Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Round Reflections: Whisky, Tango, Foxtrot

Ok, so maybe today wasn't really a WTF kind of day. It wasn't great, and it might hurt my position as an A flight golfer in the league, but it could have gone much, much worse. Still, it did suck a little.
So Tuesday when I played, I three-putted a whopping seven of nine holes. Determined not to do that again, I spent every night this week using my Accelerator Pro putting mat and Balls of Steel weighted balls. It felt like I did some solid work and I was getting pumped to play. I was NOT going to be a bad putter today. I knew my swing felt good and my short game was solid enough that as long as I guarded against any double bogeys or worse with good putts, then today would be a good day score wise. And it was a net score day, so my handicap (12 currently), would be applied on top of what I felt confident would be a solid, sub-40 number.
Driving to the course I told myself to be confident, to trust the putts, and to keep my stroke solid. To stay in the present, not worry about score, and keep my primary focus on two putts or less per hole.
I had intended a short putting warm up, but was told that my ENTIRE 9 o'clock group was a no-show so I needed to play with the 8:50 group. This is fine and usually happens, but it did  rush me a little bit. So, of course I three putt the first hole. No biggie. I got some fight in me and wasn't going to let it get me down.
Then I somehow managed to bust my putter on the second hole. I putt with an Odyssey Tank Two Ball putter, and there is a little weight screwed into the bottom on the back to serve as a counter balance to your stroke. I really like the heavier club head, as I feel like I can keep my stroke in line as I putt. Well, today, the screw holding in the little weight fell out, and the weight came right out with it. Not sure if I will be able to get it fixed, as it will need to be checked for some damage.
The putter essentially still worked fine, but it did not have the same feel as I had practiced all week. And so even if I was chipping well, or by the time I was finally hitting greens (I hit three in a row at one point and feel pretty great about that), many of the par putts and at least two birdie putts turned into bogeys or doubles.
But I was still fighting and wanted to finish as strong as possible. Then on the ninth, I picked the perfect club but swung a little too far outward, reaching a side bunker that I've not yet experienced in previous rounds. This bunker had some thick sand and rocks, and the rain from the previous night made it heavy. Sand does not intimidate me and I usually play well from greenside bunkers (just learn some good fundamentals and swing easy!) but you wouldn't know that from the three swings it took for me to get out of it today.
So all in all, a season-high 43. After handicap it should be a 31, or +4. Not enough to win the flight for sure, and possibly a detriment to my handicap. They are calculated every month and I won't get another round in before July.
It will probably take me a day or two to think of what I learned from today. It was just a few mistakes here and there that cost me several strokes. I'll find some way to be positive, but it doesn't yet feel that way.
And a final gripe: one of the women I played with kept saying things like "well, now you have an excuse!" She said it right after I realized my putter was broken, "well, now you have an excuse to putt bad!" And she said it after talking about her vacation the previous week, "I hiked a mountain last week, so I have an excuse to play poorly today." She also said it to the handicapped woman we played with (I'm pretty sure she has rheumatoid arthritis and so she used a motorized cart special for those with disabilities - but, she was a tremendous putter and beat me by 3 strokes today) after she mentioned something about her health that week, "Well if that's the case, then you have an excuse!" It just was really off-putting and got under my skin at a certain point.
I was about to tee off on the 6th with her negative words rattling around in my head. That's when I remembered a concept from my absolute favorite coaches at  Vision 54 : the Think Box and the Play Box. Pre-shot, you can be in the Think Box, and have thoughts floating around your head because you need to make decisions about your shot. The decision I needed to make in this instance was actually not about my swing, and instead was to stop being bothered by her words and to let it be. Then, I stepped up to the ball (or into the Play Box, as they would say), and with no thoughts in my head, swung away, hitting my first of three greens in a row.
Seriously, check out Vision 54 if you want to become a happier golfer. They have some amazing mental game concepts that are easy to implement and can transform your game.

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