Friday, July 29, 2016

Helpful Golf Hint to Handle the Heat

life has gotten in the way of golf the past two weeks...and I just have to deal. I'll be back out there soon, and when I do I imagine it will be much harder given my bump is growing considerably.

In the mean time, I thought I would pass along a tip for handling the heat and staying hydrated AND to handle nausea related to pregnancy morning sickness. A fun double-whammy.

When the temperatures rise, it can be hard to keep up with the right amount of water one might need to keep hydration levels where they need to be. And with both pregnancies, I've dealt with a fair share of morning sickness. This second one has not been nearly as bad as my first, but both times around the same remedy worked wonders.

What's worked best for me for both issues might be a surprise: Pedialyte! Specifically, the Popsicle version has been my favorite, as it has satisfied the "cold, refreshing" element that I seek in the heat and doesn't have nearly the intense flavor as the liquid version.  Unlike sports drinks, Pedialyte doesn't have a lot of the unnecessary stuff since it's geared towards children. If you think about it, it makes sense to drink it as a sports drink alternative as it's designed to efficiently re-hydrate children when they get sick and lose fluids. I've even known college football players to chug the stuff during their summer two-a-days because it's way better than a sports drink. I encouraged my players to drink it on the course when we were anticipating extreme heat, especially on our 36-hole days. Of course, some preferred to put it in a nondescript water bottle than to let their competitors know they were drinking a beverage meant for babies with diarrhea. College kids, amirite?

So on days when I know I'll be at risk of losing a lot of water in the heat, or when I've had to quell some nausea before heading off to the course, I'll grab one in lieu of a glass of hot coffee or tea in the morning with breakfast. It tends to keep my energy level up a little bit as the day heats up mid round, because I load up on electrolytes early. On very hot days I come home and have one after. Works wonders for me!

Hope that is a helpful hint for anyone looking to ward of dehydration! Have fun this weekend and I hope everyone who gets to play has a great round!

This is not a sponsored post, all opinions are my own. I am not qualified to make medical advice and this post should not be considered expert medical opinion. I earn nothing through links posted.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Fairway Fashion: Rainy Day Bananas

Fairway Fashion: Rainy Day Bananas

Michelle Wie is one of my favorite golfers on the LPGA, and not just because she's a fabulous golfer to watch (I got to see her play at Pinehurst in 2014 when she won the Open). I love her sporty-island-bold style! It's totally worth following her instagram account (@themichellewie) to get inspired to have fun with your look and your game. A few months back she posted a photo of this funky new bag with bananas and bold colors. It's easy to grab her look with some fun new accessories that you can swap out once your mood changes. A cute case for your tees and stuff, a sparkly ball marker, a cell phone case, and a funky watch are all you need. Aa solid black rain suit, white shoes and a white visor are more of an investment, but will last season after season!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Round Reflection with no title

I played Friday with a heart heavy from the news out of France about the attack in Nice. A round of golf has never felt so pointless. And it was a fast round because my brain was literally anywhere except on the course.

I know none of what happened in France is about me, and I typically remain silent after these tragedies. But they keep happening. At this point I've reflected and reflected, and reflected. Listening to the news on the way to the course, I finally had a cognizant thought summarizing my feelings about everything that keeps happening, and how these attacks seem to get worse and worse each time -- and it depressed me even further.

Vision 54 talks often about being in an ideal "PME" state to play golf. This means "Physical, Mental, and Emotional" state (there are other components too, the Technical, Social, and Spirit of the game). They are all interrelated. I was prepped for the physical state to be my biggest challenge this summer, being pregnant. But with all I was feeling about modern terrorism and the unfairness of tragedy, I was not in a good emotional or mental state, nor prepared to play that day. But there I was, doing something as silly as golfing.

All these sad thoughts were bouncing around my head and I was just going through the motions. Then on the sixth hole, ball on the tee, I stood in the Think Box, took a deep breath, and closed my eyes. A voice told me, "yes, golf is a trivial thing to do in a world of tragedy. But you're here right now. You only get so many choices in this life, and your choice today was a fortunate one. So honor this opportunity." I got through the rest of the round just fine, but again, I feel so silly even sharing this round reflection because it feels so undignified and insignificant compared to the terrible things happening in the world.

Golf usually provides me much solace from the mundane of the world, but there are times like these when it feels untimely and even pointless. Does anyone else feel this way sometimes?

