After a short 5 day trip to the Bahamas and my first PGA show this week, I finally have some time to sit down and reflect on my first LPGA Monday qualifier. It wasn’t as successful as I hoped it would be, but that doesn’t make it a complete failure! It feels great to have that first Monday qualifier under my belt and I have three different “take aways” from the week.
1. I made six birdies. My first time playing on an LPGA course in LPGA conditions and I proved to myself that I can score. It wasn’t too long, to fast, or to tough. If nothing else, I gained some confidence that I can play in the LPGA arena.
2. You can never have too many shots in your bag. On the very first hole, my approach came up about 5 yards short. I proceeded to take out my wedge and thought I would convert an easy up and down. However, the bermuda grass was shaved so closely around the greens and with my shot facing into the grain I completely chunked it. Great start, Kim. I would make a six footer to save bogey. Ironically, on my very last hole of the day, another seemingly straight forward chip shot would suffer the same fate. Yep, chunked it. Thankfully, an empty grandstand was really the only witness. Lesson learned? Next time I will spend much more time experimenting with different shots on those tight bermuda lies around the greens. My playing partner on the day demonstrated a couple times how easily the hybrid can work in those situations. Although frustrating to see those two shots wasted, its only a failure if I’m not aware of what went wrong and don’t come up with a plan to change it. Insanity really is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
3. Finally, I need to learn to finish. As I already mentioned, I made 6 birdies on the day. In fact, I was 4 under with two holes to go. While hindsight is 20/20 and its easy to look back and think how easy it should have been to make two simple pars, I can promise you it is a whole lot different standing on the par 3 17th with a 5 iron in your hand and a 15 m.p.h. wind blowing left to right thinking you are two holes away from playing your first LPGA event. However, I know that as professional athletes we are often in these situations and only if I am aware of what happened, admit that it happened, and remember how it felt do I have a chance of changing it for the next time. It takes a lot of failed attempts before it finally sinks in that being nervous, fearful, etc. will NEVER help. I can tell you I have never won a tournament and thought,”I think I won because I was super nervous.” No, you win tournaments and finish good rounds when thoughts of the outcome, score, or bad shots are nowhere on your mind; often referred to as “in the zone.” I wasn’t in the zone this week, I was close, but not quite.
On a lighter note, I was lucky to spend a little time in the atmosphere of the LPGA. Everyone stayed at the Atlantis resort this week, and although it was super nice, it was super expensive. I’m fairly certain there was a charge for breathing. Before I booked my trip I knew that I wouldn’t go if I had to pay for my own room. Therefore, I split a room with a girl, and her mom, that I knew but had never really met. It is often surprising the things we all do to save some travel expense. It may also be surprising that nine times out of ten, it turns out really good. We had a great time. I felt really lucky that by some sort of fate we ended up rooming together and after 4 days of work and 1 day of vacation I ended up with a new, really good friend.
Last but not least, I experienced my first PGA Show in Orlando at the end of the week. If you don’t know what the PGA Show is, it’s held at the second largest convention center in the nation, Orange County Convention Center, with over 2,000,000 square feet of exhibit space. (Yep, Googled it.) In other words, it is MASSIVE. Every vendor in golf is present from Callaway to the guys that invented the “golf bike.” Don’t ask. It is primarily a way for people in the golf industry to buy merchandise and see what new products will be coming to the market. However, it is also a great way to meet people and network. The bright side of missing the Monday qualifier by a shot is that I was able to come back to the show and see my coach, my agent, and even play some golf with a sponsor. This was the definition of a busy and productive week.
Looking forward to a couple normal weeks of practice and a Sun Coast event next week. As always, I’ll keep ya’ll posted.
I know I have a palm tree coming out of my head, but this was the BEST view on the course.
If you have an extra bazillion dollars lying around you can buy a yacht and park it at Marina Village at the Atlantis resort. I literally could have spent hours staring at these things. I’m clearly from the midwest!
Vendor in Nassau at the straw market. Good to go and see the “real” Bahamas.
A little beach time on Tuesday.
PGA Show in Orlando.