I am focused on the USGA Senior Amateur being held at Big Canyon CC from Sept 13-18th. Everyday I am visualizing holding that USGA trophy high over my head at about 12:30 PM on Thursday September 18th. Stay tuned for how I plan to prepare for this grueling event that has 6 matches over 4 days on a very tough track!!