Week 23 Update
Welcome Players! I shot my season-best score on Sunday and am pretty happy about it to say the least. After a good weak of practice and training a lot of things lined up to result in a great round. Let’s get into it.
Training Week in Review
Training Week in Review
“I ain’t have to k-"…
Whoops - wrong lyric.
“I shot a season-low 94!”
That’s right. Breakthrough round yesterday as I shot a season-low 94 and a career best 42 on the back nine.
A lot of things contributed to this, and before we get wrapped up in the “what did you do lately” trap, it was really a culmination of the entire years worth of work finally starting to pay off.
With that said, let’s take a look what went different this week and get into the stats of the round.
Notice anything? Probably the best week of habits the entire year.
I felt motivated every day to get my hands on a club and either putt, chip, or take swings in my apt. You don’t need to go to a driving range and physically hit balls to get better.
I spent a lot of time this week putting at home with my lovely new putter and chipping plenty of balls off my carpet onto my couch. More on that in the skill practice section.
Good week of habits!
Resistance Train (Gym): 2
Conditioning (Road Bike): 0
This week should have been more of a bike-heavy week in favor of 2:1, but the logistics didn’t plan out.
In order to ride the bike safely in Miami I’ve got to be able to ride early in the morning, both to avoid cars & street traffic but also because once the sun comes up it gets very hot.
My work schedule has been a little busier than usual and I’m having more morning sessions that I usually have, which makes it impossible to get on the bike for a long ride in the mornings.
That’s OK though - I stayed consistent by resistance training in the gym and transitioning into more of an upper-body focus has actually unlocked some really unique and beneficial feels for me. More on that as well in the skill practice session.
Two items to go over here.
The value of putting and chipping at home
The affect Resistance Training has had on my golf swing
First - putting and chipping at home.
I’ve been putting like a maniac at home with my beautiful new putter that I love so much. And it paid off this week. I feel comfortable with the putter in my hand, I feel comfortable with the stroke of the putting motion, and I feel like I have a clean takeaway and follow-through.
My playing partners (both of whom are single-digit handicaps, and one is my friend who custom-built my putter) commented how clean my putting stroke looked. Logging a few hundred putts at home throughout the week definitely makes a BIG difference in my confidence over the ball when I get out onto the course. As I knew it would - that’s why it had been a daily habit since the beginning!
The second thing is the influence of resistance training on my “feels”.
After working predominantly lower body for the first 5 months, I’ve transitioned to more upper body starting a few weeks ago. I included more chest presses and row variations and have just been maintaining lower body strength through RDL’s and bulgarians and I am enjoying the workout split I’m on right now.
One unintended consequence of the upper body work is my pecs and shoulders have been SORE. It’s a good soreness, but sore nonetheless. I was afraid at first that the upper body soreness would restrict my motion and may throw off my swing…
But the exact OPPOSITE happened!
I started to rotate MORE from my torso and LESS from my arms!
I noticed it at first at the range that I was staying connected between my arms and torso while being able to get my back to the target. As long as I was conscious enough to start the downswing with my lower body I would stay connected through the motion and make great contact compressing the ball and adding distance and loft which is something that I struggled with.
The feel for me now is to squeeze my left bicep into my chest, keeping tension in the pec so that when I rotate I’m not adducting my arm and creating separation between the arm + torso, but actually am rotating much better throughout my thoracic spine which is why I can get my back to target.
It’s made my iron game much much more consistent especially with the longer irons which I’ve struggled with in the past. I’m excited about the new development and will continue to practice these feels while training upper body.
That’s right! You see it!
I shot a season-low 94.
I’m definitely happy and excited about that. Let’s get into the stats and see what went right.
2 birdies (!)
6 fairways hit
4.5 penalty strokes (3 fairway bunkers, 2 green side bunkers, 1 OOB)
And. This was all on greens that had been punched & sanded less than 5 days prior. I’m not just saying this, but it was terrible conditions on the greens. South Florida maintenance is a blessing and a curse.
