A week to remember, and forget
By Jordan Holley
Special to GolfWRX
Jordan Holley, 28, is a mini-tour player pursuing his dream of earning a PGA Tour card. He graduated from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., where he was an NCAA All-American and a member of the Cleveland Golf Academic All-American First Team. He qualified for the U.S. Amateur in 2008, and since turning professional has played on the NGA Hooters and eGolf tours, as well as other minor league tours.
Well, I’m back again and this week — no lessons, definitely no negatives, only a somewhat lengthy story. Have you ever just wanted to get away from all the hustle and get yourself a “little lost”? I know it may rub some the wrong way when a guy doing what I’m doing complains of the stresses of his job. By no means am I trying to sound like I’m complaining, but when you have put 4500 miles in, most behind the wheel in just less than a month, it can be both physically and mentally taxing. I was ready for a break.
I’ll give a quick rundown of my travels since mid-May. I drove from North Carolina to Florida to tie up a few loose ends and play the Golfslinger’s Minor League Tour Mid-Season Major at PGA National in West Palm Beach, Fla. After a good finish (see “Perfecting the Process“) I moved myself out of the apartment I had leased for the winter and packed up to head back to North Carolina.
My trip didn’t get started until later than expected and included a stop at TaylorMade’s “The Kingdom” at Reynolds Plantation near Greensboro, Ga. What a treat it was. I learned a ton and got fitted for a bunch of clubs I couldn’t afford (yet) and hit the road again. My fitting showed my clubhead speed just south of 120 mph and a ball speed of 165-170. After putting the RBZ Tour TP driver in my hands, I picked up almost 15 mph of ball speed and an overall gain of 30+ yards!! The fitting ended around 5 p.m. and I had a flight out of Charlotte at 6:40 a.m. the next morning. After the five hour drive up, I crashed and barely woke up in time to make the flight!
I arrived in Denver the next morning ready to see some friends, spend time with my mom and make some cash. After a few days of practice, a good friend and I Andy Connell, also a Piretti Golf rep, packed up and headed for the mountains. We took clothes for golf but also waders, boots, sunscreen and a sense of adventure, which seemed to fit a little better. I won’t fib here and say I am an avid fly fisherman yet, but after my first try last year I am learning and can honestly say I enjoy the hunt as much as the catch, which is spoken like a guy that hasn’t caught many. I have grown up fishing in all other fashions, but something about the cat and mouse chase is almost spiritual.
We eventually met up with some other guys and fished our way down to Farmington, N.M. We hit the Arkansas, Animas and San Juan Rivers on the way down but by the time we finally got there we were ready to get the clubs back in our hands!
My host family for the week, Beverly and Larry Starkey, are two of the sweetest and most fun people I have had the pleasure of meeting on the road. We have stayed close since I played the 2011 San Juan Open and we had a blast this week as we were paired together for the Pro-Sponsor portion of the event. The format is two pro-am teams paired together with best ball the first two days followed by a third round combined score. Larry, a 20 handicap, and I got off to a rough start the first round playing in 100+ degree desert heat and knew we needed to make a move in the second round.
I fired a 66 in round 2 that started with me 2-over through the first five holes! The round got me right back into the mix heading into round 3. The following morning we had an early tee time and I felt good about the state of my game. I birdied the first hole out of the gate and played the next five holes even par. As I stepped to the seventh tee box, the longest par 4 on the course, I was in position to move into contention. I pulled my first tee ball a little left and was disgusted to hear it click off the cart path. My provisional headed down the right side and we headed to see where they ended up. I arrived at the first ball and found it less than a foot out of bounds. Crossing the fairway to find my provisional, I was informed it had hit a tree and was also out. I headed back to the tee obviously a little upset and I tried to regroup, but proceeded to hit another drive down the left side. It was on a similar line to my first ball and I reached for another just in case. At this point, I didn’t think I would ever get off the tee and felt alot more like Roy McAvoy, not Rory McIlroy. I finally hit the fairway and when I found my third tee ball sitting within a foot of my first ball and also out of bounds, I was staring my first double digit score as a professional right in the face. Playing my eighth shot, I hit a beautiful seven iron to twelve feet and drained the putt for a 9.
I couldn’t shake it before my next tee shot, missed the green left and made another bogey. I turned at 6-over for the day and well off the cut line. Long story not so short, I grinded my butt off, shot 32 on the back with a bogey, birdied my last three holes, including a 35 footer on the last, gave it the first 2012 fist pump and packed my bags after missing the cut by a shot. What a week!
As I was leaving town the next afternoon, I realized a few things:
#1 GOD is in control…not me
#2 I have never hit three balls out in one event, much less on one hole #weirdfact
#3 I was more proud of that finish than of anything I have done this year (my best season to date as a pro).
#4 Everyone at every level has bad days and it was my first MC in 9 events.
#5 Man, is this fun or what?
Until next time … I’m on to the next one.
You can follow Jordan on Twitter @J_Holley6under or on www.jordanholleygolf.com — You can also follow GolfWRX on Twitter @GolfWRX