Friday, September 13, 2013

Colorado Open

In case you're wondering, it's true...the golf ball really does fly noticeably further at higher altitude! It was fun adjusting my club decisions based on the ball flying 10% further in the mile-high city last week. Though I'd visited Denver, CO before to go snowboarding on nearby mountains, that was my first experience playing and carrying my bag at that kind of altitude. I enjoyed the course, which was an interesting modern design with trees in the middle of some fairways and speedy slopes in the greens. Coming directly from a great ball striking performance in California, my play at Green Valley Ranch displayed much of the same characteristics. I hit the ball very well and made good decisions, but did not adjust well enough for the speed of the greens. Along with my focus on short game, I am also making a conscious effort to play more patiently. The more patient I am on the golf course, the quicker I detach from emotions that follow after good or bad shots, and the less I focus on results while playing which thereby helps me stay in the moment. I'm glad to be back in the South now to practice all that I've learned recently and to keep working on my process.


 Nice view of the Rockies behind the Par 3, #13, at Green Valley Ranch golf course

An interesting feature of the course was how the designer placed trees in front of greens in the fairway. Not a problem on the Par 5, 2nd hole, here if you lay up to 100 yards.

 Another unique view from the fairway into a Par 4 green. Strategy is key as you have to lay up off the tee to 130-150 yards from the green.

 These strange contraptions were seen around course in random places and are apparently to trap any kind of biting fly.

What to do when waiting on a tee box for 20 minutes in a practice round... get to know the ginormous local bull frogs! And no, that is not my ball in the water.

I wonder if Colorado knows anything about frog-giggin'...

Shhh, don't tell the flight attendant I didn't turn my camera phone off before landing. If you've never flown into the Denver airport before, check out the picture below of the roof. It represents the mountain range, and the rings around some of the peaks signify the mountains in CO that reach above 14,000 feet.

Neat view of a dam (looks like a giant stair case to the lower right of the lake) while flying over Nevada.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Last week was my first time entering the LPGA Qualifying Tournament known by many as "Q-School." I felt ready and was glad to have played both courses used in the 72-hole event several times, but I missed the cut at the end of the week by 2 shots. Though it is hard to describe the disappointment in not qualifying and continuing through the process, I know better than to leave focusing on any 2 of the shots I hit in the entire 72 holes. Instead, I review my performance from start to finish not to point to the cut line, but to learn what I need to improve to be at the top of the leaderboard. I kept a positive attitude through the rounds and tried not to think of results. I am proud of the decisions I made on each of the courses, with making simple pars my main course management goal. After some of my best ball-striking rounds there, I will be working hard to improve my short game on and around the greens. It was a wonderful experience that I know has better prepared me for events ahead and for entering the process next year. I learned an incredible amount about myself, course strategy, mental and physical skills in my 2 weeks in the desert; and I know I am surfacing from the experience a better player as a whole. I believe in my process and my work ethic, and I am very thankful for opportunities and those that support me! Score does not define me and I now look ahead to the challenge of adapting to changing conditions as I fly directly to Denver to play in the Colorado Open.

Thank you for following!


 I had joked for months that rain follows me everywhere because so many of my tournaments had rain... Well in a desert that only receives 2"-3" of annual rainfall in the winter months, I practiced in one of the most bizarre storms I've ever experienced -which says a lot since I'm from Oklahoma! The bright sun was at my back in the pic below while I hit balls into a horizontal rain to an incredibly dark sky ahead of me with strong wind gusts and the most amazingly full double-layered rainbows I've ever seen. I wanted to find the pots of gold!

Driving range at 7am before one of the qualifying rounds.

This 26 foot tall statue downtown shows Palm Springs is proud of their "discovering" of Marilyn Monroe.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Golf in the California Desert!

