On the Cusp

I’ve played a couple of rounds since shooting my first 79 and feel like my game has just had a breakthrough.  I’m still being kept back by a couple aspects, the largest one being getting off of the tee, but all in all I have never felt more confident in my golfing abilities.

I’m not sure if this is a by-product of having played my first tournament (successfully, in my mind) or if it’s just a natural time for a confidence boost.  Regardless of the cause, I am always ecstatic when things seem on the up and up.  There are plenty of peaks and valleys along the way and it is important to celebrate the peaks and to know that the valleys are temporary and fleeting.

I will enter this weekend’s two-man two-day best ball tournament at Rose City with a completely different mindset than last week’s tourney.  I was confident in my skills last week, but they had never been tested so that confidence was somewhat a farce.  Now, I know more of what to expect all around and have a better sense of my personal reactions to sub-optimal shots and how to get over them in preparation for the next shot.  Last week I began to hurry up a bit after hitting a bad shot, which is the exact opposite of what I should do.  I need to stop and analyze the options instead of just going for the big shot every time.  Laying up and taking my medicine could have saved a few strokes.  Live and learn.

What’s going right in my game is general ball striking with irons as well as a much cleaner short game and putting.  I have been getting a higher percentage of up-and-downs from within 20 yards of the green and have been putting well in general, although I’m still stumped by the speed of these slow Pacific Northwest greens.  It has taken my three weeks now to adjust to the speed and I’m still leaving some putts short.  Tomorrow I will get aggressive and make sure the ball gets to the hole.  The short irons and wedges have been flying well and the longer ones are coming along.

What’s causing the most strokes is getting off the tee.  I know it is the newest addition to the bag, but hitting the woods and driver off the tee has been an issue in my game.  The percentage of shots in the fairway is pretty dismal and I am often punching out and then scrambling to make a bogey.  It will take some time and work to get those longer sticks to feel more comfortable.  For now, I cannot help but wonder why I did not hit the driver for 10 minutes a day since day one.  I think that I short-sided myself by limiting my practice to just short clubs.  But, one cannot reverse time and what happened is what happened.  Now, I do feel confident around the green and that is pretty priceless.  It’s time to feet comfortable in the tee box, just need to put in another 1,000 hours or so :)

The game, though, is on the cusp.  Over the last 5 rounds I have started off very well, shooting just a few over after the first 9 holes and end up scoring in the low 80s with a couple of bad drives late in the day producing a double bogey or two.  Looking at my scorecards, I realize that there is definitely a difference between the first four holes and the last, so my mental goal for the next month is to work on sealing the deal.  I need to stay strong and stay in the game for 18 holes.   To do this, I am going to work on playing while fatigued, so will work out in the morning and then walk 36 holes through the day.  Whenever possible, you should try to make practice harder than competition.  Makes sense to me, at least.

Off for today’s rounds.

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