First of all, I would like to take a moment to send my thoughts and prayers to all those affected by the tragedy that took place in Orlando early on Sunday morning. I know for a lot of us on the Symetra tour, this has hit relatively close to home. Orlando is a hub for a lot of professional golfers and it was a place I called home for a little while. It is in times like this that we must stand united, spread more love and less hate. Pray for Orlando.
After my top 10 finish in Albany, NY, I hopped in the car and drove as far as I could that day. I was trying to get to Indianapolis by 5pm on Monday night as I had a flight to Los Angeles. I managed to drive eight hours and then I had to stop. It was definitely tough after having been up since 5am and playing 18 holes, but I was riding on a high from my best finish of the year so far. I was flying to LA to work with my coach for a few days. Obviously it’s difficult for us to work together in person very often due to her being in California, but I will try and go as much as I can with the weeks off we have. I also had the opportunity to meet with my trainer while I was out there too. I was really excited to see both of them to see how much progress I had made in the last few months. I’ve worked really hard, both with my swing, and in the gym so I was desperate to see some evidence of that. One of the first things my coach says, after a few shots, was that my clubhead speed was up too 100mph+. I was shocked when she told me. It was between 93-95mph three months ago. My coach told me it would normally take 12 months to gain that much clubhead speed. This was not something I had focused on as I felt I hit it far enough, but a little extra distance was only going to be a good thing. This was a great start to the week. However, my driver had been so inconsistent the past few weeks that the extra clubhead was being wasted. My coach and I spent a lot of time last week working on my driver technique. For as long as I can remember, I have always liked to hit a fade, which means with the driver, I hit down on it. This is not ideal, as I will automatically lose distance. In order to start hitting up on the ball without changing my swing, we just changed my setup. She wanted my left hip higher, which in turn tilted my shoulders. We also changed the ball position in relation to the clubface. I was hitting a lot of shots on the heel so I moved further away from the ball to encourage me to make contact with the center of the club. This made a huge difference, and is now something I just need to get used to. This won’t take long with the amount of balls I hit on the range. I also wanted to work on my chipping while I was out there because that is a part of my game that has really been a struggle this season. Chipping used to be the best part of my game, so it was really starting to frustrate me that it has been so inconsistent. I just always felt uncomfortable. It took my coach about 5 minutes to fix it. Ball position was too far back which was making the strike on the ball inconsistent which would explain why my distance with chipping was so off. So that was easy. She also had a quick look at my putting and I just need to keep my head down longer through the stroke. I knew there wasn’t too much wrong with my putting stroke as I have really putted well this year, especially in the last couple of months. However, it is always nice to be reassured that it looks as good as it feels.
The rest of our time together was spent on the mental game. I have really had to work hard to get my mental game in check, as it has been all over the place the past couple of years. I’ve lacked a lot of focus and confidence, but according to my coach, I have made huge improvements since we started working together in September. It’s always exciting when I start to see my hard is work paying off.
I was also able to see progress with the workouts I had been doing. I am training with Andrea Doddato, who has worked with a large number of PGA and LPGA players. She definitely knows her stuff. It’s really quite impressive to see. I had always heard great things about her and now I get to experience it for myself. When I first met with her in March, through her testing, she was able to identify that my thoracic rotation and glute activation needed a lot of improvement. Two very crucial parts of the golf swing. The changes I’ve made in my swing have been made so much easier, and at a faster rate than normal, due to the work I’ve been putting in at the gym. Andrea tested me again and was able to see some improvements in both of those areas, so that confirmed what my coach had noticed. It is such a satisfying feeling to know hard work pays off and that both my coach and trainer can see the difference. Andrea gave me a whole new workout program to start working on, which has definitely been kicked up a notch. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on those in the coming weeks.
I also managed to have a lot of fun while I was out in the LA. My friend works in Sound Production and is working on the remake of “One Day At A Time’, at Sony Studios. She showed me all around the studios. I was able to see where Chelsea Handler was filming her new show. I absolutely love Cheslea, so that was a very exciting to see! Then I watched the filming of the show and was part of the studio audience. It was an amazing experience to see what goes on behind the scenes of just one episode of the show. We were watching for almost 4 hours! It was very interesting to see all the people involved and the amount of work that goes into these shows that only take 30 minutes to watch. Very eye opening.
I also had the opportunity to experience Korean BBQ with my friend Marina, who also plays on Symetra. This was my first time trying it and it was delicious. I was brought up to be very adventurous with food, so it was cool to experience a culture I had never had the opportunity to try before. It definitely helped having Marina ordering and explaining what everything was. I just ate whatever was put in front of me. Some of it I liked, and some not much! Tofu is not my thing so I avoided anything with that in it!
So all in all, my week off was great. A work hard, play hard, sort of week, which was different from my usual weeks off. I’m very thankful I have such a great team behind me, and wonderful friends in my life. I have a feeling these next few months are going to be great, both on and off the golf course so watch this space. :-D