Wow what a difference humidity makes! It is as hot as an oven out here in Rancho Mirage, CA but even though it's scorching on the golf course I don't feel as if I'm breathing with a wet towel across my mouth like I often feel in the Southeast. I played a 72 hole Suncoast Series event at Mission Hills Country Club on the Palmer and Dinah Shore courses as preparation for the 1st Stage of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament (Q-school) the following week. Besides a few bad swings that lead to costly holes in round 1, I played fairly steady golf for the rest of the tournament. I am very glad I had the experience of the Suncoast event to help me develop a solid game plan and feel comfortable on those courses before playing them for 1st Stage next week. I was especially excited after my play in the 3rd round, not because I made a ton of birdies, but because I gave myself chances all day and stayed extremely patient while my putting was just a fraction off. I don't remember the last time I made 16 pars in a round of golf, so it was encouraging to see that I stayed committed to my game plan. Rather than becoming frustrated at the birdie putts that didn't fall and then making mistakes from trying to force them in, I disciplined myself to stay patient and continued hitting one shot at a time. As always it's a process, but I'm excited to learn about enthusiastic patience which I will continue to try applying to my game plans. Once again, I'm grateful for what I learned in competition!

Since finishing the Suncoast Series event at Mission Hills CC, I've been practicing hard in the days between that last round and the 1st Stage of Q-school. I'm definitely seeing improvements in my game and I'm excited about several elements, but I also know at the same time that I must not get ahead of myself. Remember, staying in the present is the key! Thanks to a good friend I have also been able to practice at Desert Willow Golf Resort in Palm Desert. This has been a very nice advantage for me because it is much closer to where I'm staying and allows me to have a more focused practice at a great range and short game facility. As the start of the LPGA Qualifying process nears, I am as appreciative as ever for all those who have helped, supported, or encouraged me in any form thus far in the pursuit of my golf career. It would not be possible otherwise, so thank you!

Stay cool and hydrated!


Clubhouse view of #18 on Dinah Shore at Mission Hills CC

The Legendary Dinah Shore next to #18 green & the LPGA Walk of Champions

Approach to #6 on Dinah Shore Tournament Course

Sooo many bunnies & coyotes near Desert Willow's practice facility! You know what they say about bunnies...

Excuse me, Peter Rabbit, playing through!

I can now say I've witnessed a course with speed KNOBS instead of speed bumps, because apparently golf carts are really fast...

I'm guessing it must get pretty windy here.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Wedge work and preparation!

With a 72 hole tournament and the 1st stage of the LPGA Qualifying tournament on the horizon, I've been getting up close and personal with my wedges a lot lately. Short game should always receive the most attention, but in preparation for what can be very windy conditions in the desert in California, I've especially been working on controlling the trajectories of wedge and pitch shots of all distances. This also helps my golf swing with the other clubs in my bag because this kind of wedge practice ingrains good mechanics through the impact zone with compact swings. You can see in the pictures below that I've also been working on greenside bunker shots and overall balance and stability in my swing. You might be surprised how much practicing your wedges will help all types of shots in your golf game. Give it a try and comment below if you have any favorite wedge and pitch shot games or drills you like to do!

I'll be teeing it up in a Suncoast Series Qschool prep event August 18th-21st on the same 2 courses at Mission Hills CC that host 1st Stage, the Palmer and the Dinah Shore courses. Then I'll continue practicing in the desert until the 1st Stage of Qschool there August 27th-30th.
Wedge it close!


 Screenshots of some of my practice using the Ubersense App...


Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Hey there! Well I've been back from Orlando for about a week and I'm glad I've been busy practicing and even learning by watching some friends play tournaments. My trip to Orlando was great and I'm very thankful for those that made it possible. I had a nice birthday dinner and margaritas with friends in Greenville before I got behind the wheel again in my old faithful Jeep. I had 9 hours to do one thing I'm absolutely great at... being completely oblivious to how I sound like a coyote in a trash compactor while singing loudly to all of my favorite music.

If you've been following my blog, you're probably tired of reading about how the key for me is staying in the present. Well sorry, but I'm not done talking about it yet. Those close to me know that the thought apparently has to be beaten into me like a drum. Golf wouldn't be a 4-letter word if it was easy to do what you know you're supposed to do to play better. 

