Birdies and Bogeys on my way to 17.5

On January 5th, 2010, I started my 10 step journey towards “better golf”. I wanted to prove to myself that at “my age” I could put together a program that would help me reduce my handicap by 3 points in 12 months.

I learned a lot of lessons along the way and thought I’d share some of them with you. As in all things golf, there were good things that happened, bad things that happened, and darn right ugly things that occurred in my journey. Here are a few you might recognize in your game…

The Good

1. My golf coach – Ginny Golding

Ginny was a game/life saver for me. She has an effective teaching style for players of any level and never uses all the jargon we normally hear from pros.

She has not only improved the fundamentals of my swing, she makes lessons fun and has taught me some “tricks” to improve on the most important part of my game – my confidence.

A big fan of Lynn Marriott and Pia Nilsson, co-founders of VISION54, Ginny has shared some wonderful tips on how to stay focused, remain positive and have fun, even when things aren’t going my way.

Here are a few “mental” tips she’s given me:

Keep a filing cabinet in your brain of good golf thoughts. 

Pull out one of those memories when you need a boost of confidence over a tough shot or are feeling down about that last 3-putt.

When you hit a good shot, file it for future reference. I have a terrible memory, so I also started writing down all the good shots I hit during a round. I then add them up at the end and walk away saying, “Hey, I hit 10 good shots today!” Meanwhile my partners are still grumbling about that one slice or duck hook off the 7th tee.

Sing or hum a tune when you swing (in your head or out loud if you’re with playing partners who don’t mind).

It blocks out all those swing thoughts and helps improve your tempo at the same time. One of my favorite tunes is “Time after Time” by Cyndi Lauper. And my “limitless vision”, friend Donovan Tildesley likes, Pat Benetar’s “Hit me with your best shot!”  You should find yours.

Smile when you hit a good shot and smile even more after a bad one. 

I’ve seen Anthony Kim doing this and it impresses me that he’s turned his anger upside down. Laughter is the best medicine, so chuckle your way around the course. Oh, BTW…gritting your teeth doesn’t count. 😉

besides this tips, Ginny has also improved my swing this year – incredibly actually.  I’ll share more of that in a future post.  But if you start with these, I bet you’ll see a difference in your game without even touching your golf swing.

I am heading to Arizona in March 2011 with Ginny, Canadian legend, Sandra Post and a bunch of other women from Vancouver to attend a golf school.  It includes a lesson from Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott of Vision 54.  I can’t wait!

2. My fitness program

All my girl friends are skinny; I really hate them deep inside. But my co-working buddies at the gym are like me – love a good meal, good wine and good times. So when I see them at 7 AM every morning and watch the sweat run off their faces as they push their bodies to the limit, I’m encouraged. If they can do it, I can do it.

Of course, they are 20 years younger than I am, but they think of me as their peer, not their mother. THAT makes me feel good too.

If I can’t make it one morning due to another commitment, one of them always makes a point of coming into my office, looks down his nose at me saying, “Hmmm…And where were you this AM, Ms. Moss?” Only real friends would raze you like that. My workout buddies are a great incentive to drag my butt out of bed every morning.

Jonathan, my personal trainer, who takes great joy in “shocking” my body into fitness once a week is always there smiling and “gently” encouraging me to keep pushing harder. Every time he makes me do something I hate (like running), I think he’s a masochist.  Funny…he thinks he’s my best friend. I guess it’s true what they say, ”No pain; No gain!”

3. Skinny jeans

Although I didn’t start this program with a weight goal in mind, and I never stepped on the scales until 9 months after I started, I did buy a pair of skinny jeans about a months into the program that were intentionally too small. Two months later, I put them on and was delighted that they fit.

I couldn’t really see any change in the mirror, but skinny jeans don’t lie! When I told Jonathan, I got a hi-5 from him. I actually think he felt proud – he beamed like a new papa! Today, those jeans are too big on me. Woohoo!

The Bad

Boy is this a tough nut to crack! I had to deal with this problem the whole year and I’m still working on this one.

Here’s just one example…

I spent a week playing golf in Palm Desert in April – my first real golf of the season because Vancouver was so cold. I had been practicing on the covered range quite a bit during the winter and was feeling pretty good.  So when I had sunshine, heat and no work pressures in CA, I could just see the birdies filling up my score card.

Unfortunately, my expectations got way ahead of my talent and my first hole of the week, I triple-bogied! I was devastated. But my loving golfguy reminded me of that old cliché, “There is lots of golf to be played.” 
Ya Ya!

But you know he was right.  And so after that 7 on the first par 4, I knew I had to let go of my unrealistic expectations.  And guess what…I parred the next hole. The “I told you so” grin was all over his face, making me laugh my way around the next 16 holes. I did break 100 that day, but not by a lot. But it felt good to know that 1 bad hole did not a bad round make.

The Ugly 

1. My Rollercoaster Handicap

Went UP a full point in one week! Yikes! It is supposed to go down, not up!!!! Sigh…

Repeat after me:
There’s more golf to be played…
There’s more golf to be played…

Frankly, I wasn’t too worried. Golf in Palm Desert wasn’t easy that week. We played some wonderful courses, and I really think I was hitting the ball better. I just wasn’t scoring. Where have you heard that before? 😉

Of course, not knowing the courses, I played stupid shots I would not have tried had I known what lay beyond that hill or dogleg.

And 50 mph winds didn’t help either. I was actually blown off the green on one hole by a gust of wind – seriously knocked me right back. Not trying to make any excuses, but you know it’s windy when the club manager comes over to you at the turn and gives you a coupon for a free round of golf, saying, “I would hate to think you’d leave here remembering this course this way; it’s usually not this bad. Please come back another time and it’s on the house.” Free golf – now THAT’s not ugly at all!

Next week, I’ll share with you more of the “good” things I experienced this year on my journey — some were books, some training aids, some swing tips and some life experiences. Hope you’ll come back for those and let me know if you have any thing to share that has helped you in your game.  I’m always looking for a good tip. 😉


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