2nd Stage of Q-school is the most important week in golf.

People talk about the finals of Q-school as being the 5th major, but I find the 2nd stage even more important than the finals.

Once you make the finals, even if you shoot in the 80’s for 6 days, you at least get status on the Nationwide Tour. Even if your status is low, all you have to do is get in one tournament, make the cut and you get in many of the events the rest of the year.

If you miss at second stage, you have nothing. This was a painful lesson I learned for a few years. If I had conditional status, I would have gotten into every event but one in 1994. Instead, I spent all of the mid 90’s qualifying on Monday.

Almost everyone at second stage has either been on the PGA Tour or Natiownide Tour before, so they are all good players.

I am hoping this is a good sign. 2nd stage of Q-school this year is on my favorite course on the West Coast. The Bayonet in Seaside on the Monterey Peninsula.

I am hoping I get control of my game and my confidence (that bordered on arrogance) back. I have all of the physical tools necessary to play good again and I am getting more comfortable with my swing quickly, but several years of bad play has me in a less than ideal mental state about my game.

I just need to play my way back into a good and confident attitude. I find this an important concept for all of you. There is merit in improving your swing, but there is no merit in grinding on every detail of your swing and not working on getting yourself confident in your ability to hit good shots and play the game. A good swing is only part of that…and a good swing is only a swing that you feel good about. My swing was “perceived” as technically perfect for a number of years, but I felt terrible about it.

Learn from my mistake. I certainly have.

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18 Comments

  1. s.

    How’s your putting? Playing on a familiar course at Q-school should be a big advantage.

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      Putting was never my problem. It’s not always PGA Tour level, but bad putting never cost me making it through Q-school.

      Reply
  2. Jim Perkins

    When does the 2nd stage start? I’ve played with you there, I believe you will do just fine.

    Reply
  3. steve lyons

    What tournaments can you play in between now and then to get you mentally ready?

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      I am going to play in the Long Beach Open in late July and then try my luck at the Nationwide Monday Qualifiers.

      I am not sure how prepared I am going to be for US Open Qualifying on May 11th, but by the end of July, I should start showing some good progress.

      Reply
      • steve lyons

        I’d love to see you qualify. Thanks for sharing with us your thought process.

        Reply
  4. carrera

    Have you played Bayonet since it was redone a few years ago?

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      Yes and I love it. I am not all that fond of what they did to the Black Horse, but I believe they could have a US Open at the Bayonet now.

      Reply
  5. Michael

    How’s your short game progressing? Out of 10, how many are you getting up and down?

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      I haven’t played a round of golf yet. If you take away 1998-2001, The short game was never a problem for me. Just like the rest of my game, it was never a weakness. Inconsistency was my weakness.

      How are you progressing?

      Reply
      • Michael

        Haa, my progress is still a work in progress. I still hook the poo out of the ball if I try and go at anything too hard. I’m thinking when something goes wrong and you know how that goes. Had a feel yesterday that was working well on the range, we’ll see how it carries over tomorrow afternoon. Right now the feel is like I’m speed breaking through impact. Contact feels much more crisp, I feel more in sync all throughout. More importantly, it wasn’t going left.

        I do have a question though I can’t seem to get a clear answer to and it may be affecting how I set up to a shot. When you set up to hit the ball.. For ex. A pin on the left side of the green and your ball is resting directly on a straight line at the pin. Do you set up your target line to be the center of the green, swing, it go straight at the center of the green and then curve left towards the flag? Or do you set up at the pin, swing, and the ball start right at the center of the green and curve back to the pin?

        I seem to set up for the latter yet do the first. It’s probably why I can struggle even hitting a green when things aren’t going right.

        Reply
        • Monte Scheinblum

          The first one is technically correct, but many a tour player has done the second.

          Reply
  6. Steve Bishop

    Monte, be very very careful here. It is far too easy to gain some OVER confidence. If one thing goes wrong it is easy to blow every bit of confidence you had going in. You can get down on yourself because you of all people should know how to play “that” shot. It is very ego deflating when you know how to do something but don’t execute. It makes you feel like you have the most pressure.

    My advice to you is the same advice I will give to the 2007 Phoenix Amateur champion.

    Score your preshot.

    Don’t focus on executing the shot, focus on executing the PRE-shot. It is the one and only thing you have definitive control over. The swing will come as a result of doing the pre-shot well.

    Trust me on this. It is the “golden rule” when playing in a tournament golf. To play your best you cannot focus on the swing. So changing your focus to something you CAN control and that will inarguably help you play your best golf is the key.

    Score your preshot. Ensure you do your preshot EVERY time.

    Reply
  7. Peter Balogh

    Are you afraid or cant you wait to tee off? Is it your birthday or a dentist appointment?

    Reply
    • Monte Scheinblum

      I am never afraid. I am looking forward to it whether I shoot 65 or 85.

      Reply
      • Bob34

        Monte,

        I wish I was more like you in that regard. I’m never afraid to shoot a bad score, never have the 1st T jitters but sometimes after a round I look back and think maybe I was afraid to shoot a good score 🙁

        Reply

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