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Ben

Mini Tour play.

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Originally Posted by Ben

I've been practicing a ton, but have been playing super bad lately. I mean crazy bad! I honestly think I've spent too much time on the range, rather than on the course.



Me too!  I have spent so much time just banging shots on the range the last year, that my game seems to have suffered.  I haven't played much at all, but have spent a ton of time on the range.  But that is the way I look at it as well....it can only get better from the way I have been playing.

Good luck man!

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Thanks everyone.

Well, I got my last round in today. Played at Oakmont CC in Glendale with my buddy Sam, my boss and his friend. Oakmont is a gorgeous course, recently redesigned and holds US Open qualifying. http://www.oakmontcc.com/page/62215_Scorecards.asp 7015y, 74.6/138 A test I was a bit unsure about as I woke up this morning, being that my confidence has really been in the dumps lately. "Should I play a course this tough right now?" I thought... It was a beautiful day out today and the course is a gem, so I figured I'd give it a go. I was stripping the ball warming up on the range, so my spirits were high as I stepped to the first tee. The day had some downs, a double on the tough par-3 3rd, a couple sloppy failed up and down attempts. I didn't set any records at 3over par, but overall, I felt great about the day. Hit some nice tee shots, a few nice approach shots. Did have a handful of nice up and downs, one being a tough bunker shot. And did roll in some putts, short, mid range and a few long ones too. So, a feel good day before hopping on my plane tomorrow morning.

Catch you all in Korea...

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Checking in from Nairta Intl Airport... Two more hours on a plane to Incheon/Seoul. Then three hours from Incheon to Gunsan.

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Well, today was round 1. I played the Cheonju Sunchang course. The shorter of the two. At 7144y, its hard to grip that this is the short course. Anyway. Not a bad round, finished at -1, 71.

Started out a bit rocky, I was super nervous and the butterflies were really fluttering on the first tee. Luckily for me I brought my Bob Rotella book The Golfer's Mind in which there is a section on dealing with butterflies and turning that nervous energy and altering it into positive energy. Kinda clunked a drive off to the right rough, which is really hard because the fairways on this course are quite generous. But I managed to miss this one. Still a bit shaky, I hit what I thought was a flush 5iron straight at the pin. But it turned out to finish 30y short of the pin. I hit what I thought was a nice chip, but it ran about 10' past the whole. And finally, the butterflies diminished as I sunk the putt for par on a perfect line. That felt good. The next hole is a par 5, 603y of fun. Hit a pretty solid tee shot and a really solid 3w and was still left with 89y to the whole. To top things off I found my ball in a divot. Thankfully, not a deep one and at the end of the divot. So with my 58* wedge in hand I really wasn't sweating the bad break. Divots on these courses are a constant threat. These courses get tons of play and the fairways are marked with tons of divots. Back to the shot, I stuck it to 4' and made the putt for birdie! Hole 3 was really dumb as I hit a fair tee shot, then a so-so 8iron that came up just short and just right of the green. I hit a chip to 2.5', but went on to miss the par putt. Lame. Hole 4 was a par for the record book. Another feature of these courses are the HUGE greens. With the pin on the right of this 175y par 3, I hit a little closed face, trap draw clear to the left side of the green. I'm not exaggerating when I say I had at least 70' to the hole. This was the two-putt of my life as I hit a great putt that was actually tracking to the center of the cup, but stopped about 1' short. Hole 5, was another rocky up and down. but up and down none the less as I drained another 10' for par. Hole 6, just a par. Hole 7. 210y of par 3 fun. I hit a really nice 4 iron to the front of the tee, then struck a really nice putt from 35' to, jusssst short. I'm talking 2 inches, if that. Damn! Number 8, par 5, 575y. Fair driver, fair 3 wood and still 81y to the pin. Nice 58* wedge to 6', no problem, nice birdie. Number 9. Solid driver that still left me with a 4 iron in. In the fairway I'm thinking, lets not screw around with the pin on the left and hit it to the center of the green. Well, I pull it just a tad and it ends up pin high, but left of the green. Yet again, I hit a pretty dumb chip, and leave myself 10ish feet for par. But, yet again, I drain that par putt. So, I finish the front at -1.

