Our annual Club Championship was contested this past weekend, which marked my first stroke play tournament since last year’s Club Championship. Despite my best intentions of getting more stroke play tournament experience under my belt each season, life and a career and stuff doesn’t always make it a top priority.
Having said that, I wasn’t completely void of competitive play this season. I had some success in competitive match play, most notably picking up some significant hardware in the Calgary Golf Association Riley’s Best Ball Match Play event with my partner, Fred Teno.
The Club Championship is every club golfer’s major. For me it is always circled on my calendar early in the season. If I could only play stellar for one week all season, I’d pick Club Championship week. The problem with being pumped up for an event is that golf is a sick and twisted game.
You have to want it but be unafraid to lose it.
You have to be prepared but not over-prepare.
You have to care enough to give it your all, but not so much that it feels like you have a lot to lose.
You have to expect a lot from yourself without having expectations.
Makes total sense.
Getting off to a good start is something that has alluded me the past 3 years. My scores have improved with each round as I get back into the rhythm of tournament golf, but it’s been too little, too late. However, the trend of always improving with each round would be a good one to continue.
This year we teed it up in some pretty awful weather for Round 1. I strapped on the rain suit and was feeling excited even though I didn’t quite feel my best physically. Most importantly, my hat game was dialed with three of our Persimmon logo hats lined up for the weekend.
However, despite my best effort, I was tournament rusty. I let mistakes bother me and compounded them with more mistakes. Things started moving quickly. I gripped the club a little too tight. Feeling off physically got in my head and took away my confidence in being able to turn things around. It led to a slightly horrifying 88.
The second round got slightly better, but some similar mistakes led to an 83.
Starting out the 3rd and final round I was determined to finish strong. I felt good physically. My warm-up was stellar, the best I had hit it all season on the range. We set off and I continued to hit it solid, but short-sided myself a couple times early, by a matter of inches, and some bogeys happened fast. On the 7th hole I hit a tee shot down the right side which we all agreed would be fine, but we never saw it again. A lonely trek back to the tee led to a double bogey and I opened the front nine with 42. I was feeling good, hitting it good, and golf was happening fast. How is another round getting away from me?
I still believed I could turn things around because it felt like I was swinging well. Then, my good shots started to get rewarded. Some putts started to fall. I found 3 birdies and closed the championship with a back-nine 34 to salvage the round with a more respectable 76.
It’s funny how a disappointing 3-day total still had me leaving with a feeling of pride and confidence despite looking back on my first two rounds and thinking, what the hell was that? The numbers you hang on the board won’t always be ones you’re excited to see, but when looking back on an experience, there can be a tremendous amount of pride involved in knowing you grinded it out when times were tough, adapted, learned from your mistakes along the way, and eventually found light at the end of the tunnel.
While our ‘major’ is behind us and I’m empty-handed, the way I managed to finish off my final round has me excited for the remainder of the season. It’s been a struggle on-and-off physically this year with some back issues again, but feels like I’m finally starting to get some answers, and the brief glimpses I’ve had into my potential when I’m in good physical form has me as optimistic as ever.
A big congrats to Logan Carver on his 3rd consecutive victory, this time forcing a playoff in come-from-behind fashion after a final round 69. Also a shout out to 14 year-old Hunter Thomson for sleeping on the lead the first two rounds and finishing in the runner-up spot in his first tournament with the big boys. Impressive stuff. One last shout out to 3rd place Luke Scrymgeour for yet another final group appearance with a solid and consistent week as always. Good job fellas.
Golf isn't just a game, it's a lifestyle.
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