Week 1 Update
Mistakes, Failures, and Lessons
Welcome Players! With Week 1 in the books it’s time for an update. Reviewing the training & practice log, seeing where I had small wins and minor losses and most importantly analyzing the first round of the year to see where I need to focus my efforts on.
Training Week in Review
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On Saturday [1/7/23] I played my first round of the year at Dunedin Country Club in Dunedin, FL. It was an exciting day that would see me log my first round of the year and whose stats would determine my Q1 goals and set the tone for my Project Par.
I shot a 121. No, that is not a typo.
Here I’m going to review my first week of practice, the goals I hit, the goals I didn’t hit, and what needs to be adjusting going forward.
There is much work to be done!
Training Week in Review
My goal was to roll at least 25 putts a day at home so that I could start to develop some patterning for my putting stroke.
In this regard I did fairly well.
Ideally I’ll be hitting balls multiple times per week and taking swings on air at home as well, but didn’t want to overload myself at the beginning of the goal. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Wins: I felt pretty comfortable with my putting stroke on the greens, something I’m usually not very good at. I didn’t need to figure out how to putt on the fly like I usually do when playing and not practicing. Will continue to putt at least 25 a day.
Losses: I was just putting at home on my carpet with no regards to speed or distance. This made my distance control on the course very foreign. I 3-putted the first 4 holes because I kept leaving putts short. My practice of only focusing on the stroke hurt me here. I will be considering buying a putting mat so that my practice is more refined at home.
In order of day completed I did the following for physical training:
A 60-minute conditioning session on road bike
At-home focused stretching session
At-home yoga session
Light resistance training session
A 75-minute conditioning session on road bike
rest, travel day
I was pleased with my consistency, only taking a rest on day 5 because I was scheduled to ride the bike and wasn’t able to get out before sun-down, so that got pushed back a day. All-in-all the flexibility in program design allowed me to train nearly every day with minimal stress.
Wins: I trained consistently getting a variety of exposures in with no negative effects.
Losses: I did not hit target reps for my first resistance training session, which is OK because resistance training isn’t a focus for my beginning prep phase. Still noteworthy though. I was also not able to stay within Zone 1 or Zone 2 on my cycling sessions. Even though I was riding easy my heart rate was elevated into Zone 3 for part of the rides. This tells me my steady state conditioning is poor and I need to spend more time at slower paces to build that up. Will be challenging but is a necessity to build an aerobic base that can support higher intensity training in the future.
The three main physiological metrics I track are Heart Rate (HR), Heart Rate Variability via rMSSD (HRV), and Sleep Opportunity (SO).
Quick legend: Gray bars are daily scores, blue line is trend line, and green range is moving average.
Overall it was a very good week physiologically. My body responded well to all training as evidenced by an uptrend in HRV. The one knock can be seen on Jan. 5th where my HR was elevated above normal range, and it’s no surprise as to why when you see the night before was the only night I didn’t get my optimal amount of sleep opportunity. My HRV was decreased as well, but not so much so to affect my performance. All good things.
For in-depth guides and resources on Heart Rate Variability, check out the HRV Toolkit.
Wins: Stayed within range for HRV and SO, responded well to training.
Losses: One night of less sleep opportunity brought with it an elevated RHR the morning after.
If I can limit mistakes in this category and stay true to the plan this will give me the greatest platform to recover from everything I plan on doing in both training and practice.
Ok. Let’s get to the good stuff. How’d I play for my first round of the year? Terrible.
No shame. Dropped the ego far before the start of this project. Everything is a learning opportunity and you can’t expect to improve if you don’t fail.
Let’s break it down.
First let’s look at my KPI statistics:
Scrambling Percentage: 6%
Ok, so not great. We’ll need to go a bit deeper into the stats for more usable information at this stage in my pursuit.
Other highly-relevant stats:
Fairway Percentage: 21%
Misses Right: 12
Misses Left: 3
This tells more of the story. Sliced 2/3 of the time off the tee-box and 3-putted nearly 50% of the time. That’s not going to get it done.