I wish everyone a restful weekend, and I'm going to try to get my head right before next week.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tropical Print Golf Outfit

Tropical Print Golf Outfit

My first Nextgen tournament and I did not play that great.

Come one, come all, gather 'round as I share the horrible tale of the golfer who won two longest drive competitions and one closest to the pin competitions in a single tournament but still did not break 100.

Yeah. It was that kind of day. My heart always tries to keep things positive and I truly believe in looking at the bright side (which I will get to later in this post), but this was NOT a good round. I won't rehash hole-by-hole since it was 18 this time and not 9, but it bears some reflection.

Last weekend I was lucky enough to get away from home to play in a Nextgen City Tour tournament. Nextgen hosts events for 18-34 year old golfers of all skill levels. The format is best ball or scramble, and it's promoted as a way to play more, network, and have a good time. I found my team through the GolfMatch app. This is a mobile app that allows you to find people in your area to play with. I've been messaging the ladies I played with for a while and it worked out well that we all wanted to play this event.

So going into this weekend, I was excitedly nervous about two things: playing with people my age, and playing in a more robust environment than my weekly nine-hole league rounds. I was anxious about looking and playing like a good golfer, and not looking and playing like a pregnant hacker. Everything made me uncomfortable. I wondered if my clothes looked too baggy since I had to accommodate the bump. I wondered if it was dorky that I played with the Calloway Chromes that look like soccer balls (even though they make me happy). I wondered if the fact that I am a stay at home mom would make me a weirdo. So a lot was on my mind in addition to the pure excitement and joy to play golf.

This anxiety followed me the entire drive to the University of Maryland's golf course (which is seriously baller that they have one right on campus!), throughout my warm up (and because I was so early for fear they would move me up or something I warmed up for more than an hour which probably made me tired), and for the first nine holes on the course.
The University of Maryland football stadium looms large behind the clubhouse. How cool is it that you can play a round in the morning and then go to a game later that day?

I was a huge ball of nerves. I couldn't tell if it was obvious that I was pregnant, but also when offered a beer by my playing partners couldn't decide if I wanted to tell them why I was declining. I ended up not telling them, and then the anxiety of whether that was awkward or not hung on my head for a while.

Nextgen fortunately has a triple-par score limit to keep pace of play, meaning you can't get more than a triple par on any hole. This is great for both pace of play and because it makes tournament golf accessible to newcomers.  I took it for the first four holes -- on the first, I managed to putt in for an 8, but since it's a par 4 we gave me a 7. Then the next three I didn't even finish the hole, I just picked up, frustrated and embarrassed.

But I finally got my head right for the fifth hole, after a text exchange from my husband finally settled me down:

I just needed to be reminded my mantra: there are no diapers on the golf course! Suddenly I felt stupid for being so worried and decided I would make the best of the day despite the damage done. The score would be what it would be.

And just like that, I got a par on the next hole. That's not to say that things suddenly clicked and I was on fire, but there's something to be said about the attitude of gratitude. I might be playing like shit, but at least I didn't have to handle any literal shit while I was there. The rest of the day was a bit up and down, with only one more par and a lot of bogeys (and then some).

But, I did get a closest to the pin and not one but two longest drives. That felt pretty awesome.
I have proof of it this time!

"Does anyone want to keep their scorecard?" the organizer asked at the end of the round after scoring. "No," I said under my breath, "burn it."

I really enjoyed meeting the women I played with, and so I highly suggest the GolfMatch app to anyone looking to find new people to play with. Hopefully I'll get more rounds with them before the summer ends!

I can't say I really loved the Nextgen tournament environment, but I'm trying to keep myself from being too biased. When you play poorly, it's easy to think it's other people's fault.  I dig what they're trying to do for young golfers and grow the game, but I can't decide if I'll ever play in one of their events again since I'm kind of embarrassed about how I played. Then there was the fact that my best ball partner did not get paired with me in the scoring system, so I came in dead last as an individual... which kinda felt like salt in a silly wound. But a few days later our team got a very nice email from the organizer thanking us for playing, apologizing and explaining for the scoring error, and inviting us to play again. That was very cool of him to do!
The University of Maryland course looking up the ninth hole to the clubhouse.

