This is the latest success story from another one of our fantastic students, Cody Learmonth. In his words, please read below:
“I started working with Shirley Furlong in July of 2009. At the time I was a 7 handicap and was looking to improve my game to the point where I could become a CPGA professional. Over the past 4 years I have been practicing and playing as much as possible, using Clear Key and the simple practice thoughts that Shirley designed for me to improve. I have noticed a vast improvement in my ball striking and my course management after working and playing with Shirley. My putting has gone from mediocre at best, to the point now where I feel like I should be making every putt within 20 feet. My mental and mechanical approach to putting has completely changed, along with it becoming much more enjoyable.
This year my handicap is down to a 3. I have had some great scores and a few close calls in almost breaking par. Most notably on Sunday at the 2011 invitational when I was 1 under after 17 holes before making a double bogey to finish with a 73. As all golfers know, we have an amazing ability to put a huge emphasis on certain milestones for our game even though all we can control is the next shot.
On July 13 of this year I rushed away from work to try to squeeze in 18 holes before dark at the Redtail Landing Golf Club just outside of Edmonton, Alberta. I had been playing decently all day and was at 2 over par coming into the par 5 14th. I made a routine, two putt par on 14 and on 15, I played my approach shot to about 2 1/2 feet for an easy birdie. Shirley has been coaching me to stay in the moment and to keep focusing only on the next shot, but walking off the 15th green I couldn’t help but notice that I was 1 over par now and had a reachable par 4 next. I quickly re-focused and went through my Clear Key on the tee, then placed my drive just short of the green and made an up and down for birdie. Now I was even par for the round.
The 17th hole is a long and difficult par 3 and the 18th an even more demanding, par 4. I played a poor tee shot that left me on the front of the green. My approach putt came up 15 feet short of the hole. Because it was getting dark I quickly read the putt and took a firm line to the hole. Watching the ball disappear into the hole for par immediately got my adrenaline going and I could feel the physical change in my body. Many people talk about adrenaline when you are playing golf and how it can affect your swing and your shots, but until this moment I had never really experienced that before. As I walked onto the 18th tee I could just feel that I was going to make a good swing, a sense of confidence that I had never before had on the golf course. It completely took over and I knew that I was going to birdie this hole.
I played my drive on an aggressive line over the bunker and couldn’t see it very well because of the fading light. The hole plays approximately 440 yards and when I got around the bunker I couldn’t see my ball where I thought it should be, I knew that it had followed the line and had very little fade or draw spin on it so I kept walking towards the green until I finally caught site of it in the right center of the fairway just short of the 100 yard marker. My drive was 340 yards long! At this point I really understood what adrenaline could do!!! Although I was excited about the result, I went through my Clear Key to stop the nerves from creeping in and hit my approach shot 5 feet below the hole. I went through my putting routine the same as I always would and calmly rolled the right to left breaking putt into the hole for a 71, my first under par score!!
I couldn’t have done it without the guidance and positive encouragement of Shirley Furlong. I look forward to working with her more and getting better. I cannot thank her enough for the past 4 years. Also the incredibly positive experiences I have had at the yearly Invitational, being in the presence of so many amazingly positive people. who have all influenced my development so much.
Thank you Jay for all the encouragement you have given me over the past 4 years.
BIG CONGRATULATIONS, Cody. This is a testament to all of your and Shirley’s hard work and is a very significant milestone indeed! We are very proud of you and we also think that this is just the first of a great many more incredible rounds for you!