I am now all settled in the US and the jetlag is pretty much gone. I flew in Sunday night to Chicago where Ellinor picked me up. Lauren (Ellinor's friend with whoms family we stayed the first couple of days) had just arrived on another flight that same evening, so we timed each other pretty well. On Monday we played a great golf course, Makray Golf Club. It was a nearby course in excellent condition with speedy greens with lots of slopes and undulations. I actually did not play too bad, and finished -3 in my last 4 holes, still shooting 75. But I was happy with that in plenty of wind.
One of the pretty par 3 holes at Makray
Later that evening we went close to downtown Chicago where we met up with Lauren's boyfriend who I have met once together with Lauren when they visited Sweden a few years back. They are both really great people and it was nice to catch up over some greek food.
On Tuesday we steered Ellinor's Volvo toward Canadian Lakes in Michigan for the Symetra Tour event at Tullymore. It is a magnificent course with plenty of pretty holes. And the conditions are of course excellent. We spent three days preparing for the tournament, including 36 holes of play, plenty of time on the practice greens and some range. We also went to the gym for some workout on Wednesday. Yesterday we walked through some stores after an early day at the course, and we finished the day with a movie and lights out at 21.00.
Gorgeous view over the 18th hole at Tullymore
Today was the first tournament day, and it was an early one. Ellinor's tee time was at 7.52, the third group off. It was expected to rain pretty heavily today, but we did not see a single drop of water coming from the sky all day, not even later on during the day. This was a pleasant surprise, and the weather turned out to be very comfortable for golf. Ellinor started off the day with a birdie on the first hole. After making bogey on number two, she made a few really good up and downs in a row, before making two birdies in a row, making the 9-hole turn at -2. She played very solid on the back, but unfortunately the birdie putts didn't fall. A few shots that ended up on the wrong side of the hole led to a few bogeys on the back, and she finished the day at even par. My job today has been heavily focused on green reading, but I have also been helping out with and discussing club selections, targets, wind and so on. It was a fun day, and tomorrow we are off for another 18 holes at 12.42.
Ellinor is not the only one playing good golf though. My brother, Marcus, is playing the Swedish Junior Championship in strokeplay at Vallda, and he is tied for the lead at -2 going in to the third round. He has been playing great golf lately and has finished 2nd in two straight junior events. Will tomorrow be "tredje gången gillt" (translates to "third time's a charm)? I think it will!
Marcus at the Swedish Junior Championship
Last week I followed up my best tournament so far this year with a not so good tournament in Sala. I started off nicely on the first, lipping out my putt for birdie.On hole two I did something that I have never done in a tournament, at least not as I can remember it. I hit two balls out of bounds, and then made a double bogey on my third ball, leading to a score of 11 on that hole. I have never experienced a score like this on a single hole, and I didn't know how to react to it. I found it very hard to focus initially following the big number. After a while I got back into it a little bit and at least played decent golf. The first round I finished at 8 over par, so except for the 11, I was 2-over. The second round started off badly and I had multiple 3-putts, which I usually don't have more than 1 every two rounds. I was 6 over par through 7 holes, and desperate to find something that could make me hit better golf shots, I started loosening my grip pressure. I found that to be exactly what I needed to do and played the last 11 holes at 1 under par. So, even though the scores were far away from what I am looking for, at least I found something to work on, and it felt good being "brave" enough to dare to loosen my grip pressure that much during a tournament.
After the tournament I went down to our summer house in Mjölby with all my family except for Henric. My grandma and my friend Erik also joined us down there. It was a good few days with good food, fishing, playing games inside and outside, and a round of windy golf at Vesterby, a really nice course in my opinion! I would definitely recommend playing it. The loose grip pressure worked pretty well there too and I hit plenty of good shots.
On short notice I found a ticket to the US, and since I feel like I needed a change of scenery and really want to caddie in a Symetra Tour event for my fiancé Ellinor, I decided to go. So now I am back in the states, and I will stay for two weeks. This means I will not play Saltsjöbadskannan at Saltsjöbaden Golfklubb. I am looking much forward to caddying and seeing some great golf! Of course I brought my own clubs so that I can practice some as well.
