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?