Blog: December 2012
I just got back from Miami, Fla., where I participated in the Swingtime 4th Annual Corporate Golf Challenge, which was held at the beautiful Doral Resort. It was one of the BEST experiences of my life, in which I was able to play three awesome golf courses with the event concluding on the famous Blue Monster. I also got a chance to meet some new people. I even got a couple workouts in with my trainer, the great Trevor Anderson. I had so much fun that after five days in Miami, I was pretty worn out.
but I thought that it was still challenging, because of the strong winds and the hidden hazards waiting for an errant shot.
As we were warming up on the range, Trevor Anderson (photo left), my trainer, immediately got into my face and started talking about how he was going to kick my butt! Naturally, that got my juices flowing because there’s just NO WAY I was going to let him “come into my office,” and show me how it’s done.
So, on the first hole I step up to the tee and just flushed a drive down the middle about 300 yards, hit a baby fade with the 2 iron to about 15 feet for eagle, and two putted for a birdie. How did Trevor do on the first hole? Well, let’s just say that after the first hole, that was the end of the smack talking.
The tournament officially started on the White Course and the weather was completely different from the previous day. The first foursome teed off at 8:00 a.m. and as I was walking to breakfast, around 6:30am, it was already raining. The sun was nowhere to be found. I had my rain suit on as I was warming up — even though it was almost 70 degrees, because the rain was coming sideways. It wasn’t a long warm-up because, I wanted to stay as dry as possible, so I got into the cart and took a look at the scorecard to see how long the course was playing.
The White plays to a little over 7,100 yards and with the rain and the strong winds; I thought I’d be lucky enough to break 80. That feeling manifested itself as I stepped onto the first tee. Greeting me was a strong breeze blowing right into my face and nothing but trees and sandy dunes on both sides. “Great,” I thought. But a couple good shots got me off to a good start and I ended up shooting 72.
The second round of the tournament was played again on the White Course and the weather was a little bit better. The sun was out and the wind was down some. I felt relaxed, as I teed off on the first hole, which is a par 5.
I tugged my 2nd shot slightly from 233 yards and it left me an almost impossible 3rd shot. I tried to bump the ball into the hill, have it bounce straight up in the air and land on the green, like a butterfly on sore legs. I selected a club that had way too much loft. I completely missed the hill and blew it over the other side of the green. I ended up making a par but that was a lot of work on the first hole than I wanted. The customary strong winds made an appearance on the 3rd hole which made things a LOT more challenging for the golfers. I struck the ball well the entire round but I couldn’t find any rhythm with the putter. I still managed to shoot 70.
The final round was played on the Blue Monster and it was the that round I had been looking forward to the entire week.The PGA Tour plays on the Blue every year, and it was going to be exciting to see it up close, and see what it takes to play against the best.
The course was in pristine condition. The fairways were nice and tight, the greens were fast and smooth. I got off to a good start, birdying the par 5 first hole but apparently that was just a false start. When I struggled on the next three holes to find my timing and rhythm, it became obvious that it was going to be a tough round. I hit a lot of wayward shots and I couldn’t judge my yardages. What made matters worse was my inability to make putts.
The Blue course is the type of course that requires precise shots and with the greens the way they were, you were going to make a lot of putts. Because nothing was going my way, I struggled to a 77. Because it was the Blue Monster and knowing the history and the people that have played on that course, it eased the frustration of the round. However, it was on this course that I hit the shot of the week for me. Number eight, which is a par five playing straightaway into a strong left to right wind with a huge pond right in the front of the green. I had pulled my drive a hair into the first cut and I had 233 yards to the pin.
There was a row of trees about 60 yards in front of me and the lie was average. I could lay up, have 100 yards in, and be done with it. But the way the round was going, I figured, “Why not take the risk?” I had to catch the ball on the button to clear the row of trees, have enough height on it to carry the water and put enough draw spin on the ball to hold the wind so the wind doesn’t push my ball too far right into the water. That was exactly what I did and I was rewarded with a 10 foot putt for eagle. I was on the top of the world, smiles all over the place and yapping to anyone who could hear. Five minutes later, I sulked to the 9th tee. I had missed the putt. Such is golf.
I was able to have a couple sessions with my trainer, Trevor Anderson, who also participated in the tournament. The first session was in an aerobic room and he showed me and the other Adopt-A-Golfer players different exercises that strengthen the legs, as well as work on the flexibility of the hips. Now, I can put in 30 minutes on the Elliptical machine without much fuss, but the few exercises that Trevor had us do had me sweating as profusely as a guilty suspect would be while taking the polygraph.
The second session with Trevor was outside near the putting green and it dealt with warming up your body before a round of golf. Again, within 5 minutes I was sweating. The sessions taught me that there are muscles and movements that I have not used, or wasn’t used to performing. They also taught me the importance of training and developing the movements of those muscles to make my golf swing more efficient. It was truly amazing and I can’t wait to get fully into it.
What was equally as important as the golf during the week was the dinners we had at Chef Sammy’s Italian Restaurant. There, each evening the Swingtime staff and the competitors came together to enjoy the food, music and company. As many of you who follow me may already know, I have been deaf since I was a baby, but what I witnessed in that dinner room is something I will never forget.
Everyone came together and became closer, as each and every one of us shared personal testimonies about how they met each other, and what people meant to him or her. It was in that room that friendships were solidified and became cemented forever.
I was very moved when I heard all the stories. My parents (father, Percy and mom, Jackie) were there to help interpret what was being said in the room.
The stories inspired me because, there were a lot of people there that really wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, and I felt truly blessed to be a part of such a dynamic group. I learned something valuable during those times. Alan Duval, CEO of Swingtime Golf USA, likes to say that, “If one can do i,t then imagine what every ONE can do.” I learned that it’s not the power of one; it’s the power of many. When a group of people like this come together to make a difference, the potential is unlimited.
As you can see, it was a very magical week for me; from the golf courses, to learning a lot from Trevor, to the stirring emotions at the dinners, to meeting and making new friends. I’m already looking forward to the next event.
Until then, hit them long and straight!
View Swingtime’s 4th Annual Corporate Golf Challenge VIDEO!