What went right: I was controlled off the tee. Hitting nearly 30% fairways and the fairways I didn’t hit were just off into the rough and not in bad positions where I would lose a shot.
Played excellent on Par 3’s, taking my two birdies on those holes.
Played within my scope. I didn’t hit shots that I hadn’t practiced. If I needed to lay-up, I laid up. If I had 185 to the pin, I took a club that would get me to the front of the green. I’d rather be straight and short than the right distance and off to the side where there’s trouble. This approach probably served me the best in the round.
Four one-putts! New putter baby! On punched greens no less. It was definitely running hot and contributed to a lot of my confidence on shots off the green as well.
Only 4.5 penalty strokes. (Note: I’m not sure how GRINT calculates this, I think fairway bunkers only count at 0.5 penalty stroke? I don’t know). But. Good news is I wasn’t wasting shots. Only went into the water once. Night and day from some previous rounds were I logged 10+ penalty strokes.
What went wrong: 5 three-putts. Not great. I basically gave back all my one-putts plus one. I’d like to blame it on the punched/sandy greens but clearly I have no excuse seeing as I was hitting 10-15ft putts as well. I missed probably 2-3 five-footers and had a tough time with distance control on 30ft+.
52 on the front and 42 on the back.
I was really happy about how I responded to the three triple-bogeys I had to close out the front nine. I easily could have came unhinged and threw the round away. But to stay mentally focused and battle back to shoot a 42 on the back shows me that I do have what it takes to score and that all the work and effort I’ve put in over the past 6 months is starting to show.
It didn’t feel difficult either. It just felt like I was hitting the shots I wanted to hit. I wasn’t trying to do anything crazy, just playing the golf course. That’s exactly how it should feel. Sank some long putts, hit some good approach shots to make it possible, and was good enough off the tee to stay in the game.
Mental Performance Journal
I’ve got a bonus section for you this week.
A month or two ago I wrote that I was sent a mental performance journal to test out. I’ve been using it consistently to log my practices and rounds, and so far I am really liking it.
One of the things I like most about it is this shot-tracker page. It allows you to get more accurate statistics on where your tee-shots and approach shots went as opposed to Grint where it’s just Left - Right - Center, etc.
For example, my tee shots on 4, 5, and 17 were just off the fairway but realistically left me still in very good position for my 2nd shot. In Grint that’d be marked a miss, and technically it is, but realistically speaking distance and having a clear 2nd shot is the most important piece of driving.
There’s a lot more to the journal I’ll share as I continue to use it. And when I feel like I’ve got enough information to write a thorough review I will certainly do so, along with hopefully securing a discount should any TLP subscribers want to buy one as well.
It feels like for the past 2 months I’ve had one message: Just keep going.
After shooting the 110 on 5/19/23 I was fighting hard not to get discouraged. Five months of consistent effort and practice and I wasn’t seeing any improvement. But I didn’t let those thoughts get to me. I believed in the system, had faith in myself, and went out with the same attitude I have taken every other day.
There was nothing special about this week. Of course the confidence with the new putter and the significant uptick in practice at home contributed, but the real reason I shot a season low was because I’ve been working hard at it for the past 6 months!
When you’re chasing a long-term goal, you can’t get lost in the short-term improvements or lack thereof.
I’ve said it before, progress is the name of the game.
I’ve been making progress in my swing, I’ve been making progress in my chipping and putting. I’ve been making progress in my course management strategy.
And I’ve done it for enough time that the changes started to stick.
You can’t predict when they will, and you certainly can’t expect them to. You just keep grinding away until they do.
And now, for me, it’s starting to stick. This is what I’ve been so patiently waiting for since I started Project Par. For months and months of practice to finally cause an adaptation that I can call my own.
It’s a good feeling. A relieving one. And an inspiring one. I want to practice even more now!
But, just as we temper expectations when things are low, I must temper expectations when things are high. I’m not where I want to be still. There are many things I still need to work on, and am still making far too many mistakes.
So I’ll revel in the accomplishment of a season low today. But tomorrow, it’s back to work. Back to improving. Back to practice without obsessing over the little things. Keep moving forward.
See you next week!