Inside The Ropes
“In order to succeed, your desire for success must be greater than your fear of failure.” --Bill Cosby
First and foremost, I must apologize for the severe lack in posting. I have no idea how the season got away from me like that; time really does fly when you’re doing what you love. Second, I have to thank everyone who has kept up with each of my rounds and insisted on updates. I truly appreciate all of the support I’ve gotten this season. With that being said, I’ve learned even more over the remainder of this season than I did in those first two starts, so here it goes!
Make no mistake; I have yet to record my first professional win. But, I have felt as though I’ve lost on several occasions. Like I’ve said before, golf has too many parallels with life to ignore. If we only ever had good days, we would never have any outstanding days and I don’t know about you, but I love outstanding days. Golf is the same way. When I recorded 4 birdies in one round in Canada, when I made my first cut and paycheck in Tennessee, and when I stayed focus to post even-par on the final day in Illinois, all the prior hardships suddenly faded away. In those moments, the failures made sense.
Consistent improvement leads to lasting growth
The failures made sense because they prepared me for those moments. Ready for some number crunching? Here it goes. My stroke average for the first four events was 82.5. For the last five? 78.6. If that doesn’t raise your eyebrows any, consider my first and last events of the regular season. First: scored 86 hitting 50% of the fairways, 3 greens, having 34 putts, and 9 bunker shots. Last: scored 72 hitting 70% of the fairways, 14 greens, having 26 putts, and 1 bunker shot…which I got up and down. That’s a 14 stroke improvement, folks…whoa. The best part? The 72 didn’t feel like an out-of-body experience whatsoever. In fact, I was 2-under after 12 and bogeyed the 18th. As hard as I tried not to be, I was actually a bit disappointed. Then, I realized how encouraging it was to be disappointed with a round of even par. I’m not saying I will be under par for the rest of my life by any means, but I am saying that I wouldn’t take back any of the rounds in between the 86 and 72. Had I shot 72 earlier in the year and reverted backwards later in the season, I would be left wondering which game would show up next. As it happened, I have no doubt that my best golf is still ahead of me.
With all of that being said and all of the good news delivered that I can think of, the road ahead is still a long and difficult one. In one month, I will head back to Qualifying School to try and improve my Tour status. In the meantime, I’ll be pouring all of my energy into two areas: short game and mental attitude. Between the ears, I’ve come farther this year than I have in my entire career. This time last year I was nervous, doubtful, and intimidated. This year, I’m excited, confident, and standing in awe of none of my competitors. Lucky for me, there is no defense in golf, only offense. I have been blessed with yet another amazing opportunity and there’s no sense wasting my time or energy worrying/doubting/fearing. I will choose to think like a champion in hopes that I may become one and soon!
While the outcome of Q-School is in the hands of the One who gave me my talents, your thoughts and prayers are especially appreciated. Whatever the reason is for how Daytona turns out, I know it will be what God wants for my life.
Until next time!
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34
“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing."
Greetings from the road! I’m approaching my third leg of tournaments in a row and have a shocking amount of energy left considering how long I’ve been away from home and how poorly I’ve been sleeping! There truly is no replacement for the comfort of one’s own bed…
I can say, without a doubt, these first two pro starts in Florida taught me more than several years of tournaments did in the past. I won’t get very technical with you, considering the majority of those following me are not avid golfers, but I will tell you my expectations were high, considering I spent all winter practicing and re-constructing my swing. When I stepped up to the first tee of the first tournament, mouth dry, hands and knees shaking and mind racing, I was in no condition to meet those expectations. To make a long story short, I skipped the first tee shot into the lake and opened my professional career with a triple-bogey. Not quite what I had envisioned all those days on the range. This brings me to my first lesson…
The number doesn’t define you, but what you do with the number does.
I have my parents to thank for the fact that quitting is never an option I consider, in golf or in life. So when I found out that several women (girls?) choose to withdraw in the middle of rounds due to a bad hole or after a bad round, I was shocked. What do you learn from walking away? What kind of experience does a withdrawal give you? To me, this exemplifies letting the number define you and get the best of you. When I walked away from the first round, rocking the 86, my first thought was “wouldn’t it be fun to turn it around tomorrow?” Literally, I wanted to turn it around…and post 86-68. Of course, I didn’t do that but I did improve. Which leads me to my second lesson…
I once read that to become an ‘overnight success’ usually takes about ten years. I had no idea how true that was until I started this season. After improving 5 strokes from day one, I thought, “here we go, two more rounds at that pace and we’re under par!” I was obviously very frustrated when that plan didn’t pan out. I got over it, though, and was back to thinking positively going into the second event. Then, when I birdied the first two holes of the first round, I again got overly positive, thinking, “the worst is over, today is your day, this week is your week.” Cue 5 bogeys in a row after that and it hit me…to be successful you have to win tournaments, to win tournaments you have to play well consistently, to play consistently, you have to put two nines together, to put nines together, you have to play each hole well, to play each hole, you have to make putts, greens lead to putts, fairways lead to greens…you catch my drift? Focusing on one shot at a time, remaining patient, not getting too high or too low, and appreciating every little ounce of improvement is 50% of the fun and 100% of the process. I tried to focus on those things for the rest of the week and did, albeit barely, improve each day. Breaking 80, though I’ve done it a thousand times before, felt like somewhat of a mental breakthrough. That round, paired with an overall reflection on week two, brought me to my third and final lesson, so far.
If you play golf at all, you know how easy it is to play well and not score. This is a hard thing to cope with considering the only thing anyone ever asks is, “what’d you shoot?” But, now that the number isn’t defining us (see lesson one), we’re free to determine our own level of success. That round of 79 felt mediocre, while the 4-birdie round of 83 felt more like a point in the win column. Confused by this, I decided to think about my second week in terms of mental state, swing feel, and emotional stability. Based on those factors, I believe I have what it takes to become successful at this crazy game. By the third round, I was drastically less nervous and significantly more mentally with it and emotionally stable. On top of all of that, I made some great swings. The ability to have a selective memory in golf is crucial. As I flew to Chicago hours after my round, I reflected on the 5 putts I made outside 30 feet, the chip-in for birdie, the 14 fairways hit in one round, and the 20 degree hybrid I stuck to 3 feet from 195 yards out. When those are the only shots you can remember, you start to realize you’re much better than you give yourself credit for.
So, here’s to continued improvement, regardless of score. Here’s to more memories, more friends, more fun, and more great golf shots. Bring it on, Canada. I’m ready for you.