For all those wondering why I didn't play Tullymore, it's because it was going to be event #5 in a stretch of six tournaments in a row and I needed a break. So strategically, I chose the one with the smallest purse :P
Okay! Now to explain the title of this blog. Hot n' Cold. Literally, because the past 4 tournaments have achieved the gold standard in crazy weather. Albany was so cold in the mornings that I could see my breath; South Bend had some wicked winds; Decatur was boiling hot; and Harris, Michigan felt like a continuous shower with some serious opportunities to be like Benjamin Franklin with his kite.
Figuratively, I felt like the last 4 weeks have been a prime example of being on your game and being off your game. I started off in Albany at Capital Hills with a really good first round of 67. I had just come off a break and was playing with a lot of "skip in my step" just because I was happy to be playing a tournament again. Now that I look back, I realize that that's all it was. I was semi-lost with my putting and hitting even though I had just seen my coach. I didn't really feel comfortable with where my game was at but was going with the flow until the flow became some raging river rapids which led to a serious erosion of confidence over the next week and a bit. I was flat out "cold" with my game. My shots were basically like a game of "guess where the ball is going next" and I was putting so poorly I changed my putter twice to see if that would help (FYI it wasn't the putter having problems :P). So, the following week, the Four Winds Invitational in South Bend was basically a write-off and a low point I wish to not return to…ever. It was disappointing too because I always want to play well when I return to the Hoosier state (Indiana).
Onto the Decatur-Forsyth Classic in Illinois. Even though it was a scorcher, some interesting things happened. First off, my pro-am group members gave me a "tip" for playing with them. Even though it's mandatory for us tour players to play in the pro-ams every week, they gave me some cash as a gift which was super kind of them! Secondly, I had a taste of how competitive the fields are becoming on the Symetra Tour. Usually, the cuts are over par and when they are lower than that, it's because the course is playing "easy". But for some reason the cuts have been creeping lower and staying low recently. I had more confidence in my game in Decatur, but there really was no room for major error and missed birdie chances since the cut ended up being -1. I ended up being +2, missing the cut, and really trying to hone in on how I could mentally get over this hump where I was realizing that shooting even par or a few over par wasn't going to cut it anymore. It was a little bit of a shock mentally because I had always thought that "cuts below par" were an event only to be witnessed on the LPGA, but now that mindset was being reshuffled.
Last up was the Island Resort Championship in Harris, Michigan and it is probably one of the best events on tour. They feed us the whole week, give us a huge discount at the resort hotel which is walking distance to the golf course, give us a bunch of $2 bills to spend, and the staff, volunteers and golf course are always fabulous. It’s the 2nd event of the Potawatomi Cup which is basically a series of 4 tournaments during the season sponsored by tribes from the Potawatomi First Nations where you can win extra prize money based on your finishes in those 4 events. (The 4 tournaments are Four Winds Invitational, Island Resort Championship, FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship and PHC Classic). The Potawatomi are very supportive of women in their communities and are huge supporters of the Symetra Tour…thank you!!! Anyways, I found a confidence and groove with my swing and putting at this tournament that I had never achieved before. I honestly believed I could make any shot, chip or putt which actually proved to be the case! I made 2 eagles from the fairway -- one during the practice round and one during the tournament -- and I made so many par saves from fairway bunkers, greenside bunkers and just off the green. I was "hot"! I didn't make as many putts as I would've liked, but I wasn't too far off on a majority of them. Even though the last round was cancelled due to severe thunderstorms in the area, I gladly accepted my improved performance!
Over this "hot n' cold" period, I came to a conclusion that playing well has two components. The first is being confident in your game. The second is being confident in your confidence. Being confident in your game means trusting your swing and golf abilities to do their thing on the course. Being confident in your confidence means allowing yourself to play well instead of focusing on how you could mess up. You need at least one to play decent golf, but you truly need both to play at the level required to reach the top. Achieving both at the same time is a tough task, but when you get to that point, you achieve a freedom in your golf game that is truly magical!
With all that being said, here's to a summer of "hot" golf and "cold" drinks! :D
Thanks for reading!