Mark Teran has a story to share that many golfers need to hear, especially those who have thought about joining the professional ranks in their golden years. Learn more about Mark Teran and Piped Golf as well as his work with PGA senior players as a caddie and as a Monday qualifier. His personal story will make you want to root for him in his professional pursuits.
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In Round 1, Lydia Ko made her presence known and set the tone for much of the tournament, finishing atop of the leaderboard ahead by 1 stroke. Going into Round 2 with such a slight lead, Lydia Ko separated herself from the leaderboard pack with a 66 as other top players averaged higher scores. By the time Round 2 ended, Ko had a comfortable 5 shot lead.
But any of us who have played the game of golf know that means nothing when there is plenty more golf to play.
Things heated up when Leona Maguire shot a 63 in Round 3. Shooting a 70 in Round 3 didn’t help Ko’s quest for regaining a Rolex Player of the Year Award, but it was enough to keep her tied at the top of the leaderboard. Both players ended the round 5 strokes ahead of 2 players tied for third place on the leaderboard as well as 6 strokes ahead Brooke Henderson and Anna Nordqvist tied for fifth place.
Stellar play in that third round helped both Maguire and Henderson make their runs for the top of the leaderboard. Maguire shot a stunning 63 for the round to match her 66 and 66 for the first 2 rounds, while Henderson shot a solid 65 to make a strong push towards the top after sitting tied for 26th going into Saturday’s round. Nordqvist has remained in contention for a top 10 finish since Round 1.
What I Like So Far
You’ve most probably read my prior post on the stakes of higher prize money for this event. The possibility and prospect of bagging $2 million to wrap up the season is a great focal point for plenty of the top 60 LPGA golfers in the field. That’s a key factor in this final round for the CME Group Tour Championship. Throw in that Rolex Player of the Year Award and you’ve got you a battle going on for the final event of the season for the best of the best.
Lydia Ko is demonstrating steady play. Her 70 shot in the third round isn’t a sign of her losing it. She still remains poised and positioned to play for the title. Brooke Henderson did something amazing by climbing to the top 5 of the field from being 11 strokes behind Ko’s lead in Round 2. The type of play that we’re seeing from Maguire, Henderson, Ko, and even Nordqvist shows what happens when you put the top 60 players in the same field for the same top prize.
In my opinion, sports fans need truth serum every so often just to bring folks back to reality. Watching the season opener of the Lakers, I was disappointed. The shot selection was horrible. Every single NBA pro isn’t a 3-point shooter. Maybe that memo got missed. I can critique all that I want to and all day long. That doesn’t change the fact that they’re pros and I am nothing but a fan of both the sport and team.
I can Monday quarterback all that I want to in hindsight as I explain why the Raiders are losing the way that they keep losing and break down how it’s not all on Derek Carr until I am out breath and totally drained of ideas. That doesn’t change a single thing. That has me thinking I can do better. Or, better yet, it has fans like me basically saying that what the pros need to do is listen to me.
That’s not going to work.
What the current CME Group Tour Championship is doing sets a tone for pros and fans. We see the top 60 players entering a field that is wide open for a coveted prize. The best performers will rise to the top as their best remains on display before the world.
I’m a fan, not a pro. I am just trying to break 90 consistently. Heck, I’ll settle for the leisure time to be able to truly play consistently. I’ve got nothing of substance to offer Lydia Ko when she shoots a 70 in a round of tournament golf.
And where does that leave us as fans? We’re either watching our TVs or standing on this side of the ropes in admiration of what the players put out there.
Nelly Korda won the LPGA’s Pelican Women’s Championship in 2021 in a storied final round showdown in a playoff against Lexi Thompson, Lydia Ko and Kim Sei-young. With all 4 women knotted at 17 under, the playoff made for an eventful finish. It was essentially a memorable round of golf and a definitive standout as a hallmark of LPGA competitiveness taken totally down to the wire. Also, it gave plenty of fodder for this year’s event as Korda sought to “defend the crown.”
Golf has a way of showing us what’s possible. You can have a round where everything is clicking, and then boom it can all fall apart due to an errant drive off the tee or a missed putt to save par on the green. It doesn’t boil down to a science. It comes down to simply how the course is played on that day under those conditions in that moment.
The game of golf will reveal to you (and the rest of the world it seems) what you have in you and how well you handle any and every adversity thrown at you.
In 2021, it led to Nelly Korda capturing the title for the LPGA’s Pelican Women’s Championship.
Back Again with a Vengeance
This LPGA event in 2022 gave us plenty to consider as we watched on.
Korda returned to the event seeking to defend her title. Lexi Thompson came back with her sights set on redemption for 2021. With Brooke Henderson’s withdrawal from the tournament along with her other recent withdrawals at the Scottish Championship (July) and the Lotte Championship (April), the field at the Pelican Women’s Championship still offered some stiff competition.
