Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"What the heck are 'Map Goals'?"

I've actually heard this question quite a bit. My "Map Goals" are an important piece of what has allowed me to be successful, so I think they deserve some explanation. The whole idea behind the term is an analogy. I believe in goal setting, but I don't believe that simply writing down some outcomes that I would like to achieve is really all that valuable. The important part is having a plan to reach those outcomes. So here's the analogy. My Outcome Goals are the destinations to which I am planning to get, and my Map Goals are the set of turn-by-turn directions I am going to follow to get me there. I understand that this is a dated analogy seeing as GPS has eliminated the need for maps, but I find the analogy very meaningful. If I want to get from point A to points B, C, and D, I feel that having a good route mapped out makes way more sense than wondering arbitrarily.

That is where the name comes from. My "Map Goals" are my specific plan to help me reach the destinations for which I am striving. The destinations that I have in my sights for 2014 are:

1.) The Fed-Ex Cup Playoffs
2.) A spot inside the top 100 players in the Official World Golf Rankings
3.) Victory on the PGA Tour
4.) The season-ending Tour Championship

Following the path laid out in my Map Goals will give me the greatest chance to reach these destinations. My Map Goals are structured as a weekly schedule that holds me accountable for being prepared in all areas of my career. I have certain requirements and drills that I have to finish each week in order to say that I am following my Map completely. (To see my Map Goals, click the tab labeled "2014 Goals" at the top of the home page.) To be perfectly honest, I have done a lousy job of sticking to my plan so far this year, but spending the last 10+ days at home with great weather has been exactly what I needed. I completed all of my Map Goals last week for the first time in a while, and not surprisingly, it was my best feeling week of practice all year. I am going to get back to following my "Map", and I know that I will progress steadily towards the Outcome Goals I have set.

I hope this helps to make the term "Map Goals" a littler clearer. I guess it's a bit of a strained analogy, but I like it. Whatever you want to call them, I am going to do a better job of completing my Map Goals each week, and I bet that gets me back on track towards my Outcome Goals.

Right now I am home in beautiful (actually cold and rainy right now) East Tennessee. I am the seventh alternate into this week's PGA Tour event, the RBC Heritage. That stinks, but I am very motivated to make sure this is the last year for a long a time that I don't play at Harbour Town. I'm ready to get after my preparation, and then hit a stretch where I go play some great golf. I am in the field for next week's Tour event in New Orleans, and I will be ready for it.

Thank you for keeping up with me and for your unwavering support. Come back for a practice update soon--I actually feel some exciting stuff happening in my game and I'll share it in the coming days!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

11-Hour Days

It seems that everywhere I turn, someone is warning me not to "wear myself out." "It's a long year." "You need to take some time off." "You are going to 'burn out'." I hear all of that stuff a lot, and I do know that I certainly need to enjoy some time away from golf, but I don't think anyone understands how much I genuinely love to play and practice. I am home and have had some good weather, and I can't get enough.

I am going to get back into a practice routine like the one I have maintained for the last three years. For a variety of reasons (some legitimate and some inexcusable), I have struggled mightily to settle into a good practice routine this year on the PGA Tour. For the first time all year, I am going to enjoy two weeks with good weather home from competition, and I am using this time to re-establish my good habits and will really commit to taking this strong routine on the road with me.

The first thing I did to start this week was type up a new weekly fitness schedule that I can use to hold myself accountable for getting my workouts done. It is a very thorough yet extremely reasonable plan, and I know that following it will help me stay in great competitive shape. Here is what my fitness plan looks like:

Workout Schedule

Monday: Body Prep; Shoulder Series; Full-body Strength Training; 2 Sprint Sets

Tuesday: Body Prep; 1 Sprint Set

Wednesday: 30-minute Jog; 1 Sprint Set; Plank Series; Core Stability/Mobility Workout

Thursday/Friday: (early tee time) Body Prep; Full-body Strength Training; 2 Sprint Sets

Thursday/Friday: (late tee time) Body Prep; Shoulder Series

Saturday: Body Prep; Core Stability/Mobility Workout; 2 Sprint Sets

*At least 50 push-ups per day Monday-Saturday
**Include a 20+ second backward run at the end of each sprint set

In addition to the new fitness schedule, I am really getting after the practice plan I have set in place with my Map Goals. I know that I talk about my Map Goals a lot, and I know that a lot of people think that's a funny name, so in the coming days, I'm going to write an entire post about why I have my Map Goals and what they are. For now, just know that I am following them and using them to get better in all areas of my game.

I love this time of year, and I love to work at my profession. I am feeling great, and can't wait to keep improving. Thank you for following along on this journey with me and for showing your unwavering support. Great things are coming!