And I am going to order a new set of irons. Hopefully they will be ready for me when I get back home to Sweden. I am finally getting a custom fitted set of irons with the right shaft for me!
I have not written here in a while now. In short, I have been a little down lately. The golf has been going bad, I have been injured a lot so I have not been able to practice the way I want, and I have identified myself completely as a golf player and nothing else. It's been this way for a while, and now it was just too much. After my last tournament at Torshälla I basically stopped practicing because my hip was hurting, and then I decided to accept a few days of job offerings at a kindergarden that I have worked at before, to get my mind on other things. Basically this meant that I did not practice much at all the past two weeks, but I have played a few rounds because that is the one thing I have still found some joy in.
So I worked Tuesday through Thursday and by Friday morning I had a fever and sinus infection. Saturday I was meant to play a practice round at Köpings Golfklubb because I had a tournament there yesterday (Sunday). I still had a small fever Saturday morning but decided to go anyway and just walk the course. My friend Fredrik Lindgren joined me since he was going to stay with me at my brother Rickard's place in Köping. So he played the course and I just walked it and hit some putts. In the afternoon I still had some fever but it was starting to feel better. Oh, and my wrist had started hurting too, so my preparations were just perfect for this tournament.
I woke up on Sunday, still with a sinus infection but no fever. I took a few alvedon (fever reducing medicine) that helped me through the day. And I couldn't have made it through the tournament without Rickard (who caddied the first round) and dad (who caddied the second) - it was a 36-hole one-day event. It was the best tournament I have played all year. I still hit a few shots that were really bad, but I hit plenty of good shots as well! I actually started off with two straight birdies. I then had a few bad holes and finished the first round at 73 (+3). The second round the wind really picked up and it was blowing hard. I started with a birdie second round too and I played very steady golf my first nine holes. I just had one crappy hole that led to a bogey. On the back I played pretty well too. Unfortunately I finished with a bad iron shot on the last hole and made a bogey to shoot 68. It wasn't the most difficult course I have played, but it was still a step in the right direction. My short game wasn't the best, which wasn't that big of a surprise maybe considering I haven't practiced much lately. However, my putting was as good as always. Didn't miss a putt inside six feet all day. I finished tied for 9th spot and I actually enjoyed playing golf yesterday. Mentally it was a lot better than recent rounds.
On Thursday I have one more 36-hole event, at Sala-Heby Golfklubb. I tee off at 7.00 in the morning. I'm still not feeling 100 percent healthy so today I have just rested and tomorrow I'm hoping to be well enough to go to a Titleist Demo Event. On Wednesday I will play a practice round in Sala, and Thursday is the tournament.
My first 36-hole tournament of the year was at Torshälla this past weekend. I worked hard to be competetive at this event, and initially I seemed to have succeeded. During the practice round I hit the best tee shots I had hit in a long time. I started off the event with four pars, then birdie on the fifth, followed by two more pars. I was at one under par teeing off at the par 3 8th hole. It is a very basic hole, which I somehow managed to double-bogey. I then followed that up by hitting out of bounds on the 9th and another double was in the scorecard. After my second double, it was as if I had no good shots left in the bag. I started hitting my tee shots very inconsistently and suddenly my irons were going right. I finished with a birdie on 18 to shoot a high 78. The second day was probably one of my most "self-interrupted" tournament rounds ever. By that I mean that my mind was running at 100% all the time, and not in a good way. This I know now, after analyzing the tournament, comes from me having a basic thought in my swing that should prevent my back from starting to hurt, and then basing everything on that position and movement. This made me very stiff, and I had huge problems letting myself trust the body to just perform in the way that I know it's capable of. The result of all this was that the second round became a round where I felt like I was just never playing golf. Even so, I had awesome caddies both days trying to help me turn things around. My brother Rickard caddied the first day, and Marcus the second day. Thank you guys, and the rest of my family for coming out to watch.
Today I played an early practice round for my club team's national division tournament at Djursholm Golf Club. It was like day and night compared to yesterday, which just shows that it's not about the technique that I possess, but rather how I allow myself to trust my body to do what it knows how to do, or if I decide to interfere by thinking and steering the ball in unnatural ways. It's getting clearer to me where I need to spend my time when playing golf, and that is out on the course. It is a lot more fun to play on the course, and it is the shots out there, where you get one chance, that I need to work on right now. I still need to make sure that I don't drift too far away in my technique which could bother my hip. But it's on the course I need to be.
