The Final Countdown

It has been quite a long time since I have last posted here and a lot has happened since then!  The most exciting thing that has occurred was last week when my team won our first tournament since 2007.  We won the Wyoming Cowgirl Classic, where we beat out twenty-one other teams.  It is safe to say that that was the best day of my college career and I will never forget it.  That being said, we leave in two days for the Mountain West Conference Championship in Palm Desert.  We will be playing Mission Hills CC, which is where the LPGA just played the ANA Invitational, so it should be in pretty good shape.  I am so proud of my team and I know that we have everything it takes to win this one as well.  We are so excited!Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 9.33.30 PM

For the past couple of weeks I have been extremely emotional.  Not only because I will be graduating college and moving into the big, scary, real world, but also because I will be leaving my Nevada family (my team).  We have been through a lot this year, but we have worked our behinds off and we have proved to everyone that we are worthy of being champions.  We are champions.  At the Cowgirl Classic, I learned how important a supportive team really is.  It was so exciting for me to be playing behind Caryn during the final round.  There were times when I would be waiting on the tee boxes for her to putt out on par 3’s, watching her make birdie after birdie.  I was proud to clap and say “that’s my teammate right there.”  Because I knew that Caryn, as well as Bethany, Celyn, and Jordan, were giving it their all, it was so much easier for me to play my game.  It was comforting.

At this very moment, I am typing this blog entry instead of doing laundry, packing, or working on school projects, which is what I should be doing, but I cannot stop thinking about how grateful I am for having the opportunities that I have been given on this team.  I have traveled all over the U.S. to represent the Wolf Pack and I have met so many wonderful people in the process.  I have become a part of a very special family.  One Community, One Pack!


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Golf is a game of inches

golf swing thoughtsBetween lipping out a three footer and having your ball lie one inch out of bounds, golf can become very frustrating, but as a golfer, you should already know and respect that golf is a game of inches. I think that is what makes it so challenging and fun though because anything can happen!

You can be one degree off plane and your ball can end up flying out of bounds. I played in a tournament when I was younger and I kid you not, I shanked every single iron shot that I had. I forget what I shot but I am sure it was not pretty. The next day, while warming up, I moved a couple inches farther from the ball and was striping every shot. So much can potentially go wrong with golf, but when everything is working together and going how you want it to, it is that much more rewarding.

Every single shot you make out there on the course is extremely important because a 69 is a lot different from a 70. The first place winner could have shot a 69 and you shot a 70 with two three putts. If you just made that three-footer to save par, you could have tied and gone on to win. Of course, you shouldn’t think that way, but it is crucial to recognize the importance of every single shot.

With so many mistakes that can be made, you have to remember that so many amazing things can occur as well if you have the right state of mind. By focusing on every single shot, by knowing your swing and how to fix it when you’re in trouble, and by staying focused on the present, incredible things can happen and great golf can be played.

Feel free to comment below.

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What will your epitaph say?

I have a new favorite movie.  It is called Seven Days in Utopia.  I have never cried so much before while watching a movie and it is not because it is sad, but because I learned lessons that will change my life forever.  Before watching this movie, my life was golf.  I know I have said before in my posts that golf is just a game and that there are more things in life that are more important, but I don’t think I truly had convinced myself until now.  

In the film, a man named Luke Chisolm is striving to make it big professionally.  His father pushes him and forces him to practice every single day, even on Easter Sunday because golf was all that mattered.  After a devastating loss at a professional tournament, Luke is outraged and drives to a place called Utopia, Texas, where he finds himself welcomed by a rancher and his friends and family.  Turns out, the rancher (Johnny) knows a few things about golf and mentors Luke by teaching him how to paint his golf shots, see it, feel it, and trust it, and most importantly that there is more in life that is much more important than golf.  Johnny asks Luke “What will your epitaph say? What do you want people to say about you when you are gone?”  Do you want to be remembered as the person who shot a 59 or do you want to be remembered for more than that?

Golf is very, very important to me.  It is what I love to do, but it does not define me.  There is so much more to me than that.  I am a friend, a daughter, a sister, a girlfriend, and I have accomplished way more in life than good rounds of golf.  

Screen Shot 2014-08-09 at 8.20.07 PMWhile watching this movie, I thought a lot about my grandparents.  They passed away a few years ago and I was very close with them.  Sometimes I wish that I had spent more time with them while they were here, but now I know that I need to appreciate the things and the people that I have in life much more, because they matter way more than making a putt to win an LPGA event.  During the movie, while I was already an emotional wreck, I looked outside to see the most beautiful double rainbow and instantly felt comforted by the presence of my grandparents.  Earlier today, I won a golf tournament and received a trophy, but holding that trophy will never feel as good as holding a loved one.  

What do you want people to say about you when you are gone?

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Focus your chi

momdadGrowing up, my parents were huge influences in my golf career.  Ever since I began playing the sport, they have always been by my side helping me and supporting me.  I have learned so much from them about golf and those lessons have transpired into life as well.  One thing my father  always tells me is “focus your chi.”  I don’t really know what chi is, but it sounds good.

In my last post, I talked about my life and the average life of a college golfer.  With all of the stress from classes, homework, projects, presentations, qualifying, and playing well in tournaments, it can be difficult to focus and to stay in the moment.  I cannot tell you how many times I have played in a tournament round of golf and had thoughts like “oh my gosh, I really need to finish this paper by tonight” or “did I e-mail my professor telling him I was going to be missing class?” right as I am about to hit my shots.  Sometimes my brain for some reason decides to yell “SHANK” right as I am standing over the ball as well.  Those thoughts put me in panic mode.  And if you know me at all, you know I panic A LOT.

cancelledObviously, if you are panicking about other things during your round or thinking about hitting a terrible shot, you are going to tense up and start hitting poor shots.  We don’t want that.  I have a simple technique that has helped me tremendously when those thoughts creep into my mind: “cancel.”  That’s it.  My work here is done.

