It is officially T-20 hours until I will depart for Florida and the last two events of the season! Where has the summer gone!? These next two weeks in Florida are a lot to look forward to, but I also had a lot going on in the past two weeks to reflect on.
First, I spent last week in Denver playing in the HealthOne Colorado Women’s Open. It was an up and down week, but it showed me where my weaknesses were at and reminded me that although it is fun to always play, I needed to put some more time into practicing the basics. When it came to some of the simplest chips and short putts, I was less than pleased with my performance. However, it was a good wake up call and it served as motivation for some long practice days when I got home.
As I explained in my last blog, the Colorado Women’s Open is played out as a pro-am. I was paired with amateur golfer Chris Welch for the three days and we were super happy to finish in 4th place. It is not real often that you meet someone and without a doubt know that they are a great person. After three days of getting to know Chris and his wife, Molly, I felt that they were just an awesome couple and couldn’t have been luckier to get to know them. I know some girls despise the idea of playing with an amateur partner for the entire tournament, but I found it to be a fun and welcomed distraction from the usual grind of a tour event. I hope next year Chris and I are vying for the title 🙂
On the strange side, I did encounter a ruling situation that was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. Just when you think you have been playing for 17 years and have probably seen it all, I was stuck with a rules official that could rival Cruella de Vil. What I thought should be a pretty simple cart path drop was soon escalated to the point where I eventually told the official he didn’t need to yell at me. I felt like I was on a an episode of Real Housewives. In the end, I don’t know why the official became so furious with me, and I hope he can learn to keep his emotions in check from now on. All I know is that I made the up and down for birdie, hands shaking with emotion, and would go on to finish 2 under the last seven holes. I easily could have let the situation unravel my entire round, but was pretty proud of myself for being able to take a couple deep breaths, forget the situation, and re-focus on the round. I think learning to take a bad situation and not let it destroy the round is definitely key in getting to the next level.
After returning home I spent a couple of days in Sioux Falls sharpening up the parts of my game that let me down in Colorado, and then headed to the Prairie Club for a couple of days of pure golf. I went with my coach, Todd, and his two friends, Tyler Prins and Joe Barton. The Prairie Club is located near Valentine, Nebraska and has been open for only a few years. It has two courses, The Dunes and The Pines, and both have been the recipient of several awards in the past few years. I would say my favorite course was the Dunes course for a couple reasons. First, I enjoy playing true links style courses. They are so different from what we are all used to playing. Second, the greens on the Dunes course were a little more forgiving. I found myself in some places on the greens on the Pines course where I felt a fist pump after a three putt was justified. Perhaps I need to work on my iron play. Nonetheless, there is really nothing negative that can be said about anything at the Prairie Club. If you have two days and three friends, make the drive to Nebraska and enjoy the Prairie Club experience. You will not regret it. I think we are pretty lucky to have such a world class golf destination so close to home. A big thanks to Todd, Joe, and Tyler for letting me tag along, and a fair warning that I will be raising my handicap for next time. After coming in almost last in both games we played I’ve decided I need some strokes.
Besides playing the two courses, some of the most fun we had was playing the “Horse Course.” More courses should invest in making a par-three only type practice facility. Also, when playing The Pines course, be sure to take an old ball and a driver down the path behind 16 green. You will come to an area at the edge of a cliff where the goal is to tee off and try to land your ball in the river. We were 0-6 on the day, but I’m practicing for next time ;). (I will try and get the video of my attempt up on the blog). These little things are often what can make a course and a trip so memorable. Well done, Prairie Club, I look forward to coming back.
All in all, it has been a fun, busy, and productive four weeks here in South Dakota but it is time to get back to the Symetra Tour and secure my LPGA card! I’ve been waiting for this moment for awhile and it is time to enjoy the journey. My sister and I will leave bright and early in the Lincoln tomorrow and road trip our way to Kissimmee, Florida. I have forewarned her of all of the “car rules,” so I am hoping for a smooth trip. I control the radio, no “crumbly foods,” and no excessive stopping. Let’s hope Ashley can follow better than Mother Teresa.
Ashley will carry the bag for the first event in Kissimmee, and then Todd will come down for the final event in Daytona. My parents will fly down to watch the final event as well. Both tournaments can be followed online at the Symetra tour website.
Here we go!
Chris Welch and me at the Colorado Open. T-4 finish!
Prairie Club group: Todd Kolb, myself, Tyler Prins, Joe Barton
The Dunes (pictures don’t do it justice!)