Now on to the good things: in a strange way I'm actually kind of grateful for having these competitive opportunities where I feel crazy uncomfortable and even fail a little bit. As a coach you gain great new perspective into the mental side of the game and I felt like I was getting really good at helping my players mentally through their nerves. But these types of experiences show me just how valuable it is to keep my competitive experiences fresh so that I can pass along this knowledge with a fair amount of credibility. My goal is to someday get back to coaching and I am grateful in a way for having the opportunity to break a little bit, so that I can grow and be stronger.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Round Reflections: The story of how my score swung nine strokes in two weeks

I've had the fortune of playing two weeks in a row and we're overdue for a recap. The original summer plan was to play only every other week to keep costs down (childcare makes a weekly round that much more expensive). But since I'm pregnant now (!), I'm kind of in a rush to golf more, as I don't know if I will wake up one day and just not feel it possible anymore. Pregnancy is like that. So make hay while the sun shines, so to speak.

So last week, fresh off our vacation from the mountains and two weeks from the previous round, and feeling bummed about the way I putted with a suddenly not-broken-but-not-100% putter, I had the BEST ROUND I've had all summer. I felt amazing. I swung with ease and scrambled well, and despite my putting debacle I had only one or two putts per hole. If not for a penalty stroke on the last hole (I lost the tee shot in some native grass, it was a beautiful hit but I was clearly aimed there), it would have been a round of almost all pars and only a few bogeys. I shot only seven over for the day with that triple on the last hole.

The weekly challenge last week was Odds Or Evens. After the round, a member of the clubhouse staff would draw from a hat whether the scores would be calculated from the odd number or even number holes. I waited anxiously all weekend to find out what the result would be, all the while praying they would be evens since I had so many pars on even holes. They drew odds. Of course I only bogeyed and tripled the odds! So that was a bummer. I am SO happy with the way I played though.

Well this past week, things just weren't clicking so consistently. The challenge this time was to play from the back tees. No big deal for me, honestly, as this is a small par three course. I usually take all my woods from the bag to keep things light. I was excited for this challenge, but it turned into a bit of a roller coaster that I'm still mulling over.

I got a par on the first hole (the first time I've ever pared it), and thought, today I will be unstoppable.

I got a bogey on the next hole and thought, well that's to be expected playing from the longer tees.

I took a penalty on the third for a tee shot that went OB. No biggie, I thought. Just keep swimming.

Fourth hole comes along and I crush the drive a little over 200 yards to reach the left edge of the green. It felt and sounded amazing. There was even a longest drive competition that I'm 99% sure I won (they haven't posted it on the site yet). Here I go I think, time for a chip-in!

Then I duffed the chip, and three putt for a double. Drive for show putt for dough, they say. Oh well, I thought, move on and do better, lots of golf to be had.

Fifth hole I think to hit the driver again, but I didn't get comfortable; I topped the shot. Then I over shot the green to the back bunker. Then I got extremely winded climbing up the hill to the green carrying a heavier-than-usual bag with a slightly-more-pregnant-than-previous-week belly. The sand shot shanked right but at least got to the green. Then I SIX PUTT, for a whopping nine.

Slow down and breathe, I thought. Bring that heart rate down. Move on.

Hit the next green but three putted when my second lips around the hole. Still an improvement, I thought, and moved on.

Hit the following green with the most beautiful draw my 3-wood has ever touched, and sink the par putt. Back at it, I think.

Hole 8 was played forward for pace of play reasons since the shot carries water. It was hot but a clear day and things felt like they were flying farther than usual because of the heat, so I went for it with my pitching wedge. It flew right on line. C'mon, I thought, be good! It cleared the water, hit the fringe, took a spin backwards, and trickled down the rocks into the water.

Then I shank my next shot from the drop zone into the water. Finally on the green in 5, I two putt for a seven.

Almost done, I thought, keep your head in it.

A honest bogey on the ninth let me walk off the course on a slightly higher note. Tired and wet from that awkward line of sweat I should now be expecting to only get worse every week between my sports bra and baby bump that is visible through my polo, I welcomed the AC of the clubhouse to add up my nightmare of a 44.

I really didn't play so terribly that I'm feeling bad about it, I am just worried that unless I can repeat the first of these two rounds for the rest of the month, that this one round will edge my handicap out of the A flight. I want to stay there so I can be eligible for the league championship, even though I haven't won any weeks yet so it's not like it's within grasp yet . And I'm also nervous that if I got winded so easily this week, it's only going to get worse from here as the bump continues to grow. They have push carts I can rent but I'm not sure that will be better, and if it does come to it this fall I might be able to argue for use of the motorized carts (this course is walking only with exception of physical handicaps). But I love walking and carrying my clubs.

Oh well. One week, one day, one round, one hole, one shot at a time.

