Sharp: Golf can be extremely frustrating

Alena Sharp of Hamilton, Ont., acknowledges that "golf can be an extremely frustrating game" yet following a week in which everything went wrong, she enters the first major with her confidence restored.

Golf can be an extremely frustrating game. Everything that could have went wrong for me last week at the Kia Classic, did.

My putting was atrocious, to say the least. I hit the ball fairly well, but wasn't comfortable at all on the course. This was the first year for us to play at Industry Hills — and I am hoping the last! The weather was cooler and, therefore, the ball wasn't flying as far as it usually does, which made for quite a challenging week.

It was tough to judge which club to hit into very soft greens. The front nine was fairly tight off the tee and both nines had tricky, undulating and tiered greens. I had a hard time getting the speed of the greens and couldn't make a putt inside six feet — putts I usually make.  My confidence went out the window when I got on the green and it funneled down into some of my iron shots and chipping.

Double Whammy  

I guess it was just not my week this past week. After missing the cut, I drove home to Phoenix from Los Angeles to recover, recuperate and sleep in my own bed. I got to play in my championship hockey game on Sunday night. We were doing very well, dominating 3-0 in the first period but got our butts kicked in the second as our opponent scored five unanswered goals. We ended up losing 6-3 … so depressing. But it was fun to get out and skate one last time until the fall. Needless to say, I'm glad a new week has begun and I'm excited to play in our first major.

When you aren't putting well, you try to hit it close and that results in too much tension in your shoulders and arms, which affects your golf swing and your chipping. And then, of course, you don't hit it close and it just gets worse as the day goes on.

My focus was lacking as well, which led to sloppy iron shots into the greens. I was thinking too much instead of playing the game — too many mechanical thoughts — and a lot of doubt crept into my mind.

Golf is a funny game. The week before, in Phoenix, I was very confident and comfortable on the course. This past week, it was the exact opposite. I'm very guilty of being way too mechanical with my putter. Looking back, I wish I could go back and play the two days over. But that's golf.

So what do you do when you have a brutal week such as that one?

Well, there are two choices: A) you can feel sorry for yourself, continue to think about all the bad shots and putts and let it spiral into the next event or B) learn from it and move on. Forget about it and use the experience to make you stronger. 

Golf doesn't define me, its just what I do. So I'm choosing B. I have already moved on and worked hard on my game this past weekend to get ready for our first major of the season — the Kraft Nabisco. Moving forward, I have great memories on the Dinah Shore course and I'm looking forward to playing it.

I worked on the pace of my putting stroke this weekend. I was almost slowing down coming into the ball and that leads to steering. It's the exact opposite of what I normally do when I putt, so I worked on my tempo/pace of the actual putting stroke. I was finally getting the ball to the hole and most putts were going in.

I have my confidence back. Now I just need to get out and play and trust it.