But really, when my brain yells “shank” or when I start thinking about school, I step away from the ball, take a second and say “cancel.”  Then, I give myself time to regain focus on the shot before me.  If negative thoughts start creeping back in my head, I will do it all over again until I am focused completely on the present with no negative thoughts. Sometimes I even say it out loud if I really have to.  I don’t really have any psychological explanation for why it works, but give it a shot and I bet you will be able to focus a lot better!

Let me know if you have any questions!

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Life of a college golfer

wolfpackThe University of Nevada, where I attend, is a tier one, Division 1 university.  We are the Nevada Wolf Pack.  Our athletics program is mostly known for its football because of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.  I am extremely proud to be a member of the Wolf Pack family and I am even more grateful for having a scholarship to do what I love here.  Being a student-athlete is hard work and a lot of other people do not fully understand it.  Others only see that I get school paid for and that I get to choose my class schedule first and that I get special treatment.  Believe it or not, being a student-athlete is a full-time job, especially golf.

I grew up with very high academic standards for myself.  My older sister was always so smart and always getting straight A’s so I strived to be as smart as her.  My grades are very, very important to me, and although I am not a straight A student, I manage to get at least a 3.5 GPA most of the time, which I think is pretty good considering I miss a TON of class for golf.  

My average day during season consists of 6:30am workouts.  After workouts I have class until about 12:15.  Practice starts at 1 and if we are playing (2-3 times a week), it ends around five or six.  Then, I have the occasional night class, I do homework, squeeze in a meal and go to sleep.  

For tournaments, we usually fly out on Saturday mornings.  Eighteen hole practice round on Sunday, 36 holes Monday, and 18 holes Tuesday.  And yes, we walk, carrying our own bags.  We then fly back to Reno that same night and get up to go to class the next morning.  

It is work, but it is fun work.  The hardest part is managing my time and keeping up with assignments since I miss so much class.  Sometimes, I end up having to turn in big projects a week before everyone else in the class because I will be gone when it is due.  Exams sometimes need to be taken early as well.  

I miss out on a lot of football games, a lot of college parties, and a lot of special events, but I do it because I love what I do.  I love competing while representing my school and I am so lucky to be given the opportunity to do so.  

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Life and Golf

bobbyjonesWith all of this craziness in the news about Dustin Johnson and his rumored cocaine addiction, I wanted to talk about how life and golf could sometimes get difficult. Sometimes, it’s hard to mix the two together and one can really affect the other. As we all know, golf is highly dependent on your mental state of mind. When something traumatic or crazy is going on in your life, it can sometimes be impossible to focus on a round of golf. After all, it is just a game, and there is so much more to life than a game.

Because I made a commitment to my team and the university, I sometimes have to suck it up during difficult times and play through them. In the three years I have been a part of the team, I have gone through two family moves, one pet death, and the loss of both of my grandparents. It was especially difficult because my grandfather helped introduce me to golf and he was my biggest fan. Sure, these difficult times affected my scores, but they also made me a much tougher person. I learned how to make the best of terrible situations.

Golf can also be an excellent way to escape from the real world when you need a break from it. Sometimes, when I am very upset about something going on in my life, I head to the driving range and beat golf balls. Other times, I will go out on the course and play by myself and get lost in a round. While on the course, I am given a lot of time to think about everything going on in life and I often gain peace of mind while out there by myself.

While life outside of golf can often affect your game, your game can sometimes affect your life as well. Some people can become so upset about how they are playing that it could determine how they act/feel outside the golf course. It is important to learn how to manage your emotions and to not allow something so trivial, like a few rounds of golf, affect how you treat other people or how you live your life.

Please feel free to comment and share.

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Staying in the moment

here-and-nowImagine you are in the lead of a huge tournament going into the final round.  While you are warming up, you imagine everyone cheering for you after you have won and you imagine yourself holding the trophy up high.  You start thinking about what you are going to be saying in your victory speech and who you are going to thank.  Now, that is all positive thinking, but I have learned the very hard way that you need to stay in the present, especially if you are in the lead.

Mountain West Championship at Mission Hills Country Club is where I experienced being in the lead for the very first time going into the final round of a big tournament.  The adrenaline rush was unlike anything I have ever experienced before and I did not know how to handle it properly.  My mind began to race before that final round and I kept thinking about the future instead of the present.  I made bogey after bogey after bogey and ended up in fourth place.  I was absolutely devastated for a very long time.  I could not sleep for days after the tournament because I kept thinking “what if I had made that three-footer?” or “what if I just got a par on that hole?”

Truth is, you are going to be upset after something like that happens, but dwelling on it will not do you any good.  Now I just tell myself that I have been in that position before, which I should be very proud of, and now I know how to handle myself when it happens again.

Just like in life, it is so important to stay in the moment and to learn from your mistakes.  Don’t think about messing up on the next hole or turning in your scorecard at the end of a round.  Focus all of your mind and energy on the one shot that you are about to hit and nothing else; no thoughts about the last hole and no thoughts about the end of the round.

Trust me, I am aware that it is a lot easier said than done, but by putting yourself in those positions over and over again and by practicing pressure situations, you will get the hang of staying in the present.  Therefore, you will know that you have played to the best of your abilities and you will give yourself a better chance to win.

Please leave any questions or comments that you have below and feel free to share!

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