Saturday, February 27, 2010

Painful Endings and New Beginnings

For the first time in my pro golf career, I had to withdraw mid-event due to a neck injury during last weekend's Emerald Coast Tour event. I went to see a Dr. Jaffe, an Orthopedic Surgeon in Birmingham, this week. X-ray and range of movements tests revealed there was nothing abnormally wrong, so I'm spending the week recovering.

This month, I will Monday qualify for the Nationwide Tour Louisiana Open in Lafayette, LA. The LA Open is the same event I Monday qualified for last year and missed the cut by a single stroke. This year, I expect improved results.

I am starting a new movement on this blog for the coming year. While continuing to 'tweet' results via Twitter (screen name: markbaldwin1), I will add short video blog posts to my site. This is going to be a new year with exciting results I will describe and exhibit with video.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

2010: A New Golf Odyssey

"Reality is an illusion. Albeit, a persistent one." ~Einstein

There is no sport more indicative of this statement than golf. Imagine: you are playing the best round of the year, you can do no wrong. You step on the 18th tee and stare down the par 5 you've birdied 100 times. "Oh yeah, I've got the perfect baby draw working today. What water hazard on the right!? All I'm seeing is that perfect angle into the flag about 300 out."

You tee your ball up and feel a slight gust from the gods moving the hair to the right side of your head. As you take your practice swing and feel the breeze pressing your shirt into your back (you are right handed of course), it occurs to you to aim farther left to account for the breeze. You open your stance slightly too much and now aim farther left than you would have advised yourself, just to be safe.

"A miss left is better than a miss right," you subconsciously rationalize.

Your swing is a bit more aggressive than normal causing your upper body to move outside "the slot." The club face moves across the ball along your toe line, starting left and cutting. The wind accentuates the ball spin and that minor setup miscue now has you playing your next shot in knee-deep mud.

This is the golf and this is life. In my world, the two are intertwined. Previous attempts to move up the pro golf hierarchy have ended this way. The "I was so close to..." is an all too familiar story.

With 5 months of golf education in Birmingham with my coach, I am ready to rewrite this story. Tournament finishes in the past months are as follows: 5th, 2nd, 4th, 1st. This week I will play the Emerald Coast Tour in Ocean Springs, Alabama in an effort to add a second consecutive win to this recent resume and to strengthen my preparation for that final tee shot with everything on the line.