My goal heading down to the tournament in Orlando was to absolutely stay in the present and keep it simple...Eureka. I know. You've never heard that before. I noticed again recently how many of my poor decisions or bad holes on the golf course are due to thinking about outcome and especially about score. Entering the tournament at the Disney Osprey Ridge golf course, I simply wanted to make 18 pars in each round. That does not mean I didn't want to make any birdies. It means that when my course strategy is geared towards playing for par, I generally end up making more birdies because I play smarter. Believe it or not, I don't think I ever learned this concept during my college golf career from my coaches or understood it well enough to apply it from anything I might've read. I play some of my best golf this way because it lowers any anxiety that might arise in me when I feel that I'm failing to meet expectations of score. When trying to make pars as easily as possible, I play freely and athletically.

My alignment was off a bit in the 1st round so I felt uncomfortable before I hit many shots but I worked on it on the range afterwards. My setup improved in the 2nd and 3rd rounds so I hit the ball better, and staying mostly in the present which allowed myself the opportunities to make lots of birdies. It was fun to tear up the Par 5's and I had a blast playing with my high school teammate that I had not played with since I started playing golf in my Sophomore year of high school. It was also fun to see my mom and I was proud of myself for adhering to my game plan. I made aggressive swings at conservative targets and made smart club decisions for better course management. I'm glad I took advantage of the opportunity to play last week and will use it as another great learning experience to prepare for my upcoming events. I can make a great game plan for my next tournaments and not change it based on how I feel or how I want to score. I will continue trying to make pars and let birdies happen. I am staying excited about the process and I'm having fun improving. I really appreciate everyone's support and help with my golf game.

Next, I leave for the dry heat in the desert. I'm playing a 72 hole event, followed by 5 days of practice, and then the 1st Stage of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament, all at Mission Hills golf resort in Rancho Mirage, CA. I'll be competing on the Palmer course and the Dinah Shore course at Mission Hills. You've probably heard of the Dinah Shore course because the LPGA's Kraft Nabisco major championship is played there every year and the victor jumps into Poppy's Pond next to the 18th green after winning. While I might want to jump into the pond from the impending scorching temperatures, I'll surely have my focus on 1 thing; finding a way to make par as simply as possible and having fun while enjoying the process. Par is still my friend and there is no better time than the present. I'm excited for the opportunities ahead!

Thanks for following me and stay cool out there! Posts from SoCal coming soon.


Lot of wildlife at the Disney course. Interrupted this box turtle's grass snack time!

Raccoons climbed trees like cats in the middle of the day!

Edmond Memorial Bulldogs making birdies in O-town!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Tennesee Women's Open

Last week I drove to Crossville, TN to play in the Tennessee Women's Open at Stonehenge golf club. Stonehenge is a challenging layout with lots of doglegs and steep slopes in the greens. It is one of the four courses in the Fairfield Glade golf community. Members that lived on a different course in the golf community hosted me for the event. They recently retired in Crossville from Connecticut and are huge Red Sox/ Patriots/ Celtics fans, so we hit it off from the beginning. They had a lovely house and made me feel very welcome, visiting with me every day. In fact, the bed I slept on in their guest room was so comfortable I didn't want to leave. I also got to know the General Manager of Fairfield Glade pretty well at the player's reception and appreciated his support when he came out to watch me.

Besides the swarming gnats on the course, I had a nice productive practice round. My caddy and I worked on my new AimPoint process of reading greens and I felt comfortable entering the tournament. My putting was great in the first two rounds and I was very excited to feel confident with my putter. It was relieving to see that the process I had learned a little over 1 week before the tournament was already helping my game and that it was coming naturally to me. Using AimPoint has increased my feel on greens so my pace has improved and it gives me decisiveness on my starting line so I usually stroke more committed putts. Staying in the present and keeping it simple is always crucial to executing my game plan. I learned from a great friend that only by doing those things am I able to make committed swings at my targets, allowing me to play athletically and letting my physical game perform like I know it can. After finishing T-16th in the professional field, I headed back to South Carolina for a week of practice, continuing to improve my process. Next I'm traveling to Orlando on my birthday to play a Suncoast Series event on one of the Disney golf courses, Osprey Ridge. My goal there is to stay in the present... Stay tuned!


