Friday, April 29, 2011

Talkin' 'Bout PRACTICE Man!

Not a game... Not a game... we talkin' 'bout PRACTICE man, how silly is that?

Not silly at all AI... how do you plan on getting better then? I've been in Hilton Head, SC for the last few days, following my 69 that came up short in Albany, GA. I've put together 3 really good practice days, getting a lot of practice in, especially the short game. I completed my "Circle Drill" in shockingly quick fashion yesterday. It's my favorite putting drill, and I've been doing it for probably 7 or 8 years now. I put 5 tees in a circle around the hole at 3 feet. The goal is making 10 out of 10 from that distance. I go around twice, and can't move on until I make 10 out of 10. When I do, I move the tees back to 6 feet and have to make 9 out of 10. Then I move the tees back to 9 feet and have to make 8 out of 10. If you can make it through the drill consistently, you'll be amazed at how easy 10 footers start to look. My favorite thing about the drill, is that you're practicing "making putts" but also doing it under pressure (Because I don't leave the putting green until I finish the drill). I've been there for over an hour before... trust me when I tell you that having a 9 footer to complete the drill after an hour's worth of practice has just as much pressure on it as a putt in competition... if not more.

I've been staying down here with Daryl Shippos, former Treesdale great, who's now one of the pros out at Colleton River. The facilities there are amazing and the entire place is in immaculate condition. I played yesterday at the Country Club of Hilton Head and was paired up with an awesome guy named Lou. We talked a lot during the round as play was slow. Super nice guy. When we got done, the guy who came out to clean my clubs told me that Lou ran an advertising company and Lou was the person responsible for the phrase "Got Milk?" So how about that?

Looking forward to the upcoming Monday qualifier at Achaste, where last year I made 8 birdies, but came up a shot short. Not coming up short this year! I'm also signed up for an eGolf event in High Pointe, NC, but I'll probably have to WD from that once I qualify for the Nationwide event.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Almost, not quite

Played a good solid round of golf today. Hit the ball really good and hit 16 greens en route to a 3-under par 69 today. Unfortunately, 69's don't get it done in Nationwide monday qualifiers. However, it was an extremely positive day today, and another step in the right direction. The swing feels as good as it has in well over a year. I got off to an OK start, parring my first 4 holes. A bad bounce in the fairway led to a bogey on the 5th, as my ball bounced hard right, directly behind a tree. I almost chipped in on 6, the par 3, but put an awful stroke on a 3 footer and threw a shot away there. I was then +2 thru 6 and in trouble. But if there's one thing I never do, its give up. I almost flew my 2nd shot into the par 5 7th in the hole, and it went about 12 feet past. A perfect putt on the line I chose simply failed to break, caught a piece of the edge and lipped out. A tap in birdie, yet a momentum reverser. Good shots and better putts on the next two holes got me to 1-under after making a turkey. I turned at 35, but still needed to make some noise on the back.

The greens were fast today, rolling at about 11 or 12, along with being firm. I hit a great rescue shot on 10 and even had a decent birdie look. 11 saw me hit another perfect putt for birdie from 15 feet lip out. Then on 12 I hit an awesome 8-iron from in some trees after a poor club selection off the tee put me through the fairway. I hit the 115 yard shot to 4-feet and made birdie. A birdie on a par 5 coming in got me to 3-under, but I just couldn't get enough putts to fall from 20+ feet coming in and settled with a 69.

Although I missed out on the Kinderlou tournament, I'm really excited about the direction my game is headed. 2008 Mike Van Sickle is back and here to stay. A couple of good putting drill days will get me some more added confidence with the putter, and then LOOK OUT! I'm on my way to Hilton Head to spend the week practicing before next Monday's Nationwide qualifier. I also signed up for next week's eGolf event at High Point in North Carolina as a fall back option. I'm playing pretty good though, so expect to see me making it through next week! I'll be playing at Achaste in Georgia, where I played last year and shot a 68 with 8 birdies, 2 bogies and a double. I missed a playoff by a shot. Super excited for the upcoming events!

Results from today: Click here

Monday, April 18, 2011

Great two weeks

I'm down to my last week back home in Pittsburgh here, and I'm really feeling great about where my game is at. I'm hitting it as good as ever, thanks to some sessions with Joe Boros and a lot of practice. Played two balls out at Treesdale today and shot 67 and 65, so I'm pumped to get back into the competitive atmosphere. I'm also smashing the new R11 driver I got while I was down in Louisiana. After missing the qualifier down there, I stopped at the tournament the next day and went to the Taylormade van, where Marquette Alum Eddie Erkmanis hooked me up with an R11 driver. Love it.

It's also been good to be home. I've been able to blow off a lot of steam at Oxford by working out and been able to relax a bit with the family and some friends I hadn't seen in a while. Went to a Pirates game sporting my Neil Walker jersey (he went to high school with me and is now the Pirates star second baseman.) It's been fun watching him have success, and it's given my dad and I a reason to watch Pirates games. They're actually not too bad this year! Although they got creamed the day I went to the game.

I'm hitting the road on Friday and I'll be driving to Callaway Gardens in Georgia to spend a night at the Shaver household, who have been gracious enough to let me stay with them on numerous occasions. Then I take off on Saturday for Albany, GA, where I'll be playing in a Nationwide Monday qualifier. This is the Valdosta tournament at Kinderlou Forest. A tournament I really would like to get in, as the course sets up beautifully for my game. My plan is to get off the practice tee now and play as much as I can the next couple days to continue to prepare for my upcoming events.