Hot Start To 2015 Golf Season

HotNot sure what is going on with my golf game but I’m enjoying some early speed in the race for improvement in 2015.  I started the year with a modest goal of being able to walk 18 holes by the end of April and not experience any physical symptoms from my HCM.  Today I walked my second 18-hole round without difficulty and managed to back up last week’s 2-over 74 at Myrtle Beach National with a 1-over 71 on my home course.  I can’t recall coming out of the blocks this fast in the last 10 years and am trying not to over-analyze the reasons and just enjoy the ride.  But over-analyze is what I do, so here goes.  Maybe you can find a nugget or two that might help you.

The first key is a lesson I learned from last year’s dreadful start (92 on opening day) and some excellent advice I received from The Grateful Golfer.  Jim reminded me not to take the early season results too seriously and to ease into my game after the long winter layoff.  In 2015 I did this by walking 9-holes on my executive course on consecutive weekends and playing several balls without keeping score.  As a result, I relaxed for the start of the 18-hole rounds and played with less sense of urgency.  Jim, thanks for the reality check!

Second, I’ve sometimes found that if you are physically ill, or worrying about your health, it takes your mind off your golf game and you play better.  Has this ever happened to you?  I recall playing a round one year in my mid-20s when I was sick to my stomach and shot lights out.  Weird but true.  To be honest, my disorder is always on my mind and when I’m on the golf course I am filled with gratitude that I’m just able to play the game I love, and am not worrying about results.

Third, I’m beginning to wonder if this Rx I’m on isn’t having a positive effect.  Beta blockers are illegal on the PGA Tour for a reason.  They lower your heart rate and theoretically help you deal with pressure and nerves to an unfair advantage.  In my first 54 holes, I have yet to three-putt and feel very confident, calm, and trusting on the greens.

Finally, and most importantly, I heeded the advice of The Birdie Hunt and committed to returning to basics and not overhauling any part of my game over the winter, as I had done to disastrous results in previous years.  My only thoughts during practice and play are to check alignment, make a full shoulder turn, and clear my hips on the downswing.  Contact with my irons was solid last week and again today with 14 GIR.

So I’m going to continue to try hard not to try too hard and just let the game come to me.  Hope you can do the same.  How’s the opening of your season going?

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About Brian Penn

Avid sports fan and golf nut. I am a lifelong resident of the Washington D.C. area and love to follow the local teams. Also worked as a golf professional in the Middle Atlantic PGA for several years and am intrigued by the game to no end. I love to play and practice and am dedicated to continual improvement.
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9 Responses to Hot Start To 2015 Golf Season

  1. Brian,

    Fantastic news! I am glad that your golf season is starting off on such a high note! Maybe this type of scoring was always in you and now that it is out in the open, your mental and physical part of your game is synced up! I hope your season continues to be as successful as your start…..wait, it will be as successful because your positive attitude will continue to build your confidence and only good things can come from that! Keeping your golf attitude (GAF) high!

    Cheers
    Jim

    • Brian Penn says:

      Jim,
      GAF is on the rise and I’m drawing inspiration to work harder on shoring up some weaknesses from the positive results to date. Thanks for the positive reinforcement!

      Brian

  2. Brian,

    Great to hear you’re enjoying a solid start to the season! Those are some tidy results my friend, keep it rolling! Without thinking about it too much, of course. Staying relaxed, keeping things simple on the course and not focusing on results is huge. Definitely a goal of mine this year as well.

    Look forward to more great updates.

    Josh

    • Brian Penn says:

      Josh, thanks for the positive support. This Saturday will be big as I’ve scheduled a round at my nemesis course. For some reason, either technical or mental, I never play well here. So I’ve booked a round during a hot streak to try and whip this foible. Wish me luck!

      Regards,

      Brian

  3. Great to hear of your progress Brian, Putting stats looking good too.

    Pete

    • Brian Penn says:

      Thanks Pete. Sample size is a bit small but I’m hopeful some changes I implemented in my putting pre-shot routine late last season are beginning to take hold.

      Regards,

      Brian

  4. Brian, great update and good for you for having such a great mindset early in the season! I’m working on the basics as well and have also seen increased ball striking. I’ve seen improvement all around in my game since I have stopped looking for that one magical fix. I wish it existed, but I think we all know it doesn’t! Happy to hear you are out playing good golf and enjoying it! Cheers.

    • Brian Penn says:

      Back to basics is always a good thing and making the complex simple usually clears the head and improves focus. Glad to hear you are reaping benefits as well. Keep it up!

      Brian

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