Some final subjective inputs:
I had almost no feel around the green. I must’ve had at least four 3-chips where it was <25yds to the green and I thinned the first chip and then took one or two more chips to get on.
My misses right off the tee box actually weren’t so terrible. I had a few major misses right but because of the layout of the course landed in a clean area with a well-suited second shot. What happened next was a combination of poor course management and an inability to hit good recovery shots. Trying to recover from a missed tee shot I would try to hit a low-punch shot (6i) picking a narrow line between trees to try and get through. I hit a tree branch almost 6 times if I remember correctly, twice hitting a tree branch a second time on the follow-up shot.
I chunked quite a few (~3) pitches with <100 yds to the green on good lies.
Analyzing your performance is a necessity if you expect to improve upon it. A combination of objective data and subjective data will inform your decision best as to how to move forward and make corrections.
Here’s my mental model on what I’ll do differently this week and where to focus my efforts on until the next round.
I got some feedback from a few trusted members of my Project Par team (more on them in a future post) - and there were a few common themes.
For a high-scoring amateurs like myself there should be 3 main focuses:
Get on the green when inside 100 yds
I fully agree with the above, and will use their recommendations in combination with my 1st round analysis to justify it. Those were the 3 worst parts of my game leading to the 121 score posting.
So going forward I need to make a few changes:
I need to roll practice putts on a real- or mock- green at least twice a week. Practicing my putting stroke at home is good for repeatability but won’t help me on the course if I don’t develop a feel for speed control.
Either put the Driver away or pull back the swing speed. It didn’t occur to me that I should stop hitting my driver until the last quarter of the round, during which on 18 I hit 5-wood off the tee box (I don’t carry a 3w) and put it right down the middle of the fairway. Until I get my driver swing straightened out I need to seriously consider hitting 5w off the tee box and hit more fairways. The second option is if I can get more practice time on the range and slow down my driver speed in order to have a better swing path and make better ball contact I can continue to hit it off the tee box. For my skill level hitting fairways is going to be more important that distance right now1.
Practice. Chipping. I need to start practicing my chipping & pitching strokes so that I don’t chunk easy lay-ups onto the green and make it even harder for myself. I can do this at home because I have rubber balls, but will also need to get out to a course and develop feel around the green.
Now that I know what needs improvements, I need to set some benchmarks for myself this upcoming week. It’s not realistic for me to make all three of the above changes immediately this week. So I’m going to balance the change that I believe will have the most effect on my KPI’s with the one that’s most attainable in my schedule.
Numero 3. I’m going to commit to getting to the range twice this week and taking a bucket of balls to the chipping green. Not only is missing chips hurt on the scorecard, but it’s also a huge mental defeat on the course for me because you’re so close if you just hit it well, and to see a mishit send the ball into a worse position than before is exhausting.
With that said by default it looks like I’ll be hitting more 5w off the box next round because I won’t be practicing my driving much. I’ll also do some scouting for at-home putting mats this week.
All things considered, failing forward!
I will admit, I was pretty down after finishing the round. While I didn’t expect to play well, I certainly didn’t expect to log the highest score in the past 2 years.
Of course this needs to be taken with a grain of salt because I can’t expect myself to play well if I’m not practicing.
You play to the level of your preparation, not to the level of your ability.
The biggest positive I got from this week was that I now have a firm understanding of what I should be practicing in terms of golf-related skills. My physical training started well, and most importantly I’m resolute that my process is going to lead me in the right direction.
Progress, not perfection.
Failing forward every step of the way.
What’s your ‘Project Par?’ Let me know what goal you’re committing to taking seriously and how the Train Like a Pro community can help you get there!
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is purely educational in nature and should be filtered through ones own lens of common sense and applicability.
This will change over the course of my skill development. When I’m playing better and can score lower distance becomes a greater factor.