Even if I don’t believe in “luck” I still consider myself a very fortunate person and do not plan on taking anything in life for granted. Bad or good, I enjoy the path that lays in front of me and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in this world.
Today, I walked off the course realizing just how fortunate I am. I didn’t ace a hole, drop in a chip for eagle/birdie or even get a long bomb putt for birdie. In fact, I didn’t birdie a single hole in the NW Golfguys tournament at the Reserve this morning. I hit the ball about how I normally do in any given round at my current level, but had 39 putts which helped push my score up to an 85. Not what I had hoped for by any means and one could say it was another disappointing tournament, but it was just another learning experience and I had a few great realizations on the course and am inspired to work extra hard this Fall and Winter to amp up my game before next year’s tourney season kicks off. All five of the tournaments I entered this year were humbling and eye opening. They are a great way to see where you stand on all aspects of your game from the mental side to short putts. This summer I got my feet wet in tourney play and have a better grasp of what it means to tee it up when in these situations. Just like everything, it takes experience and work to get good at playing under pressure. I will probably fall a lot before I learn what works for me, and I am okay with that. It’s hard to get better at something without stretching your neck out and seeing as this is a public journey I think it’s safe to say my neck is out in the open.
But, it’s time to get to the topic of today’s blog.. Why am I a lucky/fortunate man? Well, I received this as a text just after I finished my round:
My amazing girlfriend sent the image along with a note saying that she was proud of me. It’s not about cupcakes, of course, it’s about a supportive partner. To know that I will come home to open arms and a loving person no matter what the outcome of today’s, or any day’s, round is extremely empowering. It would be impossible to do something like this completely alone and I realize more every day how important it is to nurture the relationships closest to us. It’s our loved ones that celebrate victories and console downfalls. Without them success seems hollow and failure overly deflating. In the end, tomorrow is another day and a chance to grow and the sooner we overcome hardships the quicker we can begin the learning.
Back to the round. Instead of breaking it down hole by hole, here are some stats:
As you can see, I hit a good bit of greens in regulation, just did not convert any opportunities. I was putting and chipping scared, just like in the last tourney round and it cost me dearly. My putts per hole today was 2.2, making for the 39 putts. According to the same software program, my average over the past 40 rounds is 1.8, or about 32 putts per round. That’s a huge difference and it’s over a large sample size, which helps demonstrate that today (perhaps current tournament play in general) is the exception and not a measure of my actual skill level. It’s undeniable that I need to shore up my tourney putting and learn how to relax on the greens.
The good news is that I feel comfortable on tee shots now, as well as fairway shots. My ball striking from tee to green is much smoother just after 5 tournaments, but once I get near the green I tense up and lose my touch for both chips and putts. It’s amazing how much our brains can get in the way when not properly trained to perform under pressure. The short game is actually what I consider my strength and is what I have practiced most, but is what breaks down first when the pressure is applied. Pretty interesting how that works.
I had just one stroke-producing error off of the tees today. I hit a drive OB on 10 that went into a white stake hazard so I had to re-tee and hit another drive. I got a double on the hole because of it. Outside of that, I hit the ball decent but still have a long way to go with fairways hit, although my misses didn’t cost me looks at the greens in most cases.
Regardless of all of this, I gained experience through today’s round and then came home to a supportive partner. Even though I didn’t break 80, as was my goal, I still got to eat one of those inspired cupcakes and will live to practice another day. It’s important to never lose site of our goals, but it’s just as important to nurture the relationships around us. Be deliberate in every aspect of life.