 View from the elevated tee on the Par 3, 14th, which plays about 15 yards downhill

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Last week I went to Atlanta to learn about AimPoint from certified AimPoint Instructor, Kevin Roman. I had heard different opinions from many people about the system, but with the growing success of so many players on the PGA and LPGA Tours using it, I felt I really needed to learn more about it. I also knew that if nothing else, it could still help me understand slopes in greens better. Basically, AimPoint is a systematic approach to reading greens, with the assumption that all putts should be hit with the pace to stop by 10 inches past the hole. After determining a few things, the AimPoint charts tell you far outside the hole to aim the putt. The algorithm used to determine the amount of break in putts is so accurate it's scary! It is the same technology you may have seen on TV when the PGA Tour shows the colored line graphic that a player's putt is supposed to follow in order for them to hole it. While it may sound complicated, it actually is a fairly simple process that I got the hang of quickly and has heightened my feel on the greens.

Though I have only been doing the AimPoint process for 1 week, there is 1 thing I have identified about it that I already appreciate in the application to my game, decisiveness. As a player that tends to over think and over analyze at times, AimPoint seems to help me determine the amount of break of a putt more quickly so that I can simply focus on the hole before I stroke it. With the help of the AimPoint method reaffirming my reads of putts, I do not seem to doubt my line like I occasionally did more in the past. It still definitely takes commitment to the process and commitment to the line in order to hit a good putt, but after making the decision for the read from the AimPoint process I am able to engage the other side of my brain more easily when standing over a putt. By the other side of my brain, I mean the more athletic, less technical and less mechanical, side. I am excited to continue working on the new process and see how my putting improves. Anyone can accidentally mess up while gathering and analyzing information to read a putt, but anything that helps me make a comitted decision so that I then only "look--feel--react" when stroking the putt will likely be a helpful process. Trust the line and make everything! We'll see!

Next up, the Tennessee Open at Stonehenge Golf Club in Crossville, TN!


Friday, July 5, 2013

Women's Canadian PGA Championship

Hello again from the North! This week I crossed the border again after flying into Buffalo to drive to the Canadian Women's PGA Championship about an hour northwest of Toronto. I found it ironic that I crossed into Canada on Canada Day, and headed back towards the border on the 4th of July. So patriotic! I stayed at a friend's country home which was really neat and the surrounding scenery was very pretty. I'm always thankful for hospitality, especially when it comes from encouraging friends and does not have to include a dimly lit, stale hotel room.

Canadians are generally nice, hospitable people anyway, but this was especially true in the case of a young man who came in a tow truck after I called the Canadian version of AAA to help me retrieve my keys I locked in the rental car. Ok, so mayyybe I smiled and laughed a little, and mayyybe he interpreted that as some light flirting, and mayyybe he then only charged me $40 instead of the normal fee of $80, but I didn't do anything wrong... right? :)  Oh! And did I mention that occurred about an hour after I literally coasted into a gas station in the middle of nowhere? Yeah, that happened. I mean, I could've walked to the nearest, uhhh, grain silo? ...Good times.

Through a contact in South Carolina that used to live in the area, I was able to arrange a practice round with a woman that is not only a member of the course and playing in the tournament, but also a member of the Canadian Women's Amateur Hall of Fame. That was a great experience and I was fortunate that she pointed out many subtleties of the course that became useful information. The Club at North Halton is definitely a special course. I enjoyed how different each hole was, with no hole design showing characteristics of any other on the course.

I played well in the 1st round, shooting a steady even par score, and felt ready to go lower in the final round. Though I was excited to tee off in the final round, my positive energy quickly turned to struggle. I encountered an extremely bizarre situation that involved a player and caddy in my group. The situation was loud, abusive, inappropriate, and continuous, and unfortunately I became very distracted. After my confrontation did not help, I tried with all my energy to block out the distraction. Regrettably, I did a poor job of refocusing before many of my shots and ended up finishing low on the money list. While I had never played with a situation like that before, I was very disappointed in my focus. After positioning myself to make a solid charge entering the final round, it is difficult to let go of the frustration that occurred. Thankfully though, all tournaments have their positives and points from which to learn. I can now look back and know that trying to block out a thought or distraction really only makes me more aware of it. I will use this experience to my advantage the next time I face challenging people or circumstances in my group. I enjoyed the course and the area, and I know I'm playing well so I'm already looking forward to a good week of practice ahead before driving to the Tennessee Open.