For anyone interested, I'm due in December so I'm just into my second trimester. This is my second kid and this pregnancy has so far been MUCH easier than my first; I'm so thankful for that because it's made golfing easier. I don't intend this to be a pregnancy blog, but since it's a blog about being a mom golfer, and I'm golfing regularly while also growing weekly, it won't be ignored completely. I'd love to hear from any other women who golfed through their pregnancies and what they experienced!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Course Review: Golf Granby Ranch, Colorado

We took a much-needed family vacation last week to Granby, Colorado, where my parents own a condo at Granby Ranch. There is a golf course now that they can see from their window that I've always wanted to play, but I honestly think the last time I was there in the summer they hadn't even finished building out nine holes.
So golf was definitely on the agenda this time around. My dad, husband, and I played one afternoon this week, and I really enjoyed both playing with them as well as experiencing a fun Rocky Mountain golf experience. Here's my review of Golf Granby Ranch (complete with some awesomely amateur iPhone photos).
View into the 16th green from the fairway at Granby Ranch.
Golf Granby Ranch is a fun mountain course that is challenging, but doesn't pull the kind of tricks on you that more robust courses do. In that way, it is an accessible course for groups of players with various abilities, although don't expect it to be a very fast round if you have some very new beginners in the group. More experienced players will also enjoy the fact that the course has enough challenge to make each good hole feel like a reward, even if it they are sandwiched between some slightly punishing holes. In short, a player doesn't need to know expert course management tricks to enjoy themselves, as long as they have good, or even basic, understanding of fundamentals.
Granby Ranch golf course map. If there was a topographical rendering of the surrounding mountain, you would see how the front nine nestles into the valley along the Fraser River and the back nine was a little more carved along the mountainside.
What I loved is that the front and back nine are very different, which makes it almost like playing a whole new course after the turn. The front side in the valley by the Fraser River feels friendly and familiar and doesn't pack too many punches. This makes it all the more a shame that I didn't get in my par putts while I had the chance because the ninth hole climbs up from tee to green, and kept climbing through the turn. The back nine is carved into some very beautiful but challenging mountain vistas, complete with natural areas filled with brush, wildflowers and succulent plants, and blind tee shots where you feel like you're a million miles above sea level.

View of the Granby Ranch golf clubhouse from the 8th tee box. the driving range is situated between here and the clubhouse, and the ninth hole can be seen on the left side climbing back up towards the clubhouse. The elevation keeps climbing up from there!
Blind tee shot at Granby Ranch on the 13th hole. The hills were alive with the sound of three-putts.
My particular favorite stretch was along the 7th (a long par 5) and 8th (par 3) hole, where the gentle babbling of the river makes for a pleasant soundtrack and the valley narrows around the river with mountains on either side. I also loved the way trains would slowly pass by on the other side of those holes as they approached the town of Granby (I'll understand if you think that is a little nerdy, because it kind of is)-- and especially loved that they were quiet!
On the front nine at Granby Ranch, a train winds through on the opposite side of the Fraser River. The trains don't make noise as they pass since they slow down as they approach the town. I might be a little nerdy, but I thought this was cool. 
The rental situation was decent for a small, seasonal course. As my dad was waiting in line to pay before the round I snooped a little to see what the selection would be.  I have rented some gnarly sets in the past and wanted to see if I could tell what the "premium" rental sets (which they rent for $35) would be. Their selection didn't look that wide, and the "standard" rental sets ($18) I could only describe as Frankenstein because of how the irons, woods, and drivers were from a variety of brands pieced together from older sets. Despite that, at least they were clean and in good condition (I rented once and the clubs were not only old and beaten up, but also filthy from years of use).  Fortunately, they had three brand new sets of Strata clubs, including a women's set. Not sure what the lefty situation would be.
We played after 2 p.m. when the twilight rate kicked in but we knew we could get in a full round, and I thought that $60 per player was a fair value. We did not eat at the grill, but there is a nice deck overlooking the front nine that I can imagine would be great for a couple of beers and a burger after a round. Will have to check that out next time!
In case you were curious after reading my Father's Day post, I did manage to take several photos with my dad this time to prove that we did indeed play a fun round together!
Mission Accomplished!
And I also wrangled my husband into some photos as well, and he was a good sport about it too.
Aren't I quite the catch.
Thanks for reading my review of Golf Granby Ranch! We came home just in time for me to play with the league tomorrow, so hopefully I will have a good round to report back.