Nelly Korda showed us that consistent play wins, especially when the pressure is turned up high. The buzz throughout the golf world and women’s golf focused on the rookie rally of Fassi and Corpuz taking early round leads. Much like Lexi Thompson, Korda just seemed to handle herself with a steady delivery of great rounds of golf each time out on the course.
There’s plenty of coverage of women’s golf these days. LPGA events like this tournament are broadcasted and streamed on TV and the Internet. People like Beth Ann Nichols of Golfweek provide solid reporting on women’s golf and share the stories of the high level of competition amid the ranks of these golf pros.
For someone like me, Nelly Korda shows us how to keep our head in the game. Korda gives us a sense of how to raise the level of play that we need to bring to the course. If I could master that type of consistency, then I imagine that I could see a difference in my scorecard repeatedly.
Congrats, Nelly Korda! And thanks for the motivation to level up my game’s consistency.
Currently ranked number 72, Fassi scored her lowest score of her career at an appropriate time. Only the top 60 players qualify for the CME Group Tour Championship. Fassi is on the hunt for her first LPGA victory. So, playing bogey-free golf is definitely one way to get there.
Something to See
I play a lot of golf with a woman who can keep up with and even outdrive quite a few men off the tee. She’s an avid golfer and plays some of her best golf when facing the chauvinistic assumptions of some golfers when we meet at the first hole to be paired up. She’ll play from the whites or even the black tees if need be. I play with her because playing with her makes my game better and motivates me to give it my best while we’re having fun.
Maria Fassi has a picturesque golf swing off the tee. The slow motion view of her technique is masterful. It is like a master class in motion. Her balance and torque combine along with fully-extended swing to bring about some big results.
Fassi’s drive averages just under 280 yards. Most weekend golfers would kill for that. I’d take a consistent 250 yards without any Advil, please.
Lydia Ko and Brooke Henderson are two of my favorite players to watch tackle a course. They play the course and the conditions, approaching key shots along the way with a form of confidence any golfer could respect and admire.
What Maria Fassi did with her 62 speaks volumes about what is possible for any duffer with determination. Take out the cameras and the gallery following along. Just focus on the gamesmanship, the style of play at hand. Shot selection and self-confidence are all mixed in with a rhythm that just seems to flow.
Have you ever had that round where everything seemed to just click rightly?
I’ve got way more that I could say about this round today.
I’m just going to go ahead and just leave this pic here for you to soak it in.
In summation, it was not my greatest outing and despite some good moments it just wasn’t happening for me today.
When the wheels came off, they broke the whole darn thing down to pretty much a crawl.
Not Ready Yet
Like many things in life, we’re not ready to talk about this one yet. I’m going to need a healthy does of time and space. I’d say at least 24 hours. I think I can regroup and break down where I broke down and need to fix some things.
In the meantime, check out the Instagram page of Piped Golf with Mark Teran. I did have the pleasure of playing a round with Mark and his brother as my cousin and I ventured out to Cottonwood Golf Club today. Mark’s got an extraordinary story to tell and I hope to give you more of his story in another format on another day.
I’m regrouping. I’m recharging. I’m hitting reset right here and it’s right up someone else’s alley. I’m going to have to make a fitness turnaround within this equation, though. That can cause more delays in fixing my game, but the benefits will outweigh those delayed opportunities.
For now, just know that I am not ready to talk about today’s round like folks watch Disney movies and agree to not talk about Bruno anymore.
Sometimes, you just want to getaway and go play golf. There are plenty of luxurious and relaxing stay-and-play golf offers out there.
People save up for golf stay-and-play packages that they want to experience for themselves. They plan for years. They budget their dollars and they save up as much as needed to getaway and play. Some even sacrifice coffee runs to Starbucks for the sake of getting away to go play golf.
My play has been anything but consistent. I can admit that.
I need to get more consistent with my play. I commit to that.
I want to be that consistent player who enjoys his play on the course and experiences something good on the scorecard.
Journeys Take Time
There’s a reason why the tagline for this site includes my journey to break 90.
It’s a journey and journeys take time.
You don’t just walk around the corner or down the block for 10 to 15 minutes and say it was a journey. No, journeys take some time.
Journeys take time for you to get the lessons that they offer. You might discover some things along the way, but you usually have most of the takeaways towards the end and after the journey has been completed.
Consistency Pays Off (in the Long Run)
Consistency has a payday.
The problem with that is that it usually takes time for it all to pay off. The payday for consistency is typically in the future. It usually pays off in the long run.
You don’t just show up and (POP or POOF) it all works out. That’s not realistic. It takes consistency. It takes time. Over time, it leads to a payoff.
Seeing Results on the Course
You’ll get the added benefit of seeing results emerge along the way. That’s the beauty of the journey. You can see where your consistency has led to game improvement and where your inconsistencies have led to repeated mistakes and errors in judgment.
Less time invested means you’ll see fewer results. Add another day on a short par 3 course. Put in an hour or so at the driving range. Place an emphasis on your short game. Whatever you do, add to it more consistently.