Also, I have to congratulate my fiancé, Ellinor Haag, who played her first ever Symetra Tour event this weekend in Albany, New York. She made the cut in her very first start, and she is in the field for next week's event in Indiana. I am so proud of her and after all the hard work she has put in, she really deserves this opportunity. And I know she enjoyed having our awesome friends John and Jeff up there watching all three days. They are, simply put, awesome!
For anyone who is interested in meeting both me and my superstar fiancé, a spot in hour sponsor tournament on August 10th is definitely for you. You can read more about this under the "Sponsor" tab on this website.
My next tournament will be Oakley Tour in Köping, a 36-hole event on June 18th. I am looking forward to it, and I am also looking forward to work on the things I need to work on to find my game again. Until next time!
After missing out on one of the three spots to Nordea Masters by a pretty wide margin, I have now decided to be more strict with my planning. I will have a test period of a few weeks where I will plan certain things to do each day throughout the week in a more exact manor than I have been previously. This is what I used to do while I was still in school and in college, and after that I have tried to loosen it up a little bit. Now I am trying to steer it back to see if that might bring me to where I want to be.
Since last time I wrote I have worked hard on my swing. It is working well with most clubs right now, I just need to become a little straighter and more consistant off the tee, that is where I am losing the most strokes. I have also been working out a lot, both at the gym and running. I haven't been running a lot the last year because most of the times I have been running, my pelvis have started hurting. Now I have decided to give it a try again, and so far it feels good.
Two other things have happened during the past week. First we had our annual family golf outing. This year it was me and my brothers organizing the whole event. It turned out to be a big success with golf, barbeque and a few games in the yard. My brother, Henric, ended up winning it, again scoring a lot better than his handicap.
The other thing we did was putting my grandpas urn in the ground. He finally has his own spot to rest at the graveyard. He got a beautiful spot in the sun, right next to a big tree. Most of us were there to witness the ceremony, and it was pretty. It was a little sad, but at the same time it feels good that he has finally found a place to rest. His grave stone was very pretty. Now I can finally say, Rest In Peace Grandpa!
You have taught me a lot during your eventful life. Now it is up to me to make the most out of it and eventually pass it on. You are very loved and I miss you, as I know many others do as well. Always remembered, never forgotten.
My next tournament is June 3rd-4th at Torshälla. Until then I will continue working on my game and physicals. I am not where I want to be right now with my game, but I know I can get there, it's just a matter of doing what has to be done. YCDBSOYA ("You Can't Do Business Sitting On Your Ass", a saying my grandpa held true)
Also I want to congratulate my fiancé who first of all made the cut this weekend down in Malmö. She is playing the last day tomorrow. Secondly, she is in the field for her first start at the Symetra Tour in Albany, New York. That tournament starts on June 2nd. If you want to follow her and check her journey out, take a look at her website: ellinorhaag.com.
My awesome fiancé
I did not reach my highest level of play in the US Open Qualifier last Monday. I hit my irons okay, and my putting was outstanding. Unfortunately, I was quite a bit off from the tee box. Even though I hung in there thanks to amazing putting, I just could not shoot a low score from where I was after the tee shots. I ended up shooting a 77, but at least I finished on a good note with birdie, after hitting a seven-iron to half a meter. Ellinor caddied for me, and mine and Ellinor's amazing American family where out watching me. On the way back Ellinor made me feel better, stating that the only thing really missing were the tee shots. Prior to her saying that, I had felt quite overwhelmed by my poor performance, and I did not know what to think about it. She gave me some perspective, and it seemed my other three supporters agreed with her statement.
The following day I left the US. My final day in Florida contained going to car shops with Ellinor since the newly bought Ford was acting up again, lighting up some disco lights on the dashboard. I won't go over all details regarding the car, but long story short, the dealer we bought the car from played us and sold us a car that he had probably found in a junk yard, changed the odometer on, and glued together with Walmart super glue. Anyway, except for the car, the adventure in Florida has been a very good one. I have to thank Marcie and John who have taken care of us when we have had trouble taking care of ourselves. Jeff and Dottie, their neighbors, have also been amazing and I am glad to have met so many new great friends during our trip. We have met plenty of amazing people there, and we are very fortunate.
