Week 2!

Hey! Week 2! I told you I would try. So here it is. Second week in a row. Hope you’re happy.

It surprises me every winter just how bad North Carolina can be for golf. The last month and a half has had very inconsistent weather and temperatures. That’s why a major goal of mine for 2016 is to move to Florida by the time winter rolls around. Florida weather might be just as inconsistent, but you can almost guarantee that temperatures will always be golf-able.

I’ve started to put together my tournament schedule for this year. I’m thinking about playing in the Carolinas Four Ball in Camden, SC with my buddy Jeremy. I’m going to do qualifying for the NC Amateur and the Carolinas Amateur. The U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Open qualifiers are also on the calendar. Those are the givens, and if money allows it I might sprinkle in some PGA Tour and Web.com qualifiers too. I’ll be updating my Upcoming Events page when I’m more certain.

Weather-wise, this time of year is pretty uneventful as far as getting out on the course and playing and practicing. But just because I can’t be out on the course as much as normal doesn’t mean I can’t improve.

So I’ve been doing a lot of reading and thinking, mostly about how to improve myself as a person. I’m trying to do this by becoming smarter about how I practice and learn in order to access the skills I’ve developed over the years.

One major thing that I’ve realized is this: I should be a LOT better at golf right now having been practicing seriously for 12+ years. That sounds a little silly and obvious, but for real, why am I not better? And this isn’t the usual golf spiel of “My swing just isn’t where I want it right now” or “Putts just aren’t falling in” or “Man if I could just get some good breaks I could score well”. This is more of the “How can I not use what I’ve learned for 12 years? Why am I still having to learn new ways to improve?” This is a little hard to get into words, but essentially I’m wondering why I have ups and downs, good days and bad days. Why am I good one year, and worse the next, or vice-versa? Why doesn’t my game improve at least a little bit every day? I’ve never intentionally done something that would cause me to get worse. Yeah I’ve changed things in my game and I struggled for a while before I got used to them, but everything was done with good intentions. Every day I go to practice or play, I’m either trying to use what I’ve learned or actively trying to improve. So why do I stall or go backwards?

I don’t take months off at a time. I don’t get injured. I don’t care less than I used to. I don’t ever put less effort into it. So the only conclusion I can draw is this: I’m doing something wrong. That’s pretty vague, but it can mean a couple different things. Perhaps what I’m doing as I’m practicing is wrong. Or maybe how I’m remembering/recalling/accessing what I practiced is wrong. And I think the emphasis is on the second one. I’ve been practicing diligently for over a decade. There’s gotta be a way to access all of that wealth of knowledge that I built up. If I was getting my Masters in some math degree, I would be pretty fed up if I couldn’t remember everything I’ve learned. And even more to the point, I would be really frustrated if I somehow got worse at math after that long. It seems ridiculous to think that someone that good at and that dedicated to learning math could get worse at it. So why isn’t it equally as ridiculous for a golfer to get any worse? Ever? That’s when someone pipes up and says “Well that’s just the way it is. Some days are good, some days are bad. Some days you have it, some days you don’t. That’s golf.” But why is that the way it is? And this isn’t just amateur players. This goes all the way to the top. You see it all the time. The guy that was cruising for years and then just falls off the map.

All I’m saying is I wonder why it’s this way. Obviously I don’t have an answer. But I’ve been pondering that question this week.

And I will continue to think about it. How do I need to practice for stuff to stick? What do I need to do to allow everything I’ve ever learned to surface when I need it or at all times? A preliminary theory: 1. Quit thinking and practicing technically and practice and play completely by feel. This would mean I’m no longer trying to do something different from what I am and just being what I am now, currently. And what I am now is an aggregation of everything in my past. 2. Quit thinking so hard about all this crap and just practice harder.

I’m trying not to accept things the way they are or the way people say they should be. It doesn’t have to be the way it’s always been. It can be different. I can be different.

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