abk Golf: Not Satisfied

“Flaws: either own ‘em or fix ‘em.”-abk

Getting better is hard. It requires, as a first step, to acknowledge that we need to get better. I could care less what category we are talking about. I just like the idea of always getting better.

This past Monday, I played TPC Louisiana, home of the PGA Tour’s Zurich Classic just outside of New Orleans. I had played there once before, almost exactly two years prior. Then, I shot 102. Monday, I shot 75. 27 stroke improvement. Bravo, I know. I mentioned last week that I had experienced a similar 20 stroke improvement a few weeks ago at Pinehurst # 2. Bravo, I know.

What I didn’t mention was how each of these courses, in tandem with my daily grind, continue to expose all of my weaknesses. Sure, every aspect of my game has gotten miles better, but there are still problems to solve, weaknesses to strengthen, and ways to get better. There always will be.

This past weekend, I played in a loosely- defined tournament on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I thought I would personally use the experience as a gauge to, quite frankly, get better. My end game is years away and a true work in process, so I use these tests as opportunities to learn and improve.

Each day, our foursome had good players, with at least one player shooting under par. Though I operate in my own world out there, I love playing with ballers. I pay attention to subtle things they do. I watch them like a hawk. It’s the best way I know to get better at anything.

I played pretty well Friday, shooting a 2 over par 74 (37-37) in a whipping wind. Saturday, all hell broke loose on the front 9, and I shot a 10 over 46. Determined to salvage something, I went all in and shot a 3 under 33 on the back to post a 79 in what surely was the most bizarre round of the day/my life. Sunday, I got off to a rough start again, shooting a 4 over 40 on the way out, only to close with an even par 36 on the way in.

74-79-76. I’m not going to win any awards yet, though I did win a few bucks. I’ve known for months now I need to shave six more strokes off each round to get where I want to be, so this was about right. I wouldn’t say I was pleased with the three days, but I was pleased with certain aspects, definitely. My flaws were right there for me to analyze, and in an odd way, I was pleased with what I learned.

For the three days, I was +13 total, of which 8 strokes were penalty strokes. I went +15 on the front (37, 46, 40) and -2 on the back (37, 33, 36). I don’t need an advanced astronomy degree to analyze what was good (bravo, I know) and where an immense amount of work still needs to be done. For starters, eliminate the goofy penalty strokes and I’ve got 73-74-74. Now, we are getting somewhere.

I love making the daily highlight videos, reporting on progress, and sharing good rounds, but what brings me back to the course day after day (350 days now) are those rough starts and penalty strokes and the opportunity to understand and fix them. I’ve just got to get better. Why, you ask? Well…it’s just so much better than the alternative.

Before I teed it up last Monday, a round that I ended up walking with a buddy, I devoured two hamburgers from Lee’s Hamburgers in the New Orleans area, a 120 year old institution known for grilling tiny onions INTO its patties. They were unlike anything I had ever eaten and absolutely delicious.

Was it the best idea to eat them right before walking five miles and playing golf? Of course not. But we all have our flaws, and we have to either own ‘em or work on ‘em. The golf? I’ll continue to work on it, along with so many other aspects of my life. The New Orleans grub? I think I’ll just unapologetically own that piece and the added five pounds it kindly provides.

Have a great week.-Benj

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