Raceway Golf Club had its 36 hole stroke play Club Championship tournament this past Saturday and Sunday where some great golf was played. There were 62 players in total spread across different divisions. The winner of the Women’s division was Kris Henderson shooting 86-81 for 167. Kim Hill was runner up shooting 88-90 for 178. 3rd Flight winner was Nick Popiak with a 107-96 for 203 and behind him Wayne Rivet with a 103-103 for a 206. 2nd Flight leaders showed some consistent golf, in 1st Mr. Cool Chad Ford with a solid 86-85 for 171. Runner up in this division was Justin Barrett with a 87-86 for 173. 1st Flight winner goes to Jimmy “The Raceway Hero” Waterman with a super 2nd round 85-77 for 162 and only one shot behind him was Jeff Bullens shooting a 79-84 for 163. Lastly, another close one, the winner of the Championship Division goes to a new Tri-State Member Craig Barrett with a great showing of 70-75 for 145 and runner up goes to me, Mike “You should make more birdie putts coming down the stretch on Sunday” Jezierski. With 73-73 for a 146.
There was also a skins pool with a mighty $675 pot. 3 skins were out for the weekend going to Craig Cyr with an eagle on 6, Jim Dinoia with a birdie on 14, and Rob Hoekstra with a birdie on 16.
Hard. Very Hard. Thanks to Dave, Don, and Nick there were some pin placements that were border line illegal and add a double cut and roll to the greens made it challenging to say the least! Get above some of these holes and you were hoping to make the 10 footer coming back up the hill. The tees like always are tipped out pretty good for the blues and a little farther back for the whites. For example, hole 5 on Saturday played almost 600 yards and hole 14 on Sunday played just shy of 250. The setup was a challenge, but everyone played the same course which makes you focus a little harder.
Unlike normal everyday course setup, you can’t attack every pin. You also need to think off the tee where to position your drive to give you the best angle going at the green, then think about where to hit your approach shot based on the pin placement. The 2nd hole on Saturday was all the way in the front, so it would be better to chip up at the hole instead of a 10 foot putt coming down the hill.
Anyone who has played in a serious player vs. player golf tournament knows that it is a totally different experience than going out on a weekend morning with your friends to hit it around. When each shot counts it really adds to the pressure and can mess with your game if you are not careful. There are things that I have learned throughout the years of playing in tournaments that have helped me during pressure and have made me a better player. The most important thing is mental concentration. Having a good mental game and focusing on the right things is crucial in golf and can make the difference between a 71 and a 77. Always focus on a target as specific as possible, for example, pick out a branch on a tree. Focus on the target and commit to it without any negative thoughts, only think about your ball going in the correct area. It sounds simple, but it takes a lot of discipline to be able to concentrate in this way swing after swing.
The next important thing is to believe that every shot or putt will go where you want it to go, but do not expect it to every time. Golf is not a game of the most perfect shots, but the least misses. You are never going to play a round where the golf ball follows your every command, so learning to deal with unfavorable outcomes is crucial. Commit to every shot with a specific target and focus on the process because that is what you can control, you cannot control the outcome and sometimes bad things will happen. If you try your best and hit every shot with the most concentration you can, you will never feel like you left something out there on the course. On Sunday I hit my tee shot out of bounds on hole 2 and made a triple bogey. I never made a mental mistake, just a bad swing at a bad time that cost me a few shots. I was upset, but determined to do my best to get it back and play the best golf I could. I played the final 16 holes at 2 under and missed on a lot of good birdie putts as well. Craig played really well and had a solid mental game too. There were many times on Sunday he saved par from tough positions and maintained his lead to win the tournament. Had he lost concentration or got discouraged from a bad shot, he may not have been able to keep his lead.
Golf is hard, but that’s why we love it. Enjoy the process and do the best you can because sometimes you will win and sometimes you won’t. Focus and commit to every shot and accept the outcomes. If you do this, you will see your game improve and have more fun!
Overall, it was a great weekend with a lot of good golf. Congratulations to all the winners!