Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Eventful 2 Weeks

The State Open got started out just the way I wanted with a very solid 68 in the first round, which put me in 4th place on a difficult track at Moselem Springs. My course management was very good, I hit it solid, and made most of everything inside 8 feet. Unfortunately, day 2 saw me struggle, as the heavens dished out some water starting on my third hole, and not relenting until about 14. I fought through the rain, but was missing short putts and not quite dialing my distances in. Ultimately I scored very poorly for how I felt I was playing. But that's golf, you have to find a way to score. I finished with a 78, and feel far enough to miss the cut.

I decided a trip to Milwaukee was in order. The plan was to meet up with former MU Coach, Tim Grogan and see what he had to think of my swing. After all, he watched me swing it pretty good for three years. The other thought was to meet up with Mike McDonald, this year's State Amateur Champion in Wisconsin, as we practiced together alot my Senior year, and I would typically ask for some input from him when we practiced. Both decisions proved to be good ones.

I got to downtown Chicago on Wednesday around Noon, and met up with a couple friends for lunch at a place called the Protein Bar. It's basically a Chipotle type of restaurant but with extremely healthy options. I got a Buffalo Chicken wrap, with Vegan Buffalo sauce, organic chicken, and organic quinoa. Look out for these to start opening up outside of Chicago, because the food was good, healthy, and the line was out the door. As I crossed into Wisconsin, I remembered playing at Strawberry Creek in Kenosha. I couldn't remember if they had just gone public or private the last time I was there two years ago, but figured I'd stop by and check. Plus, the last time I played there was for the US Open qualifier and I played with the pro there, Rick Leslie, so at the very least I had a good excuse to stop by and say hello. Driving in, it became pretty apparent that they were probably private. The course looked like it was in spectacular condition. Rick was there and we spent 15 minutes catching up and said I could go out and play if I wanted, that they were pretty much empty today. It was nice to get out of the car and play some golf after being in a car all day. The course was awesome.

on Thursday and went out to Ozaukee CC, site of my course record 61 when playing with Nathan Colson my freshman year. Who was there to greet us, but Mike Bielawski, the new assistant pro out there. Talked to him and caught up for a bit and then went out and played. Grogan and I worked on the range out at Missing Links after that round and filmed some swings. That evening I made it back to Bristlecone Pines for a 4 o'clock tee time with my buddy Tony, who's in the midst of dominating medical school. I was staying with him and his parents, who live out at Bristlecone. We got 9 holes in, and I finally realized that I was about out of swings for the day. Plus I distracted our focus by pointing out there was a B-Dubs (Buffalo Wild Wings) nearby that looked promising, and we were both hungry.

Day 2 took me out to the Bog, a common stomping ground from my MU days. We we go there a couple times a week to play when I was on the team. I got out there early and went through my short game drills. Completed a circle drill, and a ladder drill, and then went over to work on my chipping until Grogan arrived. When he did, I pulled out my laptop to show him my swing from the John Deere Classic that my dad had taken. He immediately noticed a couple differences in setup and takeaway which we went over before we played. We got 12 holes in and went inside for a quick dinner. He brought his camera in and I downloaded some videos from that day into my computer. We split-screened the current swing with the John Deere swing and definitely noticed a few differences. We were on the right track.

Saturday morning I drove down to Chicago for the day. The plan was to go to the beach at 1030AM and watch the Air and Water Show and then go to the White Sox game. However, the weather didn't want to cooperate with those plans. The Air show was postponed until about two due to serious thunderstorms. So we never made it to the beach, but did watch the Air show from a friends 45th story balcony. It was pretty cool to see Tomcats and F-15s buzzing over the city buildings. The White Sox game was exciting as they rallied for a late win over the Rangers. It's a good stadium, but certainly no PNC Park. I stayed the night down there and drove back up to Milwaukee on Sunday morning. I stopped at a Panera's for Breakfast on the way up, and to conduct a Fantasy Football draft that started at 930am. I got back into Milwaukee around 1230 and went for a run along the lakefront, one of my favorite things to do in Milwaukee. I then drove up to Hidden Glen near Grafton and met up with Mike McDonald for some golf. He's always very good with coming up with one simple little tip on how I'm swinging, and his input was extremely helpful. We had a close match, but I squeaked out a 2&1 win, so burgers were on him that night. We stopped at a little mom n pop type place. Kind of a Kopps knockoff, but the burgers were good and so was the ice cream.

Monday morning I met up with Grogan one last time at Brown Deer to take a look at the short game. He watched me hit pitches for 20 minutes and liked the improvements I had made since my college days. I had to cut our time short however, as Dr. Licktieg was able to fit me in for an adjustment at 945. After my chiropractic stop I went out to Tripoli CC for the Marquette Business School Golf Outing. I played with my roommate's mentor, Brad, and two really nice guys from Northern Trust. We had a blast and even wound up winning. I thought for sure I would win something in the raffle, especially after stuffing the Fred Astaire Dance Lesson box with most of my tickets, but unfortunately I came away empty handed. I drove down to Chicago that night so I would not have to deal with rush hour traffic in the morning. And I just got home Tuesday afternoon.

It was an extremely productive and useful trip up there.

Off to Sewickly for some practice and play

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