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A Pro’s Life: Nick Rousey Returns to Home, Heart — and Winning

A Pro’s Life: Nick Rousey Returns to Home, Heart — and Winning

A Pro’s Life: Nick Rousey Returns to Home, Heart — and Winning

Rousey says he got just what he needed back in the states with his young family along on some pro-ams and a mini-tour — that included a top finish and nice check — before heading back to Web.com Tour competition.

(Pictured above: A selfie by 2nd Swing blogger and Web.com Tour pro Nick Rousey with wife and daughter.)

As I am flying to Wichita, Kan., for the start of the summer stretch on the Web.com Tour, I have a little time to think about the past month or so.

I have to say with the way my year has been playing out, the past few weeks have been a much better. The starting point was a visit to Sea Island in Georgia to see friends and be a part of the TA4Life Pro-Am. We came back to Pensacola, Fla., to find that everything in our house and my parents house was okay after the city got somewhere between 24 to 28 inches of rain in 24 hours.

We were very blessed. Then we — we being my wife, 23-month-old daughter and our dog — loaded up the truck for a road trip that would take us through 11 states as I tried to make some money and play some better golf.

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The first tournament was the BMW Charity Pro-Am Golf Tournament in Greenville, S.C. All I can say is I’m happy that everyone played three rounds before the cut.

One, because that’s the first time I have seen a Saturday since the first tournament of the year; and two, that was the day my golf game decided to make it’s first appearance in a long time.

I didn’t play the first six holes all that well (two bogeys and one birdie), but after I bogeyed a fairly easy par-5, I got frustrated just enough to change my game around. On the last 12 holes that day, I made eight birdies and one bogey to shoot a 6-under 65 to finally make a cut. 

I then went out on Sunday and shot a 4-under 67 to finish in a tie for 23rd. Although not my greatest finish, given my past two months, it was a welcomed sign that maybe my game was turning around. 

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The next week was in Raleigh, N.C. Once again, I put together two solid rounds to make another cut, but then played very poorly on the weekend to drop near the bottom of the leaderboard.

The positive of the week was another made cut, but the negative was I still needed lots of work on my short game and getting my ball flight tighter.

I like to hit a draw, and with the driver the ball has a tendency to slip right, and then I flight it and start hooking it. I’ve been struggling with it all year. It starts with the driver and then it causes me to start flipping my irons, and then I can never hit it close to the hole. 

The week after Raleigh we had as an off week, so instead of heading home, my family and I went to the really small town of Windsor, N.C. We stayed at a friend’s house on a fabulous golf course in the middle of nowhere called Scotch Hall Preserve.  It has to be one of the best places to spend an off week. The pro gave me my own golf cart for the week, and I think in the whole time we were there I saw maybe a total of 50 people on the golf course. 

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North Carolina’s Scotch Hall Preserve golf course. Worth the little extra drive from Raleigh, according to our golf pro, Nick Rousey.

It was a perfect place to work on my game and help improve the things I needed to work on. After a great week of golf and relaxing with friends, it was time for my family and I to go to the next tournament in Cleveland. We took two days to drive up from North Carolina with about an hour stop in D.C. to take in a few sights and stretch our legs.

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The Rousey clan take in the nation’s capital on their way to a Web.com Tour tourney in Cleveland.

We stayed in a hotel in Cleveland because we didn’t know anyone up there. Quite a full room with a 23-month-old daughter, a 2-year-old dog, my wife and I — but we made the most of it. When we weren’t at the course, we took the baby and dog to parks. One afternoon we went downtown to visit the Cleveland Children’s Hospital with a few other players to hand out some stuffed bears and help bring some smiles to some children’s faces.

It was a great visit where Jon Curran and I got a bracelet from one of the girls we visited (I now carry it in my golf bag.). After the visit my daughter, wife and I went to Progressive Field to watch the Cleveland Indians play the Boston Red Sox.  It was such a great time! We couldn’t stay for the whole game but it was a great ballpark to watch baseball and the Indians were leading when we left and then went on to win the game.

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Our pro, Rousey, gets some rare family time while on the road for a Web.com Tour tournament in Cleveland. Here he, his wife and baby check out an Indians game.

The golf course we played in Cleveland was awesome. It was a tree tight course with some very tough greens. I didn’t putt well at all; and after two rounds, I ended up missing the cut by a shot. It stunk to miss by one, but I wasn’t as upset because I feel I’m getting closer to playing like I know I can.

After a night’s rest we loaded the truck to start our drive home. The nice thing was we weren’t in a rush and would be going through Birmingham, Ala., to get back to Pensacola. I stopped and checked up with my golf instructor. After spending an hour or so with him, we just worked on my alignment and I came up with two ideas:

One is I need to get my driver set upright and move the slider weight almost all the way to the bottom, so I can trust that the ball will not slip right. The other was that I needed to play in a smaller mini-tour tournament to help me keep playing. 

At this point this year, I feel like I don’t need to spend an off week on a driving range. I’m swinging better, and now I need to play so I can start trusting it on the course. This smaller tournament was the summer championship for the Emerald Coast Pro Golf Tour being played in Montgomery, Ala. This is a tour I used to play on a lot and still play a few events in the winter and summer when I have time.

I drove up from Pensacola the morning of the first round and teed off for the first round without playing a practice round. It was a course I’ve played a few times. It’s not tricky, but it is a very tight golf course.

I played very well the first round and shot a 63 on the par-70 layout — and I had a three-shot lead over the field. Now my goal for the next day was to stick to my game plan and see if I could grow my lead. I went out and shot 64 and grew my lead to seven shots.

I started the final round with the same mindset, game plan, and desire to grow the lead.  At the end of the day, I shot another 64 and won by nine shots.  It was a big win because my paycheck was $8,000, where second place got around $2,000.

The difference on mini-tours between first and second is big! It was also important because it started to give me my confidence back. I was able to hit my draw with every club, and it never hurts to make some putts.

Now the trick is going to take what I did last week in Montgomery and bring it out to the Web.com. I just have to try to remember that it’s just golf and there is no difference between playing the Emerald Coast Golf Tour and the Web.com Tour, except the location — and players. 

That is the challenge; but if I can keep hitting the draw and making a few putts from time to time, I like my chances for having some really good finishes this summer.


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