My time on the gold course has been a continual learning experience. I’ve come to enjoy the little lessons that have come my way by way of learning what works and what doesn’t work for my game.
What Doesn’t Work
It’s always obvious what doesn’t work. The problem is that it’s not always the same thing that doesn’t work. During some outings, I can swing my 7 wood, solidly smack a golf ball against the thin club face, and smash it like a laser unto the green from within 150 yards. Other times, I find myself struggling to get off the tee.
What Works (For Me)
I have learned to put into practice and play what works for me. I cannot speak for anyone else or substitute what works for them and drop that into my repertoire.
I got to go for what I know by applying what works for me.
That’s a struggle on the golf course at times when you have some golf buddies who always have a library catalog of golf tips and knowledge like the next Ty Webb with insights like “Be the ball.” You cannot make every swing adjustment that works for that other dude because he’s all of 5’6 and you’re over 6 feet tall. His swing is troubled by an outside to in swing path with a dip in the shoulders. You just have issues with your alignment at approach and keeping your head down through your swing with your hybrids and long irons. Almost anything he has to say to you is null and void for your game.
Play it smart: think through your next shot based on the conditions and the course
Play it safe: consider the obstacles or hazards in play as well as the course layout like doglegs or low-hanging tree branches near the fairway
Play it strategically: limit the recovery shots by playing the best option available and planning the follow-up shot after that
My goal is to improve my scorecard results. I want to land somewhere between 85-88 on a consistent basis, approximately 75% of the time. I want to feel confident when I go out to play that I will enjoy myself as I fish a birdie out of hole on a par 3 every now and then. That’s what I want and where I am headed.
Most folks who know me know that I am not a big fan of par 3 holes. That being said, I have also challenged myself a few times here and there to play an entire par 3 course. It might sound contradictory, but you really have to follow the logic on this.
My last golf outing that I posted about a few weeks ago felt like a true dusting, not even the type of play that I would call a comeback from a long lay off. It did prompt me to sure up certain parts of my game which had shown some rust and lackluster maintenance. It got me rethinking about consistency across the board and how much more consistency I needed with some fundamentals like alignment and approach.
I felt like a par 3 course like Singing Hills Pine Glen was just what I needed to get me back on track.
Swinging and Switching Up at Singing Hills Pine Glen
Nestled at the foot of East County foothills of San Diego just a short drive from the Sycuan Casino and Resort, Singing Hills is a golfer’s paradise in Southern California. As opposed to its 2 other 18-hole courses, Oak Glen and Willow Glen, Pine Glen is an 18-hole par 3 course that covers a lot of ground at just over 2,500 yards. This course has a total scorecard of 54, but it offers some challenges to make you knuckle down and choke up to keep your shots on target.
You get the point. I was all in my head the front 9. I shot a 39 and paced myself for another disastrous round, but I was angling in the right direction. My swift swing found the sweet spot on that 7 iron a few times and I felt confident. My main issue was that chipping from greenside or even the fringe left me putting for par or worse. I was not giving myself many birdie opportunities.
So, you see the scorecard. You see those 4 GIRs that rarely ever show up on my pics of scorecards. What that really means is that I had some changes that I had to make and I made them going into the back 9. On the 9th hole I had come up short on the left side of the green after a rocket of a shot with a 6 iron dropped in thick grass. The greenside short shot I tried to tap for a little roll caught too much speed and left me with a long putt for par. Then, after putting it past the hole, it took me 2 more putts to close out the hole. That hole got me psyched on how to conquer future holes, though.
I switched up my swing and alignment to get myself swinging on target again. This is one that you don’t get to on the range much because everything is static and nothing changes up much. That’s why I consider some rounds like this as my best practice rather than swinging away on the range with some soggy mat of artificial turf.
As you can see, I started getting my shots on target and putting myself in position to putt for birdie. That’s your best option if you are going to lower your scores, get in a position where you are putting for birdie or better. Putting to save par is too much work when you’re over 20 feet out and you’ve got bad read on the line. If you are putting for birdie, you can simply putt to the hole and follow that up with a putt in the hole for par. Improving my alignment got me on target with some greens in regulation and a handful of par holes to save my hide. The remainder of the holes on the back 9 were bogeys, but I have to admit that some of those were just errors in my putt reads or short game shots that didn’t pan out as I had planned.
Lesson Learned: Switch Up Where and When You Need To
My game is a testimony to trial and error. It speaks volumes about how much time I spend wondering if I am implementing the right techniques rather than testing out what I am doing and making adjustments from there. I need to trust myself more and make slight adjustments where and when I can in play. My cousin was a wild driver off the tee, ending up in the most peculiar circumstances for an approach shot, but I would always be amazed with his recovery shots that got him in a great position for birdie or par in a lot of circumstances. I don’t want the wild shots off the tee that force me to make amazing recovery shots. I want that consistent play that allows me to evaluate my circumstances at the moment and make a judgment call to switch things up here and there to improve my play.