Number 10 is a fun hole, but one that has given me trouble the three times I've played it before. I hit a fade, but this hole is a dogleg left with with water that protects the. In the past I was talking far too conservative of a line and would leave myself a long iron in. Today, I ripped a driver, my most solid drive of the day, and took a huge chunk out of the dogleg and left myself with a 9 iron in. Left myself a bit of a tricky putt for birdie, that scared the hole but rolled past about 4'. It was straight and up hill, no sweat. 11, is a par 5, 541y. got my third to about 11' but misread the birdie putt. 12 was a routine par. 13 was pretty exciting. Another long par 3 that I had playing 209 to the pin. A nasty grass bunker protects the front of the green and the back hole of the green runs downhill off the green. I took out my 3 iron and hit the perfect high fade up to about 20', then drained the putt for birdie. There is a bit of backup at this hole because it is a bit challenging so groups were being waved up. The group in front got to see a nice shot, and the group behind got to see a nice putt. On top of the a guy in the group behind hit it to about the same spot as me so he got a nice read. Dunno if he took advantage or not. To hole 14. 424y on the card, but for some reason it plays more like 450y. This isn't the only hole like this out here. I think being right at sea level really affects the flight of the ball. I hit what was a nice solid drive only to have 171y to the hole. There was a little wind in my face so I decided on 6iron (185y for me) and that thing come up 10y short... Some of these holes are really weird like that. Anyway, I got up and down. 16 was just super retarded. A par 5 that is reachable and I was lucky to make bogey. That really tested my Rotella-ness. From there I parred out, 16, 17 and 18. All solid shots, but only got my approach close enough for a legit look at birdie on 18, and I missed that one, short, and in the jar.

-1 on the front and E on the back.

There's 124 players in my draw. -1 puts me in a huge tie for 54th. The top 25 players get through to the final stage.

http://kgt.co.kr/qschool/score.aspx?gm_code=2011626200021®ion;=00

I've got a couple of friends out here playing too. Damian Yi, who also shot -1. He played the tour in '10. He's been on fire lately and we're all kinda shocked that he shot -1. Eugene Choi, didn't do too hot today. He played this tour in '09. He'll have a tough time getting through tomorrow. And the guy I'm rooming with Chris Kwon. His in the D Group and doesn't start until Thursday.

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Good round considering!   Keep that putter going and the rest will get worked out

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Round 2 today, and off to the Buan Namwon Course. 7300+ yards of golf fun. Thankfully it was a calm day, not much wind to speak of. Started of on 10, and here's, how, it, went...

10 is a 612y par 5. Yeah, 612...Driver, 2hybrid, 7iron later and I found the green. 2-putt, nice par. Hole 11 is only 361y so I had to take advantage. Pulled out driver, left myself 98y to the pin. Hit a great 58* wedge to 11' and drained the putt. -1 after two holes, just like yesterday. And also like yesterday I was facing a 3' par putt on the next hole, but unlike yesterday, this one I made. whew... On the 456y par 4 13th I ripped on a driver. Hit it exactly where I wanted, then shot a laser 7iron right at the pin. But couldn't drop the 20' birdie putt. Number 14, stinkin' number 14. This hole bit me in the ass last year, and the same damn thing this year. There's nothing to it really, 372y par 4, fairway bunker right, water along the entire left side. I hit a fade, but my miss is a pull. I pulled it... so much so that I had to go back to the tee. Cranked driver, knocked my 54* to 11' then made the putt for a really nice bogey. Hole 15, par 5, 452y. skanky driver, skanky 3 iron, didn't get up and down, nice bogey. ugh, back to back bogeys to go to +1. Haven't been over par all tournament long. But I didn't let that get me down. 16 is a par 5. 580 or a par 5. Solid driver, fair 3 wood and an OK 54* and I was left with 12' for birdie. Perfect read, perfect pace, birdie! 17 is a par 3, 155y to the pin which is perched on the back and upper tier. I hit a sexy cut-off high fade 7 iron right at the pin. It hit the green then kicked left and forward?!?! In the air I thought I'd be tight, up at the green I found myself 25' away. No biggy, I rolled that one in too! Bye bye back to back bogeys, and hello back to back birdies. Back to -1. Hole 18 is 443y of par 4. The tees were up a bit today and it was playing around 415. At this point I am pumped after those birdies and I proceed to crank a driver on a dead straight line. I'm left with 124y to the hole and still pumped I guess, I crank my PW about 136... left with a two putt par. I finish the front 9 at my target of -1. To the front...