Now I am once agin home in cold Sweden. I met with my swing coach yesterday, and we got some things squared away in my swing and we had a good talk. Today me and my mother drove down to Barsebäck to prepare for the Nordea Masters qualifier on Monday, in which she will caddie for me. With me I bring a newly found confidence, and a new driver. Now we are watching the Eurovision Song Contest, and tomorrow morning it is time for a practice round. Monday at 13.50 is my qualifying tee time.
TPC Prestancia will host my second showing of the US Open Local qualifying taking place on Monday (the 8th). I saw the course today for the first time, and I will play it again tomorrow to make sure I am fully prepared. Since the course did not have a strokesaver/courseguide I had to make my own. By now, I have most distances that I need, and I have drawn the greens with their slopes and grain. We will not be allowed to use rangefinders or other measuring devices, so that is why I have to make sure to have distances to the front of the green as well as from the tee box.
Hole 9 at TPC Prestancia
The last couple of weeks I have been preparing for this event down in Verandah with my fiancé Ellinor. We have been very well taken care of down there, and we have gotten to play their beautiful course every day. The last couple of days I have been trying out some new clubs aswell, and I am considering changing out some clubs in the near future. As of now, however, I am good with what I have. I am really thankful to Verandah, since this trip would not have been anywhere close to this productive if had we not been able to practice and play there. And big thanks also to Johan and Debbie, for letting us stay in your condo in Fort Myers. We have really enjoyed our time there, it is absolutely beautiful.
Pictures from Verandah
It was Ellinor's birthday last Sunday, and then we decided to do some real tourist stuff. We went down to Marco Island, just south of Naples, where we went on a dolphin sightseeing trip. It was a great experience, and the dolphins actually followed the boat, playing in the waves that the boat engine created. We also got to stop at a remote beach with a lot of pretty sea shells After the trip we went to the beach and went for a swim, the dolphins playing only 20-40 metres away.
Dolphins at Marco Island Sightseeing Tour
We also went down to see Mike Trimble, an EKU graduate who I got introduced to by my assistant coach Geo at EKU. We played beautiful Tiburon Golf Club with him, followed by a nice lunch. It was a great day with pretty weather, great golf, and even better company. Thank you Mike for having us!
Now we are once again back with Marcie and John in Sarasota, and for some reason I feel like they still haven't gotten tired of us. Tomorrow I am going to TPC Prestancia again to get ready to go on Monday.
About ten days ago my left pelvis started to bother me a little bit while I was practicing. The pain wasn't too bad, and I figured that as long as I work out, stretch and foam roll I will be fine and it will go away. I was wrong. Today I withdrew from my tournament at Ritz-Carlton Members Club that I was supposed to play in tomorrow. I've had problems with my pelvis (both left and right) off and on for the last five years, and it is hard to cope with and to know what to do about it. Two days ago I saw a personal trainer who gave me some exercises that will probably help in the long run, but they won't relieve my pain now. Yesterday I went to get a massage, and if anything it got worse. Now I'm debating on whether or not I should see a chiropractor and just let him/her crack my whole body into place since I really need my body to come together so that I can practice for the US Open qualifier on May 8th.
Now, my first step is to figure out a plan how to get the body working with me again. Until then, the physical golf itself will have to be a second priority. I did some short-game practice yesterday, and after about two hours I was limping pretty heavily. So at this moment I feel like I should focus a lot more on what I can do physically to help my body recover, rather than push it even more on the golf course. It sucks, because I'm in Florida so that I can play golf, but listening to the body is a lot more important, and I have to respect that, even though it will make my next few weeks less enjoyable and fun.
Now is a time that I need to stay strong and focus on my long-term goals rather than short-term goals. I can't always do what's most fun at the moment, so now I have to stay focused on what I really want to accomplish, and I have to do what I think is the right thing to do to get there.
