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.
The sun continues to shine here in Daytona as mine and Ellinor's stay here is coming to an end. Tomorrow we are both leaving my younger brother, Marcus, and his roommate, Christian, to go to Fort Myers about a four-hour drive from Daytona. My stay here has so far been largely about getting used to playing and practicing outside, as well as getting used to the bermuda grass that is present here because of the hot weather. It is very different to the bent type of grass that we have in Sweden. The ball sits down in the grass in a different way, and the bermuda grass roots are a lot harder than bent grass roots. I find it more difficult to get the clubface through the ball at impact on short shots since the club has a tendency to dig itself into the ground more easily than what I am used to. Also the greens are of bermuda type, which makes the grass grain more than on Swedish greens. This means that the grass lies in certain directions, making the breaks and speed different depending on which way the grass is laying. I'll be honest, I have been really frustrated around the greens. Putting has worked excellent, bunker shots aswell, but lob shots and pitching has been a struggle many times. Of course, I have to work on the short-game, but even more so I believe I have to work on my patience when I practice. Sure, it hasn't been working quite the way I want it to around the greens, but I need to be patient with it and not get frustrated. After all, if I shunk a lob shot today, who cares? Who even cares if a shunk every single lob shot up until my first tournament? As long as I find my way around the golf course at a competitive amount of strokes during tournaments, that is what counts.
Except for the golf itself there has been some things me and Ellinor has had to fix for our future stay here. One very important thing when you are in the US is to have a car. During our time here we have been getting rides from Marcus and Christian to the golf course and our schedule has been influenced purely by theirs. However, now we have finally found a car and we are going to pick it up tomorrow. I was very happy that the car that we found was a Ford Five-Hundred, the same exact car that I had during my college years. It feels good to finally have a means of transportation so that we can make our own schedule.
We have also had daily tournaments to decide who has to cook dinner and do the dishes. This has led to a lot of my time being spent cooking dinners or doing dishes. I'm seeing that as a positive thing though, since if my brother was to cook, we would most likely be eating meatballs and burnt pasta every day.
During some spare-time we also tried some tennis, since they have a tennis court in their apartment complex, bathing in the hot tub in the area, working out, and writing together with Ellinor in a mindfulness coloring book for adults. The coloring book is very interesting. It does indeed make you relax and turn your mind off for a while. Before you know it, 45 minutes have passed, and all you have colored is a small horse head.
We also watched Marcus and Christian play a tournament in Howey-In-The-Hills, about 1,5 hours from Daytona. It was a very tough course with extremely sloped greens. It was fun to see how Marcus has developed his game since I last saw him play this past summer. He did indeed play solid golf, but he had some unlucky breaks and didn't get the balls to drop despite several good putts. On his last round he even found his ball stuck in a palm tree on his 17th hole. He had a long discussion with a rules official before it was finally decided that he had to take a drop with a one stroke penalty in a bunch of rocks. Marcus wanted free relief from the palm tree since his stance was on the cart path. However, he had to jump to reach the ball, but could then take a swing at it. The rules official ruled it unlikely that Marcus would try that shot since he was so short. I then asked the rules official if he thought Dustin Johnson would get a free relief, and he said yes... So, apparently being short is a disadvantage even in golf. Anyway, it was fun to watch some tournament golf again.
The criminal palm tree
This afternoon will be our last practice together with Marcus and Christian. Tomorrow morning they are flying to a tournament in Maryland, and me and Ellinor are heading down to Fort Myers after picking up the car.
Last night I finally reached US soil again and I couldn't be more motivated to get the season started. The flight went really well and except for some delay from Stockholm everything went as expected. Now I am sitting in my younger brother, Marcus, and his roommate Christian's apartment in Daytona. Soon it is time to do some working out, and this afternoon I will hit my first balls outside of the year. I probably won't play anything on the course today, but I might choose tomorrow for my first 65 of the year.
As far as for working out, I have felt that my recent practice with Martin Taipale at 1080 Athletic Lab has been a really good change for my body, and I will continue to work with Martin. I met with Martin, who specializes in golf and tennis and has excellent knowledge of the body functions, just before leaving and got some new things to work on. So, I'll be going all-in on that part now. I'm really excited about it since the last excercises I recieved from him have paid off well already, and I can feel my body is cooperating more than it has been in a long time.
