Since I have just crossed the Canadian border I thought it was only appropriate to stop at the nearest Tim Horton’s to avoid the Friday rush hour traffic and also reflect upon my last couple months in Florida. With over 12,000km driven, 19 tournament rounds played and countless hours at the range these past couple months have been filled with many experiences.
After the disappointment of my second tournament I made the conscious decision to not write any more blog posts as I found it difficult to write about the frustrations I was having on the golf course when the wounds were so fresh. Now that I have had some time to reflect I am happy to share my experience.
Improving My Golf Swing
Within a couple weeks of being in Orlando I felt lost. I knew there were a number of issues I was having with my swing. Everything felt awkward. While attending the PGA Merchandise show a colleague referred me to see Tom Jackson of the Core Golf Academy.
There is so much I have learned about the golf swing from Tom. It was a privilege to have been able to work with him while I was in Orlando. At our first lesson he asked if I wanted a quick fix, where I will probably be shooting mid to late 70‘s in tournaments as I become more comfortable, or did I want an overhaul with the potential of excelling much further. I, of course, chose the overhaul. I trusted him from the get go as a number of the things he mentioned were the same key points that Mark Linton (the Head Teaching Professional at Weston Golf &CC) has brought up with me and so I felt like I was going in the right direction. He explained that I needed to be patient and that it would be very difficult to bring what I was learning on the range into a tournament right away. Each lesson had a purpose with a specific goal in mind. He knew I was only down south for a couple months so he jammed in about a years worth of lessons and knowledge in a 6 week time period. Though this was a daunting task for me, I learned a lot about the golf swing and also the importance of communication with students, and how, as an instructor, you need to adapt to how your student learns in order to be a quality instructor. I am excited to continue working on the various aspects of my own golf swing but am also eager to bring this new found knowledge and insight to each and every lesson I teach.
Home on the Range
I have never been one that loves to practice. I have always had difficulty dedicating a lot of time at the range because I love to play! In the summer time when I have some free time I will most likely pick a round of golf over a range session. The great thing about my time in Florida is that I had all the time in the world. I could practice and play! Each week was quite intense. The tournaments ran from Monday to Wednesday and I would put in a couple hours of practice each of those evenings. Then Thursday would be my “day off” to relax and run errands etc. Friday would be the day I would play my practice round for the next week’s tournament and Saturday and Sunday would be my marathon practice sessions at Orange County National. The part I thought I would dread most was the marathon practice sessions but I found that as long as I was focused and practiced with a purpose those days would fly by!
Life on Tour
As you can see this playing schedule is very busy. I had a stretch of 5 weeks of tournaments in a row and I’m not gonna lie I was a little burnt out by the end of that stretch. Since I was only in Orlando for a short period of time I made sure to play in every tournament I possibly could while I was down south. This is not the case for the majority of the girls on this tour. Most girls will play in 2 to 3 tournaments in a row and then will take a week off in order to recuperate. The caliber of play on the Suncoast Series is quite good. A lot of these ladies have Symetra Tour status; though the difference in caliber between the Symetra tour players and LPGA players was made evident when Paula Creamer entered one of the Suncoast Series events as a tune up. Paula shot -11 over 3 days, winning by 11 strokes.
Dealing With Frustration
I personally, struggled in each and every tournament I played in. Don’t get me wrong there were times where I was playing quite well but after going over the stats for my rounds I found a trend. What separated me from the scores that were in and around the lead were 5 holes. On average I played 13 holes of good golf, maybe not great golf, but good (1 or two over par). Unfortunately there would be about 5 holes throughout the round where this was not the case, usually being a double or worse, and a number of them due to penalty strokes. This was something different for me as maybe I’ll lose a ball here and there but during these past couple months I lost ALOT of golf balls. Maybe Tiger Woods was onto something when trying to avoid the “big miss” ;)
Though my results did not vary much from the first tournament to my final one, I believe I am coming home a better golfer. I have become more comfortable in a tournament environment and I look forward to feeling nervous. Learning how to cope with my nerves and turn the nerves into a positive energy is difficult for me but I am becoming better at it. For all the missed shots there were also so many great ones. Whether it was sinking a 40 foot putt, hitting 14 out of 14 fairways one round, or executing the best bunker shot of my life, they are all shots I will save in my memory bank. I have made it my motto to learn from the bad shots but it’s the good shots that keep me coming back!
Overall, these past couple months have been quite unique and I am happy that I made the decision to play on the Suncoast Series this winter. I have gained experience and knowledge and it only makes me more excited for the snow to melt so that we can get this golf season started!