Hole 1. Blast a driver. Then hit another super pretty 7 iron fade approach shot to about 13'. But can't get this one to drop. 2 and 3 are both straight away par 4's, both 437yards. 2 was an uneventful par, but 3 was an uneventful bogey. Lame. Back to even. 4 is a par 5 (560y), time to get a birdie. Driver, 3 wood and a 58* from 96y left me with 9' for birdie. Don't know what happened but I just couldn't get 100% with the putt, and ultimately missed it. 5 was a regular old par on a 184y par 3. One-on, Two-putt. Par 5 time, 558y. Nuked driver and a kinda skanky 3 wood left me with 60y. Normally my 58* is spot on, but I've had nothing with it in Korea. And the same held true here. Granted I did get it to 12' and I've been draining 12 footers yesterday and today. This one was a little slippery. Had the read but not the speed. Short and in the jar. Holes are running out, I've got a short par 4, and long par 3 and a long par 4 to go. I'm thinking to myself that I need to birdie out. Well, I drained a 15' putt for birdie on 7! 8 was playing 200y to the pin, I hit a 4 iron up to 18' but misread the putt, par. I step to the tee on 18 at -1 for the day, -2 for the tournament. A birdie here doesn't guarantee me a spot, but I think I may have a chance. I've got 450 more yards to cover, so I got for broke and put a monster swing on this tee shot. And I nail it! right at a cart path, and what my caddy and playing partners believe is an okay spot. Well, we get to the landing area, and find that there is a hazard beyond the cart path, and my ball is in it... Man that sucked. All that work and that's the way I have to go out...

Turns out -3 wasn't the number anyway, One guy at -4 got in, but -5 was really what was necessary. Well, back to America and the mini-tours...

http://kgt.co.kr/qschool/score.aspx?gm_code=2011626200021®ion;=00

On a positive note. I've believe my game is at another level after this. These courses are long, I've got very little experience on them and I'm in another country for crying out loud. Yet, I was still able to put together two pretty satisfying rounds. I feel a new confidence, I'm mentally stronger and am ready to keep it going...

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With you already high level of success I am curious why do you not believe in hitting the driving range and short game areas several hours a day? You don't believe it transfers well? It seems as if all the top pros are hitting the range and short game areas daily along with playing nine or eighteen holes. I realize you work, but most high level athletes are practicing six hours a day at least these days. Many while working or going to school. The former Canadian tour player at my course was practicing a minimum of four hours a day and I would always run into the senior men PGA player at the range at least once a week during the winter. I am not sure how often he was down at the course or practicing overall. I look forward to hearing your view on the matter. I hope you achieve success on your next attempt at Q-School.

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Originally Posted by MentalTunnel

With you already high level of success I am curious why do you not believe in hitting the driving range and short game areas several hours a day? You don't believe it transfers well? It seems as if all the top pros are hitting the range and short game areas daily along with playing nine or eighteen holes. I realize you work, but most high level athletes are practicing six hours a day at least these days. Many while working or going to school. The former Canadian tour player at my course was practicing a minimum of four hours a day and I would always run into the senior men PGA player at the range at least once a week during the winter. I am not sure how often he was down at the course or practicing overall. I look forward to hearing your view on the matter. I hope you achieve success on your next attempt at Q-School.



Me?

Actually I really enjoy practicing my short game and putting. That I can and do, do for hours a day. Its fun for me.

For years I've been going back and forth trying to determine the right balance of range time vs course time and have come to the conclusion that my game benefits from course time rather than range time. After all the game is about being comfortable on the course. When I was getting ready for Korean QSchool this time around I was that guy, putting in hours on the range, banging out balls. Then I'd go to the course, and I'd stink it up. Right up to the week before I left for Korea I was in a tremendous slump and didn't remember the last time I had broken par. So, I only used the range for a bucket's time and then moved on. A day before I left I played golf at Oakmont CC (which holds US Open qualifying) with my boss, his friend and a young phenom golfer I am good friends with. Well, I broke my funk and shot great, considering how lacking my confidence was. I now know that the driving for me should to keep my swing sharp. I am comfortable with my swing and my ball striking. When I sit on the range for hours I tend to find things to fix, unnecessarily.

I've also taken a line from Bobby Jones. I remember watching a series of shows that the Golf Channel used to show that featured him. In one of the episodes he said something along the lines of practicing until you lose concentration. If you are focused on what you are doing, you aren't doing yourself any good. I've got one bucket, maybe something two buckets in me. I don't, however, understand how people spend all day on the range burning through buckets.

I like to think of one of my golf heroes, Fred Couples as well. He's been playing this game for years, yet it seems like his swing has never changed, and you rarely hear about him fiddling around on the range for hours a day. He's comfortable with what he's got and knows it works.

Lastly, Bob Rotella. His theory to playing the game successfully is thinking about your target, swinging or putting freely to that target. I used this method with great success in Korea, and whole-heartedly believe in it. Mechanics are the last thing on my mind on the golf course.

Oh, and like you mentioned. Yes, I do hold down a job which eats up a good chunk of my practice time, particularly since this stupid daylight savings time is in Winter mode. I hate this time of year.

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Sure thing!

I'm gonna be a bit quite tournament-wise for a while. I'm plan to start my next season in January. For now it will be time on my road bike, so long as its not freezing and rainy, like it was here today at least. Thankfully these days are very few and far between where I am.

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