I don’t know if you all feel this way, but I still really can’t believe that it’s 2013! Last year went by so fast and now it’s almost time for March Madness! We are off and running here in Lexington and we have already been to our first tournament of the year which was in Puerto Rico. It wasn’t a bad place to start the season as we had great temperatures and the ocean right outside our windows.
But before we talk about our Puerto Rico trip I thought I’d share a little bit about what we have been doing in town leading up to then. The team came back to campus during the second week of January and not long after that is when we headed to Tampa, FL, for a weekend of practice and a UK Alumni fundraiser. We went down there over the Martin Luther King holiday which gives us a three day weekend. Due to NCAA rules we cannot miss any classes for practice so it was nice to be able to get three days of playing time down in Florida before we headed back to Lexington. We play in the fundraiser on the Sunday of our trip and during the other two days we are able to practice in the mornings and play in the afternoons. On this trip we also had our first experience of team bowling. We divided the team into two teams of five and things became rather competitive so it was probably a good thing that both teams won once. I must say, this team is surprisingly great at bowling!
Once we got back from Tampa it was time to prepare for our tournament in Puerto Rico, which was hosted by Purdue. We were able to qualify and even though we had some tough conditions I was proud of the girls for how they handled themselves when things got tough. So, on Feb 7th we headed south to San Juan in Puerto Rico. We were able to leave a day early so we got a couple days of practice before the event which was very helpful to the girls. On the first day of practice we had a good practice session and then we played nine holes on the Ocean course at the Rio Mar Resort. Once we were done practing we took a trip up the mountain which was across the street from our hotel and headed to a waterfall. It was beautiful and the water was very cold, but despite that everyone got in and had a great time!
We got off to an ok start the first day, but halfway through the round we started to lose some steam. Fortunately the girls rallied and several of them made some strong birdies during their final holes. We had a good practice after the round and I felt like they were ready to make up some ground the next day. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. We got off to an ok start, but then we started to compound a lot of mistakes. We struggled throughout the day and it was becoming obvious that we were trying too hard to make good things happen instead of just trusting in our games and LETTING good things happen.
Once the round was over we talked with the team and it had become clear to me during the round that their expectations were just too high that day. So when things started to go wrong, they became tense and tried harder instead of being able to let their bad shots go and move on to the next shot; instead, they needed to stay patient, stay aggressive and continue to give themselves opportunities. As we talked about the round you could see their attitudes changing and as I told them that one round of golf does not define Kentucky Women’s Golf, it’s how we come back from a bad day of golf that defines us! So we went to practice and then to the ocean…not a bad way to end a day.
For our last round we tried to get more relaxed and the girls seemed more comfortable. They all got off to ok starts and we played with more trust and confidence on this day. They were better at letting the bad shots go and they continued to stay aggressive throughout their rounds. They paid attention to the small things and they stayed patient. This resulted in a better round and we had the seconod lowest team score that day. As a team we ended up in 8th place out of 15. It wasn’t our best tournament, but I believe that we learned a great deal. We have to continue to work on our mental toughness and we have to get better at letting great golf come to us. We cannot expect great golf to just happen, we have to put in the time, create opportunities, stay patient and know that every round will prepare us for when we are going to the National Championship in May!
So with that said, we are now back to working hard and working on getting mentally tougher. I am excited about the next few tournaments and I know that we will be ready to compete on March 15th!
Have a great weekend everyone and GO CATS!!