LPGA T&CP National Championship

September 12, 2016

My trip to Orlando for the LPGA T&CP is complete and I have one word to summarize the trip: RAIN... and lots of it! We had a total of 4.5 hours worth of weather delays and played nine holes in the rain the last day. Living in Arizona you don't get much practice in bad weather so my game management could use a little work as far as picking which club I needed to hit to account for the humidity, rain, and wind.

Our trip began with a practice round on Saturday. We played the Palmer course at Reunion Golf Resort and this was the first time I had ever been there. The grounds of the resort are huge! There are three courses and several resort villas. If you ever get the chance to play there then I highly recommend it. The course was in great condition and the greens were smooth, but rolling a little slow. This was the time for Garrett and I to really come up with a good game plan and map out the course.

If you ever listen to Jordan Spieth being interviewed before he plays a tournament, he talks a lot about "sticking to their game plan." He does a phenomenal job at really getting to know a golf course and planning out a strategy to play it. Practice rounds are a perfect time to not only get an understanding of where you want to hit it, but where you don't want to miss it.

I talk to my students all the time about how they need to understand their own game and where they tend to miss it. We all know that you are going to miss hit shots when you play. Instead of being afraid of missing it, you can plan your shot so that when it happens you are most often in a position where you can still make par or no worse than bogey. In order for you to be able to play a miss, you have to eliminate one side of the golf course. One thing that amateurs tend to struggle with more than pros is they miss it right and left and never know which direction it's going. It's hard to manage your game and where to aim if you have no idea which direction it is going. If this is sounding familiar to how you play golf, then come see me for a lesson, because I spend a lot of time getting my students to consistently shape their shots. 

Now back to the tournament... after I played the practice round I was feeling really confident about my game. The course set up well for the draw that I like to hit and I'm hitting the ball better right now then I ever have in my golf career. If anything was going to get in my way, it was going to be my short game, which has always been the weaker part of my game.

Hole #1 Not too many flat lies on this course!

Hole #6 Even though it's a dog leg right, I am comfortable hitting a draw. I would aim over the right fairway bunkers and commit to hitting my draw to the center of the fairway.

Hole #12 The practice round was our best weather day. The sun even came out for a few hours.

Hole #15 Par 5 with a tee shot over the swamp.

On Sunday, I decided to get some rest and just practice chipping and putting to get a better feel for the rough and the pace of the greens. Garrett has an exceptional short game so he has been spending time with me on improving my chipping. Here's a tip from him on how to play a chip shot from thick rough when you don't have much green to work with:

The tournament began on Monday and I had an 12:30PM tee time which was second to last. I got to the course at 11:30 to begin my warm up and was greeted with a rain delay that would push my tee time back an hour to 1:30. Once we got out on the course, we only got two holes in before they blew the horn for another delay. This one lasted almost four hours before they let us get back out on the course. We were able to play for the rest of the day, even into the early hours of the evening when we were very limited on light. We tried to get as many holes finished as possible since we were one of the last groups to tee off and wouldn't be able to finish all 18 holes. 15 was the last hole we were able to play before day one was over.

Teeing off on day one!

Day 2 began bright and early and was another long day. We had to finish our first round before the rest of the players could start their second round, so we teed off as soon as it was barely light enough to see where the ball was going. I finished with a score of 80, 8 bogies and 10 pars. I had to try and shake that off as quickly as possible because I only had an hour before I teed off for my second round. We got lucky with the weather to be able to get our entire second round in without any delays. My second round score was a 79, 7 bogies and 11 pars. These first two rounds were a perfect example of my score not reflecting how well I played, but how terrible I putted. As soon as I finished, I headed straight to the putting green to try and figure things out. Garrett helped me get a new strategy with my technique because I couldn't get comfortable with starting the ball down my intended line.

Day 2: Going with the all black!

I ended up making the cut right on the number and was relieved to be able to get one more round to try and redeem myself. With my new found putting technique, I was a little more confident going into the final 18 holes. I hit the ball as well as I did the first few days and made a few more putts to shoot 74, 3 bogies, 1 birdie, and 14 pars. Even the birds decided to make an appearance on the hole I had a birdie! Coincidence?

All in all, it was another wonderful experience that golf has provided me with. I was able to network and meet other LPGA members and I always continue to learn something when it comes to my game. Plus, Garrett and I will use any excuse to travel! Bring on the next adventure.