The 2011 golf season is coming to a close. The leaves are falling and the courses will be tougher to play. My rounds are winding down, though I will keep practicing. Now is a good time to reflect on my progress towards my goals for 2011.
Goal#1 Break 80. This was my most unrealistic goal of the bunch and I nearly did it. I had one round at Heritage Park of 80, though it was two separate 9 hole rounds. It still counts for handicap purposes. I did break my personal best for 9 holes with a 38 on the front, beating my previous best of 41. That was the best I ever played, finishing with 6 straight pars.
Goal #2 Average 32 putts per round. I fell short of this. Last year I averaged 36 putts/round. This year I got down to 35/round. I still have a lot of work to do on my putting. I had some instruction on this and I feel like my stroke is sound. My trouble is reading the break. I’m really good at burning the edges, not so good at sinking putts.
Goal #3 Lower index to 16.0. I got very close with this one. I started the year at 19.8 and I finished the year with a 16.2. Back in April/May I put up some terrible scores and my index went up to over 21. I am pleased to lower it by 5 strokes since then, mostly thanks to my instructor.
Goal #4 Play with more consistency. This one is a fail for me. I seem to have less consistency overall. Within a round I could real off par after par and pepper with triple bogeys and penalty shots. I had some great scores and I’d follow it up with a spectacularly bad scores. The best example of this is the Major at TPC Deere Run. It was a two day tournament back in April. I played a practice round on Friday and played a great round, shooting a 93. I played the same ball until I rinsed my approach on 18. The year before the winner had shot s 94-95, so I was pumped up about my chances. The next day I was terrible and shot 25 strokes worse, a 118, one of my worst scores in years. I recovered a little the next day with a 108, still 15 strokes worse than the practice round. I did manage to finish 7th in my flight out of 12. My consistency has improved since I found my instructor, but I have a long way to go. I can attribute some of this losing focus. It isn’t the case where I have too many swing thoughts, but not having any. My mind blanks and I forget to pay attention to the fundamentals. Doing that is an easy way to get a bad shot that ends up with a penalty stroke. My penalty strokes were up for this year in spite of lowering my index and my scoring average. If I can eliminate the penalties, my index would drop considerably. On the range I am a much better player than last year. I go through range sessions where I can’t hit a bad shot. It would seem my problems are more mental than technical. I’ll be spending some time with Bob Rotella in the offseason.
Now that my index is 16.2 I can move up a flight in the Golf Channel Am Tour. I’ve looked at how my scores compared to the Jones flight. I had tournaments where I would have been 1st, 2nd and 4th, the rest towards the back of the pack if not dead last. The Tour also uses a tournament index to flight players. This index is tougher, best 7 scores of last 9 tournaments, so this will be worse than your official index unless you are really consistent. Mine is over 21, so technically I could stay in the Snead flight. The Jones flight on the KC Tour is very competitive, usually with 7-10 players, whereas the Sneads usually have 4-5. I am going to move up to the Jones. I realize I won’t be as competitive, but in a way that is a good thing. It would mean less pressure for me, less expectations. I had high expectations for this season based on the success I had in my first season and I think that hurt my performance.
Goals for 2012
1. Break 80. This will happen and if I had to guess it will be at Heritage Park. This is a course that suits my game and I have some good scores here.
2. Average 8 GIR/round. I am at 4 GIR/round now. I don’t know if I can reach 8, but this is an area of needed improvement and will dramatically help my scores.
3. Average 32 putts/round. Maybe I should get a belly putter…
4. Lower index to 12.0. I think this is possible if I can get more GIR and eliminate penalties.
5. Reduce penalties. I average 3.3/round now which is worse than last year. Ultimately I would like to get it to 0, but below 2 would be more attainable.
6. Shoot more in the 80’s than 90’s, never in the 100’s.
7. Spend less money on golf. This has nothing to do with my game, but I realize I have an issue with my golf spending. I will play in less tournaments. I played in 17 in 2011, in 5 states. I will limit myself to 6-8 tournaments in 2012. I have Mondays off, so I will play then when it is cheaper. I don’t need more clubs, clothes or shoes, no matter how much I enjoy them.
Highlights of the year.
Best Round: This is tough to choose as there are several that stand out. Shooting a 93 in my practice round at TPC Deere Run was pretty good. In my AZ trip my 90 at Grayhawk’s Raptor course was pretty good too. My tournament round at Tiffany Greens was pretty good as I hit all but one fairway. Probably the best was my tournament win at the Legacy in Norwalk, IA. This is a course I’ve played many times. I’ve always enjoyed it but never played it very well, only breaking 100 once. I played the front a little ragged with too many doubles and posted a 50 leaving me a stroke behind the leader. I started the back much better, going +2 for the first 6 holes. I caught and passed the leader for the win. Apart from the win, I had a great time as my playing partners were a blast, Chad, Paul and Heath.
Best shot: This one is easier. It was a practice round at Prairie Highlands on 17, a short par 4. I was playing with Chad and he hit a perfect drive, leaving him about 25 yards short of the green. I played conservatively and hit a hybrid off the tee. My second shot was fat and I was still behind Chad’s ball, about 30 yards from the green. The pin was in the front so there wasn’t a lot of room for a pitch. I opened up my 60 degree and tried to land it on the front of the green. I hit the pitch soft and landed it close to my target and it rolled in for a birdie. I ended up winning the hole as Chad chipped on and two putted for a par.
Favorite Course I Played in 2011:
1. Troon North: Pinnacle
2. Grayhawk: Raptor
3. TPC Deere Run
4. The Legacy, Norwalk, IA
5. We-Ko-Pa: Saguaro (would have been higher if it had been in better shape)
New Courses to Me in 2011:
Staley Farms, Bear Creek Vally, Redfield CC, We-Ko-Pa: Saguaro, Eagle Mountain, Grayhawk: Raptor, Blue River
Plan for 2012:
Practice: I improved my practice routine this year. I found a practice facility I liked at Ironhorse in Leawood, KS. It has a good range, self-service balls, and a good short game area with bunkers and a chipping green. The practice green is very fast so that is good experience for me.
I practice with a purpose. I start with one or two things to work on during the session. Maybe my hybrids are hooking, so I would work on setup and then try to fade my hybrid. I’d also work on what I did in my previous sessions to help reinforce it. I need to keep working on my short game. Putting and chipping involve so much feel that repetition will only help.