A fresh start to 2015

It has been a long time, perhaps too much time, since I last sat down to write a blog. I spent about 10 days over the Christmas holidays in both Atlanta and Hilton Head visiting with family and while I did managed to squeeze in 4.5 rounds of golf in the sunny Southeast, I decided to take a little break from writing and just enjoy the time with family.

I returned to Portland on New Years eve day and despite the freezing temperatures and frozen greens I got out there and played a round a day since being back.  Riverside has been closed (18 temporary greens) so I found myself at some of the other courses around town trying to learn how to stick greens hard as ice cubes.  It’s actually a ton of fun to play in these conditions as you literally have no clue how or where the ball will bounce coming into the greens.  You can try to leave it short but it might either plug in the fringe or if it lands in the shade can take a crazy left or right bounce.  Puts a new twist on the game of golf, as if it wasn’t hard enough already :)

The weather is warming up, though, and by tomorrow the rains will have thawed out the sod and the courses shall return to more normal conditions.   Today I am resting as my entire family shared a rather nasty chest cold over the holidays, brought by my brother and his wonderful daughter all the way from Switzerland as an unexpected present to us all.  I thought I was in the clear, but the flight back to Portland proved to be just enough time spent in airports to let it set in.  So, one day off and then back at it tomorrow.

I still haven’t figured out my driver situation.  I got a demo one built for my by Jari down at Birdie Finnish golf but it had an Accra extra stiff cut down shaft and I think it was too much club for my current swing, so am going to try the same one but with a stiff shaft to see how that feels.  One thing I definitely know, though, is that a shorter shaft both allows me to swing more freely as well as does not slow my swing speed, which I thought it would.  It’s good to know and I think a 43″ shaft will be a great fit once I find the right combo of shaft/club head.  In the meantime I have been sticking with my gamer Titleist 913 and working on getting my swing a bit steeper with the driver, which helps control/minimize the left and right miss.

I actually had this realization while playing with a plus-3 golfer down in Hilton Head who is heading to Portugal to try and qualify at the European Tour Q-School.  I noticed his pre -shot routine and swing were all about keeping the club a bit more upright through the swing and I realized that I had been reverting to a flatter driver swing again which for me creates a bad two-way miss.  It’s amazing how in this game you can essentially “forget” to do something for a long time and then all of a sudden have an “a-ha!” moment getting you back on track.  That is why taking notes is so important, and my Vision54 notebook is pretty much packed with these types of swing thoughts.  Perhaps it’s time to go through that notebook and combine the useful thoughts into something I can keep with me during each round.

It’s the beginning of the year and a natural time to reflect on the past year as well as set up goals for the one to come.  I typically set process goals as they are good for keeping things on track and when hit generally allow for the outcomes that may be hoped for.  One outcome that I would like to hit this year is to place top 5 in a tournament.  Instead of focussing on that outcome, I will choose to work on improving my driving and putting as if I can transition from 30 percent of fairways hit to at least 50 percent by improving my driving accuracy that will translate to more fairways and more greens and if I work on getting the ball started on my line and improving my 7-15 foot putts it will lead to less putts per round and lower scores.  those are my main goals right now.  My irons are pretty solid and not a weakness, but tee shots have continued to lag behind the rest of my game.  My putting is solid, but can always get better.  I plan on attending an AimPoint seminar this year to help me improve my green reading skills.

For the tee shot I think having a shorter club that I trust will help, as well as improving my swing technique vie video and FlightScope.

All good things and I am excited for the new year and new possibilities.  2015 is going to be the best golfing year yet, I know it!

If I was to honestly reflect on 2014 for a moment I would have to say that as a whole it was slightly disappointing golf-wise.  I do believe that I improved in a lot of ways, but the outcomes were not what I had hoped for over the past 12 months.  I did shoot under par for the first time and got my handicap down to under a 3 at one point, but my tournament golf was not where I had hoped it would be.  It’s a completely different beast and the only way to really improve in pressure situations is to compete in those as much as possible.  I have started to play in a regular Saturday money game and this is helping that learning curve.  This year I will join a couple of different men’s clubs around town to have regular games on a few different days of the week at different courses.  Also, I’ll play in more tournaments, as many as I can afford to sign up for.

In 2016 I want to play in a series of mini-tours and this year is all about amping up for that time.

Sorry again about the long delay in blog posts.  This time of year, I have noticed from blogging for the past 4 years, is very slow for both posts and audience.  The week around Christmas and New Years typically sees about 30 percent of the traffic as the rest of the year does.  Not that that is a good excuse, but it makes for a natural short break time.   Much more to come soon!

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