The Dan Plan will be hitting the road next Monday for a ten day press/practice abroad circuit starting in Zurich, Switzerland and then in Gothenburg, Sweden before returning to Portland for the beginning of winter training.
I always debate the merit of taking such trips, but this time I will be passing through the home town of my brother (Zurich) and will be able to stay with him for the duration of my visit in Switzerland. I have been wanting to visit him since he moved over there for work a few years back and this is my best chance. While there I have already arranged for two rounds of golf and am actively looking for more chances to get out and tee it in a new atmosphere. I have found that when practicing and playing in completely new surroundings breakthroughs tend to happen.
I’m taking my learnings from Vision54 with me on the road and will work on creating a stronger play box when in unfamiliar surroundings. One of the main things that I learned during the Vision54 course is that I need to work on transitioning from conversation or in-between shot processing to high focus when executing my shots. I work best when I am truly focussed and it is easy when on the road or playing in front of a camera crew/reporter to not have the right amount of focus when making a swing, it is very similar to playing in a tournament, actually. Any chance I have to play with new people or in situations where I am unfamiliar are great opportunities to improve this skill.
I leave next Monday and before that I was supposed to play in a 3-day tournament in Tacoma this weekend. But, there was a catch with the FlightScope and I ended up using the funds that I was going to use for the tournament to buy an iPad to use with the FlightScope. I was under the impression that FlightScope worked with an iPhone, but after it arrived I realized that the iPhone app was just a couple of the games and not all of the data that FlightScope produces. I also then realized that it only works with a pc laptop, which I didn’t have, so the only realistic option for taking advantage of such a great machine was to invest in an iPad. The cost of this weekend’s tournament with travel and hotel was going to be almost exactly what an iPad costs, so I appropriated the funds that I was going to use for a 3-day tourney to instead invest in a machine that I can use for the next year to help improve my game. Personally I think it was the right decision, but I am bummed to not be playing tourney golf this weekend. A small sacrifice towards the loftier goal.
On a different note, yesterday I decided to play an old game that I hadn’t broken out in a while. I took two balls and played a one-man scramble for 9 holes, hitting two shots from every location and then playing the better of the two. Back in my Columbia Edgewater days I used to play the par 3 course both this way and worse ball (same thing, just play the worse of the two shots) quite a bit and always liked best ball for confidence and worse ball for a good challenge. Yesterday I felt like seeing where I was ball striking wise if I gave myself two swings at every shot. I hit it well and was on all but one fairway and then all but two greens. I had to punch out on one hole as both of my drives went left and then I came up a hair short on one of the par 3s playing 190 yards. I shot 2 under for the best ball 9 holes and could have been lower if I had made more of the birdie putts, which there were plenty of. Two birdies and seven pars.
An hour later I decided to see if I could beat that mark with just one ball and while playing with some other people so I went back out and played the same 9 holes. This time around I had 3 birdies, but also had one double bogey so carded 1 under for those holes. I think playing the best ball gave me more confidence in my swing as I was hitting it better than I have in a while when I went back out. This is a good way to build up your abilities while also getting a glimpse of your potential, or at least a glimpse of how good you can strike the ball. It’s a fun little game and tomorrow I plan on going out there and playing the worse ball scenario. This one is surprisingly harder, especially when it comes down to making birdie putts as you essentially have to make it twice for the worse of the two to count.
To me it was very inspiring to know that whether I am playing best ball or one single ball I can shoot under par for nine holes. The next test is to see if it is possible to shoot under par for 18 holes of best ball and then let that translate into playing under for 18 with one single ball. I feel like I am hitting the ball better than I have in a long time and starting to make more putts which puts my potential lower than it has ever been, I just need to allow myself to believe I am capable of shooting such scores and then let it happen. Sometimes our minds can negatively get in the way and we have to coax them into believing something that might not seem obvious at first.