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!