So I’m back after a long break due to many circumstances that have kept me working toward playing better golf, however, I’ve hardly accomplished what I had hoped to over the past few years. This may seem out of sorts for me, and it has been very trying to figure out where the ship has gone off course. Sometimes in life you work hard to go nowhere on the outside, but gain great knowledge on the inside which makes the journey worth the effort. Having said this I’ll tell you a few lessons
that have served me well and bode well for my future games.
One of the nicest people that has become a true friend has been Mark Wiebe. No two people could be so different, however, we both have a love for the game that sparks our interest and our friendship. It is true, to have a friend you must be a friend, and Mark has been there for me to uplift me at the right time during practice rounds giving me encouragement, and knowledge from his vast wisdom of performing through difficulty. We teamed up this year at the Savannah tournament, my first time qualifying, and I was playing very poorly. Mark was unfazed by my inability to get the job done and was truly helpful in my uncertainty to give me positive feedback about my ball flight, my swing, which has helped me even to this day. I’ve played with him periodically throughout the year and I’ve been so amazed at his ability to simplify his thoughts during play, and he has helped me get a handle on my jamming thoughts as I’m playing which leads to poor driving, which has been the case for me. Mark has driven the ball so straight and long for many years now that it’s inspiring to me to watch someone be so efficient in this area of his game. He told me this week at the Senior British Open how he hit the ball so well at the US Open that he really should have won the tournament by five shots. Mark isn’t one to brag or tell non-truths, but his wife and son were impressed. His son Gunner told Mark when he got home that he was so proud of him to have ranked 52 in putting for the week, birding the seventy first hole, and not getting frustrated, and finishing top 10 that it was a great achievement under those circumstances. What really makes me want to be around Mark is that he told me when his son mentioned this he broke down and cried. He was totally exhausted after keeping his head about him that week. So congratulations to Mark. Also, If you ever get a chance to watch him play you should make every effort because you will be inspired with his perseverance, simplicity of thought, and efficient of play, on some of the toughest courses we play.
Just this week, I played a practice round with Mark as he just got off the plane, went to the tee and hit the ball so beautifully I was astonished. He was hitting every fairway and I couldn’t hit a one. Quite a contrast. He said he was very good at math and he sees my poor play as a good problem to solve. He has mentioned that I rock off the ball, which I know, but sometimes I’ll get back to the left side, then other swings I stay back and hit it left. This past week I was starting to pull things together when Mark saw that my ball position was too far forward, and that it might be just enough to throw me off. I moved it back to about 4 inches inside my left heal and sure enough I shot 69 the first day and drove my ball better than I have in a couple of years. I’ve gone back to my strong grip because I can rotate the clubface in time to play consistently. A strong grip with my left had turned right and my left thumb at 2 o clock on the grip allows my turn to square the club not my hands. I’m seeing signs of getting my old form back. I played better this week than I have in a while especially under very tough conditions. Friday I caught the worst weather of the week and took and 8 on a par 4 which threw me out, however, that was the only drive that I would call poor. The fifth hole is high up exposed to the wind and I couldn’t turn the ball left with a 40 mph wind that took my ball into an area that I couldn’t get out of. I was trying to hit it 20 yards and went under the ball twice and moved it two feet on my third and still had 230 to the green, which was too difficult to go for. So things happen, however, I still had fight left in me because I knew that I was playing well. So I’ve never played so poorly score wise but mentally I was in the game. I think this is the best improvement that I’ve made in a long time. Hope goes a long way in producing great scores, and I’m glad that I can see light at the end of the tunnel.
This week we’ll be in Minneapolis for the 3M Championship, which is a lot of fun to play because the tournament has a lot of events and parties for us to enjoy. Hollis Cavner runs this event; fortunately he is the same person that will run our tournament in Chicago next summer at North Shore Country Club. You’ll see a great event in Chicago, so I’ll keep you posted as to how it’s coming along.
I hope to keep up a little better with my blogs over the next few weeks, so thanks for your kindness in keeping up with me and all the best for a great week. Sincerely, Chip