Before leaving, I also saw my golf trainer, Martin Wiklund again. We clarified some things in my swing techniques so I won't even think about second-guessing what I'm working on while over here. We also discussed what my purpose with this whole trip is. I won't write everything I want to achieve during my time here, but one big thing I'll be working on is taking clear decisions (both on and off the course), and then just let go and do it. Sometimes the decisions will be wrong, but as long as I truly believe in them I will never regret them. This is one thing that I have to be able to do to reach my full potential.
Now I have some working out to do. Stay updated!
March fifth and my departure to Florida is getting closer. I will fly in to Fort Lauderdale and my wonderful younger brother told me that he will come all the way from Daytona to pick me up. I will then stay with him and his Swedish room mate for about two weeks. However, I still have a little over a week left of work. I will miss all the kids for sure, but I am of course very happy to be able to travel to a warmer place so that I can get he season started. I am so ready to see the ball fly towards a flag and hit them off actual grass.I will miss work, as well as practice, tomorrow. During the last week I have basically been eating rice cakes, smoothies, bananas, chicken and fish. Today I've been eating soup and a smoothie, and tomorrow I will not be eating at all until after 15.00, because guess what... I have the great honor of doing a colonoscopy tomorrow afternoon. I am lucky though that I get to do it before going to the US, since my stomach hasn't been well in a long time. For those of you who don't know, I am suffering from an intestine disease, called ulcerative colitis. This disease makes me have to think twice about what I eat, and the tricky part is that I don't know for sure what does and doesn't work. I am taking medicin that helps neutralize my stomach, but it doesn't help quiet as well as I would hope it to. So hopefully I will get some answers and good hints on how to make things better.Over the past couple of weeks I have, amongst other things, met with my trainer/coach Martin Wiklund. It was good seeing him, and except for working some of the same swing details as last time, we also worked on chipping. At the end I was hitting them really well, so now I will be looking at improving consistency in the short shots.In the beginning of February the whole family (except, of course, Marcus) gathered in Köping, where Rickard lives, to celebrate Rickard, Henric, and dad who all had their birthdays 7th and 4th of February respectively. It was a good few days and it is always great fun to see my brothers again. We also watched Rickard play an ice-hockey game, which they unforunately lost in overime. Rickard and his line, however, played really well and we got to see a goal from Rickard's club. I got to see Rickard and his girlfriend, Amanda, again yesterday when me, Ellinor and Eric met up with them for a game of bowling. I was completely superior, of course.And practice has obviously been a natural part of my everyday activities. I've been hitting mostly in Haninge Golfhall, where I've also been doing a lot of short putting practice. Last time I went there I set out to make 20 3-footers (90cm) in a row. I made it but decided to keep on going to see how far I could go. I ended up making 100 in a row before ending the exercise, my vision was almost double since I hit every putt with my full routine which I think is important for the exercise to be as effective as can be.Yesterday, I hit outdoors at my girlfriend's home course driving range, and it was extremely slippery. The whole ground was covered in ice and frost and it was hard to keep the balance on point. It was a little fun though, even though it felt more like ice with some grass on it then the other way around.I was trying to upload some pictures, but I guess I have to do that a little later since my new computer isn't really cooperating. However, you can always visit my instagram account or facebook if you want to see some visual updates.Until next time!
Things are starting to happen in small Sweden. First of all, I have created an Instagram account for golf posts exclusively. I figured it would be fun to mix the long texts on here with some videos and pictures from practice, tournaments and other events. If you want to get the full view of my golfing journey, or if you are curious how my swing is progressing, follow me at sundlof_golfprofessional.
Moreover, me and Ellinor received news today that we would get to practice at a beautiful golf facility in Fort Myers during our stay there. I will not yet tell the name of the club yet since we still don't know all the details, but we are very lucky that they are willing to let us do our spring practice at their facility. Once I know for sure, I will let everyone know where we will be. I know have four more weeks of work here in Tullinge before I fly out. Ellinor will leave earlier, in about two weeks, and I will meet her in the beginning of March and caddy for her in her first Symetra Tour event 10-12 of March. I am really looking forward to the trip, and I can't wait to get back outside and start bombing balls down the fairways and making putts left and right.
I am also working on a sponsor package that I will offer to anyone who is interested this year. I haven't worked out the specifics yet, but I will host a very special format sponsor tournament. I am excited about what new connections and meetings this could lead to.
Stay in the loop, as the season is getting closer by the minute!