Lastly, I can't forget to tell you about Niagara Falls! Since it was on my way to the airport I was able to see fireworks over the Falls after the final round last night on the 4th of July; so cool! I'm grateful for a friend I made on the practice green that was a member at the Club at North Halton. He filled me in on where I needed to go and what I needed to see, like a tour guide for my limited time I had at the Falls. I had never been before and just like its reputation, it is quite impressive. The sight, sound, and feeling of mist covering you makes it a memorable visit to a stunning display of nature and force!

Gotta go catch my flight South!


 Panoramic view of Niagara Falls when standing near an end on the Canadian side

The Horseshoe end of Niagara Falls

The Club at North Halton, #10 tee.

Elevated tee shot on #11
Started the week off well, nearly buying drinks after my shot on the Par 3, 18th hole in the practice round on Canada Day

 Canadian Countryside Random Sightings #1...

Yes. Yes it is what you think you see. That would be the top half of a school bus turned into a personal storage shed. Canadians are so resourceful.

 Stereotypes suggest I should expect them after crossing the other border, but nonetheless they have them where you want them!

 When you're in the middle of nowhere, don't underestimate the distance to the next gas station. How ya like them MPG's?!? UP Yaris, Brooke.

Random cove/marina, "Jordan Harbour," that I saw passing on the highway & immediately exited to check it out.

 Saw this in SkyMall magazine on my flight. Fully agree.

 My friend's hunting dog at their country home... looks like a cute cartoon character, eh?

Friday, June 21, 2013

I can see Detroit!

Hey y'all, I'm back in the grand ol' U.S. of A!  Back from where they dip beavers wearing toques in maple syrup before calling on the Mounties to round up the polar bears... or something like that.

After a loud shaky flight from Toronto, I arrived in Windsor and could literally see Detroit across the river. My local volunteer caddy for the week's CN Women's Canadian Tour event was nice enough to pick me up from the airport. We went to lunch at Swiss Chalet... helloooo yummy chicken everything! Not focused on fried chicken like KFC, it had tons of dishes that combined the delicious bird in pastas, salads, soups, and the French Canadian version of chili cheese fries called "Poutin." I mean, when in Canada, do like Canadians... right?

I had a great practice round at Ambassador Golf Club and was glad to be working well with my local caddy. It was also fun to catch up with my former high school teammate from Oklahoma there competing. Heading into the 1st round I felt extremely determined to stay patient in the very windy conditions and commit to every shot before I hit. Knowing now again after the event near Montreal that telling myself to commit is NOT the same as doing it, I worked hard to literally clear my mind, look at the target, feel committed, and let athleticism take over to hit the shot. By doing that process much more successfully and staying patient I finished the round at Even Par. Yes, I did stop the 1st round self-sabotage pattern! I was especially proud of how I managed my feelings of frustration when I got to the 17th tee. After making back to back bogies on #15 and #16, I refused to succumb to having a round-killing finish in the wind. I took a few deep breaths, making myself feel calm and in the present, on the way to making back to back birdies on #17 and #18. Every round can always be lower, but it was a great feeling to know that I stuck to my plan, kept it simple, and managed my emotions to be more consistent. Still in the hunt entering the final round, I was ready to take it low and challenge the top of the leader board. I made a few "boondoggle" swings, and didn't get all the putts to fall, but finishing at even par again placed me 12th overall at the end of the tournament. It felt great to rebound from the event near Montreal and apply what I learned in my process. "Hey Brooke, guess what? Par is STILL your friend!" I bet it always will be.

Time to practice before stamping my passport again for the Women's Canadian PGA Championship!


 "Go in the hole!!!!" Just kidding... kind of...

 #15 at Ambassador Golf Club in Windsor, Ontario

 Flying over the Caribbean? Or Lake St. Clair near Windsor?
 Worst part about Canada? They don't have ESPN anywhere on "U.S. Open/ NC State vs UNC College World Series" Sunday evening, so you have someone videochat broadcast the baseball game to you!

Oh yeah, when you're in Canada, expect hockey pucks for paperweights.


Get out the passport, there's Detroit!

10 minutes before I was asked to pull over for a random search and minor interrogation before crossing back into the States.