Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January Jupiter Open

On a day that began at 27 degrees with a 30 mph wind (yes, I was in Jupiter, not on it), my frozen hands teed up an icy golf ball. After a battle with the bitter cold, I roared back on the final nine with a -3, 33. I finished at +1, 73 and another 7th place finish on the Minor League Golf Tour.

It has been a very productive week as I've begun a new training routine. The routine is iron-manesque with 6 am wake ups, 8 hours spent between course and practice areas, 1 hour mental routine and my final hour spent in the gym. There is no way around the necessity to outwork the competition. There are too many skilled players and while I have always worked productively, I have not done so in long enough increments. I have already seen improvement in my scoring after a week of this routine. As this trend continues, imagine the possibilities after a season of work...2010 PGA Tour, I'm coming after you.

Monday, January 19, 2009

1st Competition of the New Year

I played on the Minor League Tour today, a South Florida mini-tour stopped at Ocean Breeze GC in Boca Raton. The wind was very strong, but failed to blow my score over par. I rolled a 15 footer in on the final hole for a -2, 70. That score left me tied with New England great, Kirk Hanefeld in 7th place and with a $275 check. Nationwide Tour player Steve Lebrun won the event with -5, 67.

My game has been steadily improving in the new year. I am creating a "go-to" short iron shot for the coming season and this mini-tour provides a simulation ground to test myself. I am back in full-time training mode and working towards a highly successful season on the Canadian Tour, which begins in March.

My next test will come Wednesday at Abacoa CC in West Palm Beach. Talk to you then... Great to be back on the quest!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Zen Journey

Zen under the Buddhist umbrella has a spiritual aim. When applying the Zen principles to daily life without intentionally seeking spiritual guidance, it will enhance your life and sharpen your focus. Simplified, Zen is synonymous with mindfulness. Zen allows you to live every moment to its full potential by focusing on what your senses perceive. By concentrating on how something feels (the breeze on your nose), all worries of future and past diminish. In a Zen state, you are taking advantage of the simple amenities offered to you in that moment. It is relaxing, energizing and helps you make the most of your daily directives.

On the golf course, focusing on the feeling of the moving soil underneath your strides can remove anxiety from bad shots or thoughts of future scores. Searching your body and focusing on how a grip feels in your fingers instead of what swing plane you are using today, will quiet your mind, making you less result oriented. The less result oriented you become, the more relaxed you feel because the constant flow of hypothetical thoughts, subsides. This relaxation will inevitably lead to clearer focus, a better tempo, better shots and a great journey around the course regardless of outcome.

Label this strategy whatever you like, but place enjoying your day as highest priority and take advantage of the simple pleasures around you.

Friday, January 9, 2009

New Year, New Level of Success

Happy New Year everyone! I fully plan on making this the best of my life on and off the course. Since being back in the states, I've gained some propelling incite through reflecting on the past year. I'll go through various thoughts in the coming week and describe how I will incorporate them into my new approach to success.

At this time last year, I had just finished Asian Tour School, was living in Taiwan, taking a 20 minute bus ride to an hour and a half train journey, to a 10 minute cab adventure destined for a golf course. I pondered ways to improve and visualized a highly successful year every day. Undoubtedly, 2008 yielded the greatest and most eclectic, adventurous year of my life. I lived in Malaysia and Taiwan, played in 9 countries, experienced more diversity in a day than I had previously in my life, got lost in Japan without any Yen, became a friend of the South Korean "family," and learned foreign languages and customs on a weekly basis. More importantly, I know I can build a rapport with almost anyone and survive in exotic, challenging conditions. Out of this comes confidence and appreciation. Confidence that fuels a higher existence and desire to be elite and a deep appreciation for the gifts I have in my life.

We all become nostalgic and in reliving the past, realize how quickly defining moments and amazing experiences elapse. My life is Asia was so spontaneous and energetic, I couldn't fathom what the future might bring. I recently read a Rolling Stone article about the lead guitar player of AC/DC who was asked what he thought of when he was on stage. His response was something to the effect of "its almost sad how quickly I'm off once the show begins. I lose my mind out there and the last thought I can describe to you is the final thought before I take the stage. God knows where my mind is in between."

The first thing I thought when reading this was how it applies to athletes when they are "in the zone." Most rely on their genius; their instincts which are so in tune with the Universe's flow, they become psychic. The game slows down and they are able to dictate what happens in their own time. Their post game interviews parallel what the lead guitarist noted, "God knows where their brain was." This is the higher living and spiritual golf I aspire to on a more consistent basis. When you're living in the moment, life moves at a different speed. When all your energy is focused on one moment, it can feel prolonged and make the experience amazing. When that time ends and reflection begins, that moment seemed to fly. In these instances, you can live without regret. You were truly alive, feeling every nuance of the moment, flooding every sense. I am so appreciative of the opportunities behind me and before me and know that striving for this higher form of living in 2009 will lead to lower scores and a better life.