Canadian winters are harsh, I've been working on my game as the season starts warming up and spent some more time reflecting on last year and where I want to head this year.
One of the major changes, which I'm undertaking is in the next month is I will be moving across country to B.C, partly because I want to see B.C but I also noticed a lot of the players on the Mackenzie Tour are from that area. I figure there has to be a reason why, so I am moving.
Looking back on 2018, here are a few things I'm proud of and a few things that I definitely need to improve.
1. Breaking par for 18 holes (71, from the back tees)
I made it my goal, that I HAD to break par in 2018 at least once and I did it. It was a pretty grindy round too, the first tee shot I hooked way into the trees as a bunch of old guys were watching and giving me shit for playing the back tees.
I had to birdie the tough 18th hole to break par, which I did in great fashion. I put my 2 iron to about five feet from the hole on my 2nd shot. It was a risky move but damn did it feel good.
That sealed my 71.
I also shot a 69 but it was fairly easy course, so I don't really count that. Also par was 70 I believe.
Shit, there was one more low round I had. I shot 71 (par 72) during a practice round at a course I had a tournament at a few days later. That was probably my best round but not as special as the first time I broke par for 18 at my home course.
2. Co-led a tournament after 9 holes.
The 2nd last tournament of the year, I was paired with the best player and we both were tied going into the back 9. We both shot -2 for our first 9's which was my first time ever shooting that low in a tournament (even though it's just 9), I didn't follow it up with a good back 9 though and shot I think 75 or 76. Pretty shit.
Those are some of the goals I reached, there were some other smaller ones but those are the main ones. Now onto the challenges.
The biggest challenge by far was focus and getting into the right mindset.
Simply put, I did not have the discipline and self-control to pull myself back after a bad start or I would start well and then lose whatever momentum I had for the round. Some days, my focus was there and others I would just walk up and hit the ball. Every time I walked up and hit the ball, I thought it was a good idea at the time but usually ended up being a terrible idea and costing me a lot of strokes.
My tournament scores were abysmal because of this but I also think I was distracted during the events because the tournaments I was playing in my brother was also playing in. Who I don't really get to spend a lot of time with, so on one hand I tried to be serious but I also wanted to enjoy the time with my brother (we got paired twice) and idk, I felt I had a very hard time keeping my focus. "I wanted to have fun" too much.
I also had a lot of problem with my drives, I would simply forget how to drive the damn ball and it costed me so many strokes during these events. I was furious. Then during the 2nd last tournament, I had finally figured out my driver and I was driving well (front 9 -2 back 9 was bad but not because of driver) and then I was gearing up for the last tournament when my driver broke about a day before the event. I couldn't get it fixed in time so my dad brought it into his workshop and fixed it but he put way too much epoxy in it so it felt really weird in my hands. My driving was terrible during that event. Near OB ball on the first hole and 2nd hole straight into the OB. Not good.
In this year of 2019, I need to do a few things.
- Find a coach who I can trust and believe in
- Start working on my mental game, especially in tournaments (play more events)
- Get rid of the over the top bullshit in my swing
- Start breaking par more consistently
- Finding better players to hangout with / befriend
- Continue to work on putting and shortgame.
I think the major two here are finding a coach / teacher and working on the mental game. When my mental game is on and I'm in a good frame of mind, I can play decent golf but right now it's terrible. It needs a lot of work because my tournament play is awful.
Now, to wrap this up. What have I been doing in the winter?
Well, I've done a little work on my game but mostly I've been resting. Reflecting on my year and deciding whether I want to continue to pursue this goal or not. My dad was a pro athlete and he did very well, competing internationally and winning some events. I sort of feel I have to follow in his footsteps and I know don't have to but I want to. I've studied other athletes and a lot of them, there's a lineage within the family where athletics was a big thing. So if I was to go pro, it wouldn't be too crazy. Considering the background.
I also started to make some money with one of my other hobbies, photography. I got lucky in picking up some work from a guy who approached me on the street as I was taking photos. This turned into a consistent gig and then through word of mouth, I landed some more work which was nice.
This sparked a deeper interest in art, which I didn't really know I had until now. I've got into sketching and drawing and eventually I want to paint. There was a point this year where I seriously considered whether I wanted to focus on improving my skills as an artist and start doing that instead. I still have that internal struggle but what I keep coming back to, is the childhood dream I had. Which was to play pro golf.
I remember in grade 8, when I was very good for my age and certainly should have continued the sport (I quit for 5 years) we had to fill these things out that said "What do you want to do when you are older?" I wrote professional golfer and my teacher laughed at me. I didn't take it to heart really because I practiced religiously that summer but I think back and I remember that burning desire I had.
So do I want to continue?
I do I want to win on the Mackenzie Tour.
But first I need to win.
I want to win a tournament. That's my first step to my bigger goal.
So I think that's where I'm going to start and work from there. Being a pro would be great but let's start with winning something (I haven't really won anything important).
I don't want to die without having won a tournament. Then once I do that, we can go from there.
What really keeps me going with my goals is what I have done in the last 2 years. Going from a 15 handicap to about a 5/6 (realistic, my "Canadian" handicap is actually a 1/2 officially) + having broke par a few times at decent courses for 18. Had I not have done that, if I was still shooting 79 I probably wouldn't be writing this post.
And to answer the people, where have I been?
Embarrassed. With the way I played during my last tournament, I wanted to stick my head in the sand. Which I did.
I'm going to push hard this year. I'm moving out my parents, I've got a nice van and I'm cutting all costs out of my life. I will be sleeping in my van and working on my goals with a coach. If I need money, I have my photography that I can use to make extra cash.
By the way, for those interested. Here's my website with my photography. www.jasoncoull.com