Tuesday, August 23, 2005

It's Back, but Too Late for Tournament Play

I'm back from playing the team event. Unfortunately, our team didn't finish first. The good news though is my swing finally is back. I wasn't coming through on my woods and, late Sunday, I finally got that feel back. I also started hitting my irons accurately and crisply. I need to work on my putting, but at least I don't feel so hopelessly confused and frustrated about my game any longer!! It's fun to play hit 'em long and straight again!!!

Today, I played at the Links at Bodega Harbour on the Sonoma coast of California. It was like how I would envision playing in Scotland--thick fog, long grass, and windy. But, it was a delight to play!

I've played with three different playing partners in the last week, and I can't say enough how important it is to be an enjoyable playing partner, especially in your business golf rounds. I played with my dear friend today, but her etiquette is atrocious. She started to complain and whine after the second hole. She is constantly fidgeting when people are about to hit, or she'll sigh just before one putts. I finally told her on the eighteenth green, "Stop moving!" just before I sank my short putt.

It's annoying to play with someone who doesn't care if she disturbs or distracts others. Moreover, when you correct her, she doesn't apologize, but instead gets defensive and angry that you're bothered. I am not blaming her, or anyone else, for my bad shots. I just like simple consideration when I'm about to hit like I extend to others.

Here's a tip: If you're not playing well, keep your frustration to a minimum or, better yet, keep it to yourself. It's grating on your playing partners to hear the constant negativity, especially if you're in the cart together. If you're feeling trapped, take the clubs you need and try to walk to your ball more often. It gives you a chance to relax and breathe in some fresh air!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Back from Tucson, Arizona

I had a great time in beautiful Tucson. I played at The Preserve, which is a challenging course regardless of the temperature (It was in the high 90's). It is picturesque with the mountains serving as backdrop to the course. I played with a friend's "guest" set, and was pleasantly surprised that I could hit the ball fairly well. The bermuda-grass greens though were like putting on velcro. It took me the front nine to figure out the speed and break of those greens. Despite my putting, the round was a confidence booster as I get ready to play on Monday for the club's team. We're tied for first and playing against the team that we're tied with. We control our destiny!

The group that I spoke to had some of the most thoughtful questions I've had in a group. What to do when one person in the foursome is a serious golfer and another is not at all? How should my employee and I decide who plays with the husband and who plays with the wife? I'm going to answer these questions and more in my BizGolf E-Tips.

I send my BizGolf E-Tips on every other Tuesday. To sign up, visit http://www.bizgolf.biz/freeinfo.html. To see an archive of past BizGolf E-Tips, visit http://www.bizgolf.biz/archive.html. You'll get a sense of what I talk about in each issue. They're short and sweet to keep your head in the game of business golf.

While flying to Tucson, I read that Tiger left the PGA Championship on Sunday night because he didn't think Mickelson, Bjorn, Love, and Elkington would all tie his score of two under. Is it me or does this strike you as being strange? He has his own jet. I'm sure he stays in a very comfortable, luxurious home or suite, if not the entire floor, of a first-class hotel. So, what's his hurry to get home? His wife was probably at the tournament with him. This was a Major, not just another ordinary PGA tournament. Lucky for Tiger Mickelson did win it outright, but what would have happened if Tiger made a playoff? I can't help, but think of the phrase, "Haste makes waste."

Play well and hit them straight this weekend!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Ups and Downs of this Game

I love this game, but it has me flummoxed right now.

I played Sunday and thought my Dad and I are so far back, let's just go have fun and play well. We both played well and ended up winners of second low net. We were thrilled because neither of us expected to come in the money.

I was pleased because my game was much better and I saw hope. Then, I played yesterday and was disappointed with my game again. It truly is a rollercoaster ride of emotions with regard to my game. My partner and I split the points with our opponents and our club is now tied for first with a team from another club. We play against that team on Monday at a course I've not played for nearly eight years.

I don't know what happened yesterday except two possible things. I'm feeling golfed-out. I've played so many rounds of competitive golf in the last three weeks. I think I'm getting sloppy with my mental game and my swing. It makes me only admire more the professionals that play tournament after tournament.

The other thing is the course that I played was quite boring. Most of the holes look alike. I always had this sense of deja vu. Rather than seeing the layout of each hole and seeing a challenge, I think I got complacent and didn't keep my head in the round.

That's the beauty of this game. I can learn about myself and how I operate. I can get tough when the going gets tough and perhaps even do better when it is tough. And, I can get sloppy and lazy when I'm not challenged and bored.

So, I'm glad to be getting a change of scenary by leaving tomorrow for Arizona. I have a business golf presentation there and will play on Thursday. Then, a practice round on Sunday at the course that my team and I will play on Monday. It will certainly be an exciting round of golf on Monday!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

PGA Championship & My Game

I'm watching the final round of the PGA Championship and amazed at the heat and the difficulty of that course. The greens have hardened and are much faster than they were yesterday morning. As much as I like Phil, I'm worried. He doesn't seem to have that ability to close out a tournament and intimidate the others. Sergio said it best, "I still think 4 under can win this." He certainly doesn't have much confidence in Phil and Davis Love III. I doubt Sergio would have said that if Tiger was in the lead.