Finally the time is here! Tomorrow at 9.39 I tee off at the Cypress Course at Lakewood Ranch for my first tournament of the year. The tournament is part of the West Florida Golf Tour and will be contested at one of the courses I have been playing a lot at the past couple of weeks. It is a pretty long course that is in excellent shape with really nice greens. It will be a great tournament to start off the season with. Unfortunately, there is no livescoring at this event, but the scores will be posted after everyone have finished on the tour's website. Also, I will update my website and my instagram so that anyone who is interested can follow.
I spent my final day preparing for the tournament on the putting and chipping green. It is very important for me to feel comfortable on and around the greens and trust the speeds and slopes. I also decided to check my swing foundations such as aim, balance, and setup on the driving range. I am feeling pretty good for the tournament and I know that I couldn't be more prepared.
Also, we got our car fixed and it is now working the way it is supposed to. I don't have access to it at the moment though since Ellinor and Alison went to play their first tournament of the year in Deltona, about three hours away. Fortunately for me, John and Marcie are nice enough to let me stay a while longer. If it wasn't for them, I would have a hard time getting around and figuring my everyday life out. So I would once again like to thank them both for being so nice and treating me (as well as Ellinor and Alison) as part of their family.
Out playing the other day, my ball just stayed out of the water. As I walked up, I found a baby alligator only two meters from my ball. When I got closer I saw mother alligator five meters out looking at the ball, can you find her?
What is going on here? Since we got here we have had multiple setbacks, most of which have been manageable and not too hard to handle. However, a week ago me and Ellinor picked up a car that she had purchased, and we left Daytona Beach, my brother, and Christian to travel to Fort Myers where we were going to stay until I go back to Sweden. However, the first time we fueled up the car, it would only accept a few gallons (around 15 litres). We thought this was pretty odd and thought there was something wrong with the pump at the gas station. However, after only a kilometre or two the car started hesitating and jerking. It got worse so we pulled over and called the person we had bought it from to ask for advice. This brought us to an auto store where we bought some enhancers for the fuel system. The car kept on jerking and hesitating, so we decided to call Ellinor's host family from a college tournament in Florida, since they were one hour closer to where we were, and we didn't feel entirely secure in the car. Both me and Ellinor are very badly educated when it comes to cars (even though my father has tried to tell me how certain things work since he is very interested in car mechanics). Fortunately, they were at home and took us in. The following day we saw a mechanic who said that we should leave the car at a Ford dealership (since it was a Ford). On our way over to the dealership, the car started leaking gas, and then it died on us, three times! We finally stopped and got the car towed the last bit, because we didn't feel safe driving a car that was leeking gas. Since that day the car has been sitting over there, until yesterday when they contacted us saying that they found nothing wrong with the car. So, we went to pick up the car, thinking that we finally had a means of transportation on our own again. I should also mention that we were going to pick up Ellinor's friend Alison at the Fort Myers airport yesterday night. The first thing we did after picking the car up was to fill it up with gas. We got past one red light, and then the car died, right outside the Ford dealership. So they took the car back in, and then they said that they thought they knew what was wrong with it. We are expecting them to call us anytime now and let us know what they have found.
In the midst of all this, we have been very lucky! Ellinor's previous host family, John and Marcie, have been amazing. Not only have they given us roof over our heads, they have also made sure that we have been able to practice golf at their courses (and they are excellent courses in great condition too), they have lended us one of their cars to get places, they have fed us, they have taken us to the movies, and they have let us play with their cute dogs. They have treated us as if we were their own children, and we are so fortunate to have such amazing friends that are willing to help us out in times like this.
The golf itself hasn't suffered too much even though we have been having all these issues (mostly thanks to John and Marcie obviously). We have had the opportunity to practice everyday, and that we have. We have played each of the three courses here once, one of which is the course where I will play my first tournament over here on the 10th of April. I am looking really much forward to that since it's an amazing course in amazing shape.
Hopefully we can have our car fixed by tomorrow and head down to Fort Myers. Not that I don't like it here (I love it here), but we can't be bothering John and Marcie during our whole trip. And Fort Myers isn't bad either. We will be staying in an amazing apartment (belonging to my fathers cousin and his wife) only 15 minutes from beautiful Fort Myers beach. And at their country club they have the most amazing Sunday brunches, so I'm really looking forward to that.
If you want more updates you can follow me on instagram (sundlof_golfprofessional) where I post shorter comments about what is going on and some pictures.