Anyone that has been around tour golf understands the uniqueness of the challenges of Q Schools. The difficulties lie in the mindset of holding on. It’s easier to play good golf than to play golf that is just good enough. To my golfing followers out there, image playing the best round of golf you’ve ever played for 15 holes. You have 3 holes left and all you have to do is finish bogey-bogey-bogey to shoot the best score you’ve ever shot. Knowing the task ahead, you allow your body to increase with tension, you start making guided swings with the driver and you begin wishing 4 foot putts in the hole. Do you shoot your best score? Maybe but maybe not. The point is that that kind of golf is far different from the golf that you played for the first 15 holes. The first 15 holes you played golf worth playing, and the final 3 holes you played golf but was it golf that allowed you to hit your best shots? In the realm of tour golf, there is a fine line of players that finish top 10 and players that barely miss the cut. In tour golf, you can’t afford to play any holes the way you played the final 3 holes above. The lesson here….is you have to learn to get out of your own way and play the golf you’re capable of playing.
To start my journey of tour golf, I had to attend two of these Q Schools. The first Q School was for PGA Tour Latin America. I’m not sure that I have ever played a more solid 63 holes of golf (minus 1 double bogey due to a bad break I had but a handful of bogeys going into my final 9 holes). The final 9 holes, the tension rose and I started struggling with 4 footers. I missed 4 of those short putts on my final 9, these four shots was the difference between full status and conditional status (Full status means guaranteed starts and conditional status means nothing guaranteed). I learned three things during my time in Argentina. One my skills are further than I expected and that I can compete at this level, two I need to get better at blocking out interference from one golf shot to the next (i.e. attachment to the outcome of each shot), and three that food in Argentina is not like Mexican food. The second Q School was for the Mackenzie Tour (PGA Tour Canada). The event was played at TPC San Antonio which according to some tour players is one of the more difficult courses they play all year. The first day I opened with a score of 70 (-2), I don’t look at the leaderboard during the events but I would assume that I was in very good position. The thing about day one was that I shot that score even though I finished my first 9 holes with a double bogey and finished my final 9 with a bogey. In all honesty, I played with my C game that day but I executed that game beautifully. This is a round that taught me a lot, the most important lesson is that I can play any course with my C game and still shoot a good score (it’s all about management). The rest of the week was not a success. I finished with rounds of 76-78-74 to finish somewhere in the middle of the pack. This week was a bad outing but it was not a waste. I feel confident going forward that I have something a lot of players don’t have, I just have to become better at it!
All in all, the first 4 months have been a success. On the golf course, I have obtained status on a worldwide tour! Off the course, I have become mentally stronger in my practices and habits and physically stronger in the gym (more on that later). Going forward I will continue to work hard on my skills and continue working with my coach (Jeff Coston) on my mental approach to tournaments.
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