As to my game, I played the final round of the Club Championship on Thursday. I played the round with one thing in mind. Could I get my ball striking back? Overall, I'm pleased that I could make better ball contact. I slowed my backswing and worked on my tempo. I also put out of my head my recent struggles and made sure that those memories (rather, nightmares) didn't haunt me. Another thing I did was to just step up to the ball and swing. I let my muscle memory work instead of over thinking. Like in life, my golf swing can suffer from over analysis!

Today, I'm playing the final round of the Mixed Couples Club Championship with my Dad. I'm not even sure where we are in the standings. I just want to play well and have some fun. Then, tomorrow is the second to last match for my club's team play. We're just out of first and tomorrow is important that we play well.

Besides playing well for my partner and team, I'm ready to do so for myself!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

What's with this Game?

I just got off the phone with my Mom and she said she won $27 in mah jong. I was happy for her and replied, "You played m.j. better than I played today!" I am in my worst golf slump at the worst time. Today, I finished the second round of the Club Championship. I'm defending champ and intended to defend my title valiantly. Instead, it's been vitriol and venting. I'm also in the middle of the Mixed Couples Club Championship with my 77-year old father as partner. Last Sunday, I was embarassed that my Dad had a heavy burden with me as his playing partner.

My swing seems to have disappeared. I'm hitting my drives 10-20 yards shorter; my fairway woods aren't crisp. It's just down right frustrating! Thankfully, my entire game hasn't left me; I'm feeling good about my short game.

I had a good practice session this morning and felt good about the upcoming round. But, then I never had it on the course. I could say that my back is giving me problems (which it is) or I've lost some weight (which I have) and my swing just doesn't feel the same, but that doesn't explain how I could have a good practice session this morning.

This Thursday and Sunday are the final rounds of the upcoming Championships, respectively. Then, on Monday, I have a team event representing the Club at a course that I've not played before. I wish I could say that I'm going in with lots of confidence, but I'm clearly not.

Thus, the problem with my game. I've been beaten up on the course recently and I've lost swinging the club with the confidence and the crispness that I usually have. What's the answer to improving my game? I suspect it's forgetting the past several rounds and playing out of my head. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Frustrations with Playing Partners

I need to vent, and I'm sure some of you have had similar experiences. On Sunday and yesterday, I played in two different match play tournaments with two different partners.

The first day I played with a very close friend against two other members of our club. Even though I had a birdie on the second hole, I was rocky on the other five holes. At the seventh tee, my friend declares, "We're four down. This match will end quickly." "That's a great attitude!!" I shot back.

I had no intentions of conceding the match at that point and would never concede a match until it's clear that I've lost. After the seventh hole, it was obvious that I was playing solo against the twosome, although mentally it felt like I was playing against a threesome. I played with such determination and focus that I shot a five-over back nine, which is very good for me.

I understand if my playing partner is not playing well and is frustrated with her game. But, I don't appreciate the give-up attitude. We ultimately lost, but it was not until the 18th hole. Our opponents even graciously recognized we gave them a good fight to the end.

When I'm having an off day, and my playing partners are playing well, I try to help my partners with the logistics of playing. For example, I'll help look for fairway distance markers. I'll keep score, if that would help them concentrate on their game. I'll pull and tend the flag more often, so they don't have to worry about it and can focus on reading their putts. Or, I'll pick up their clubs on the green. I'm still trying to contribute and play well, but I'm also recognizing that my partners are playing better than I am and want to support them in continuing to do so.

Yesterday I had a team play event with another partner. I've never played with her as a partner and she seems to be a nice person. However, on a couple of occasions she did the worst thing possible to me, which is put doubt in my shot. In the first instance, I'm about 65 yards off the green and her ball is on the rough 20-30 feet short of the green. I've taken my practice swing and was set to take my swing when she yells, "Do you need me to mark my ball?" First of all, if I did, I would have asked her. My intent was to sail over her ball and stop the ball near the pin. She should have seen that I was just about to swing and, instead of being helpful, she was being disruptive.

The other time was when I was reading my putt, which was about 15 feet from the pin on the rough with a downhill 5" break right to left. I was visualizing my putt when she used her putter to show me the line 3" on the other side of the hole of the break. Annoyed, I declared, "No way!" and had to back off and start my routine over again. When I did finally putt, it went into the hole for a nice birdie.

I understand she was trying to be helpful in both instances, but she instead interfered with my concentration and confidence. If there were other instances, I would have said something to her politely, but fortunately there weren't any others.

In summary, when you're playing as partners with others, make sure you're being a partner and not a distraction and annoyance. It will make way for others wanting to play competitively with you again.