By the way, it's baseball season, and this Scotty Cameron putter and Vokey wedge (both by Titleist) say it all:

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Time to Start Going Up

My life is absolutely great, and I have all of the things that are most important to me. From a golf perspective, however, I hit a record low spot on Thursday. I hate that golf has the power to affect my mood, and at times even my general outlook on life, but I have been letting it do just that lately. I know that my life is great and that I am a lucky guy regardless of what happens on the golf course, and applying that knowledge might just help me get the good vibes flowing on the links as well.

So the last few weeks have been ugly. I followed up a disappointing performance at the Web.com Tour event in Panama with an even more dis-heartening performance at the PGA Tour's Valero Texas Open in San Antonio. The TPC San Antonio is one of my favorite courses that I have played on Tour, but my ball-striking and putting were both pretty lousy during that tournament, and I missed the cut by five shots. I was actually fairly encouraged by my practice, however, and traveled to Houston with hopes of getting into the Shell Houston Open. I was the third alternate on Monday morning, and, despite having a fairly positive experience in the Monday Qualifier, I shot even par and didn't really come close to getting into the field that way. When I woke up Tuesday morning, I was the first alternate, and thought I might sneak into the field via my Tour status. I used Tuesday and Wednesday to prepare as if I was in the tournament, and my game felt great. Unfortunately, no one withdrew on Tuesday or Wednesday, so I would have to show up early at the course on Thursday and hope that someone was unable to play. I was at the golf course from 6:15 a.m. until after 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, but no one scratched, and I was left out of the field as the first alternate. That was when I hit my record low spot. I left the course thinking about all the implications of my poor play and feeling in general like a failure.

After an hour of letting myself mope, I started to realize that I am still in control of my golf career and more importantly, my outlook on life. It does stink that I haven't gotten in many events, but I will have my chances this year. If I take care of the things that I can control, which are my attitude and my preparation moving forward, I will be in great shape to achieve everything that I want to accomplish this year. I reached a low point on Thursday afternoon, but the way I see it, I have no where to go from there but UP!

And what is really great news is the fact that poor performances on the golf course don't change the things that are most important to me. My wife still loves me; my family still loves me; and I have great friends who support me and believe in me. Life is good, and I'm going to start acting like it.

Now, with all that said, I do have to get my golf game back on track because I absolutely love my job, and I'll only get to keep it if I get back to doing it well. I know what to do, though. I need to have a solid preparation plan and be committed to that. I already have a good model from which to work with my goals, but I am really going to get after my plan in the coming weeks.

It's hard to believe that I can go from a record low time in my golf to a time of complete excitement all in the same day, but I am now feeling as ready as ever to get to work! I have some lofty goals for this year and I can definitely still achieve each and every one of them. I'm pumped.

Thank you very much for following me and believing in me. Please keep it here for practice updates and a "what's next" report very soon.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Thoughts Coming Soon from San Antonio

I'm doing some good thinking (and some hard practicing) this week in San Antonio, Texas, as I prepare for the Valero Texas Open. There is a lot going on in my head and with my golf game, but I'll process it all and will provide some good analysis before Thursday's opening round. Sorry for the lack of information on here in the past several days. A good report is coming very soon and so is great stuff on the course. Thank you for following me, and please come back for much more soon!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Quick Post from the Mayhem

I'll write more tomorrow as I travel back to the States, but I just wanted to give a quick report from my short stay in Panama. My results were awful! I birdied the first hole of the tournament, and then was eight over par without a single birdie over the next 35 holes. Those are the facts, and they leave me with that terrible feeling of a weekend off from this tournament. I'm can honestly say, however, that I am thrilled with how this week has gone. I've had my very best practice of the year, and though the on-course results weren't even close to good, I feel great about my game. I'll give more analysis from this event and speak to what's coming next in a more-detailed post tomorrow, but for now just know that I'm feeling great despite the bum scores this week. Thank you for keeping up with me and for your support!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Panama Canal

I'm really pleased with the way things are feeling in my golf game. I still hit a few loose shots and wasn't nearly good enough with my putter in Thursday's opening round in Panama, but I am finally feeling like myself again mentally. I posted a first-round score of 72 (+2), but I'm too happy with the way my game and my practice are feeling to let that result get me down. Great things are coming very soon! 
The real highlight on Thursday was dinner at the Panama Canal. I didn't get to tour the museum because it closed before I got there, but I watched ships pass through the Miraflores Locks, and it was really cool. Here are a couple pictures that show the change in water level and one picture of boats going opposite directions in the Canal. 

Thank you for following me. Keep it here for good reports from Panama the next few days. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Prepared in Panama

There is not a whole lot that I need to add to the title of this post. I have had two very thorough and productive days of work to get ready for the Web.com Tour event in Panama. I feel like I know the course well and that my game is in great shape for it. I still have a lot of work to do, but I feel prepared for this tournament. I get started at 7:55 Panama (Central) Time on Thursday morning. I plan to go visit the Panama Canal Thursday evening, so there is all sorts of exciting stuff going on here. Thank you for following me, and please come back for good reports from the golf course and maybe a cool picture or two from the Panama Canal!