Toughing it Out in Panama

Hello from Panama!

TeamMaverick and TeamCurriki

Thank you for your support in Panama… I overcame a four-over-par first 9 holes to finish at one over par for the tournament in 19th place. I made 14 birdies this week, which ranked 8th among all players. This brings our total to $83.544.00 raised in four weeks!

This was one of the toughest golf courses we play all year, but also one of the toughest walks. My caddy Travis and I walked over 50 miles and 150 flights of stairs over these 7 days… The walk from the 4th to the 5th hole was fondly nicknamed the “Stairway of Death” by players and caddies alike…

Panama was an amazing city, and the financial district had some of the most impressive buildings I have ever seen. But only 20 minutes from downtown on the way to the course was incredible poverty, with houses sharing cinder-block walls and tin roofs. It made me feel incredibly fortunate, but also more motivated to help expand Curriki’s reach and provide better educational opportunities to those less fortunate than us…

My favorite food stop (and basically only food stop) was Ristorante Jimmy’s, where I ordered the Fliette Estilo Angelo (Angelo style fliet) just about every night… It was $16 and came on a sizzling hot plate where you cooked the meat to your taste. I also got grilled chicken dinners for $6.50 and breakfast sandwiches for $2.50… and no food poisoning!

Thanks again for all your support, and here’s to making a lot more birdies for the kids this week in Sarasota!!

Making Birdies from 8,000 ft. Up!

Hello from Bogota!

TeamMaverick and TeamCurriki-

Thank you for your support in a third successful week for Birdies for Education… This week I finished in a tie for 34th with all four rounds of even par or better. I made 18 birdies again this week, and we added 19 new donors- we now have 91 supporters on-board and have raised $67,3722 in three weeks!

There we were a variety of factors that made this week interesting on the golf course. For starters, we were at over 8000 feet of elevation, so the ball flew forever. Most players “play a percentage”, meaning they typically subtract 13% or so from the yardage to pick their “sea level” club… But I prefer to just figure out how far my clubs go in the current conditions. My 8iron usually flies 165yds at sea level, but was going upwards of 190yds in Bogota. I even pulled 9i from 215yds on one hole!

As you can see from this picture of the first hole, the trees were in play the entire shot. The greens were also extremely quick, and long of every green was absolutely dead- it was like playing a constant game of chicken to challenge the back pins!

The worst part of the week was waking up on Friday with food poisoning. I felt great (and really enjoyed) the Colombian food- arroz chaufa (a type of fried rice with egg, pork, bacon, shrimp and chicken) and ajiaco (a tomato soup with noodles, rice, pork, and a fried egg) were my two favorite dishes… But I think the salmon I ate at the Italian restaurant next to the hotel did me in. I somehow struggled through Friday and birdied the last two to make the cut… Hole 8 I flew my drive 341yds to the front edge of the green and 2putted from 105’… And got up and down for birdie on 9 to make the cut on the number. I then turned those two birdies into 9 more on the weekend!

Maybe I should have ordered Uber Eats…

Food poisoning aside, Bogota was one of my favorite cities that I have played at, I hope to get the chance to go back!

I just arrived in Panama at 2am last night, where we’ll be sweating buckets and hopefully making a ton of birdies! Thanks again for your support, let’s keep it going!!

Best,

Maverick

Birdies for Education Going Strong in the Bahamas

Hello again from the Bahamas!

Thank you all for your support this week at Abaco. I finished in a tie for 15th (my 3rd best career finish) in some of the toughest conditions I have ever played in. We battled 30+mph winds all week, and I took advantage of the downwind holes to make a total of 18 birdies this week. We also added 14 new donors- our Curriki Team is now up to 72 and have raised $41,552 in just two weeks!

It was a wild week on the golf course. I was hitting my driver upwards of 400 yards downwind at times, and some of my best pokes were going only 250 into the wind. My first two drives of the final round (both straight downwind) totaled 781 yards. Where I hit Driver-2iron-wedge into the par5 first in a practice round, I hit Driver-wedge in the final round.

I learned a lot about how to play in the wind- after an average putting display in the second round, I found that choking up on my putter and having a wider stance in the wind gave me more stability and control, and the last two rounds were some of the best putting rounds I have ever played. My short game and scrambling were phenomenal the back 9 final round, where I took only 12 putts on the entire into-the-wind back 9.

The island of Abaco was way more populated than Exuma – it looked like Hollywood compared to last week! I attached a few photos here:

The golf course was beautiful, with several holes having views of the ocean, and the teebox of the driveable par-4 5th hole right against the beach. I birdied this hole all four rounds as well, taking driver or 3w over the water right at the green. I lipped out a chip for eagle in the final round as well.

The greens had a ton of slope, and played really firm and fast- this picture of the first green from the Tuesday morning practice round shows all the pitch and roll that made short game and putting a real challenge.

Also if you were wondering why the beaches were so pristine and clean, the Abaco Club has a “beach Zamboni” that picks up all the seaweed and debris that washes up…

Thank you all again for your support- it means the world to me, and gets me more excited to get to the golf course every day. I leave Sunday for Bogota, where I’ll be sending the ball from 8000 feet and look forward to making some more birdies next week as well! And as always, please spread the word and get as many people involved as we can. I’m so excited about what this is going to be able to do for Curriki.

See you in Bogota,

Maverick

Starting out: The Bahamas Exuma Classic

 

Week 1: Mic’d Up at Exuma
To TeamMaverick & TeamCurriki
THANK YOU!
I wanted to write to thank you all for an amazing first week of Birdies for Education. We have raised $20,462 only four days from launch! We also had a whopping 58 pledges this week.

The support has been unbelievable! We are currently in the ballpark of $1,275 pledged per birdie – if we can get this to $2,500+ per birdie, we’ll meet our goal of raising $1M for education as I work toward making my 500th birdie this season!

MIC’D UP
I finished in a tie for 65th place after a disappointing weekend, but still managed to make fourteen birdies and an eagle. I was the first player to ever be mic’d up on Golf Channel for an entire round on the first day, where I shot a bogey-free 69.

Round two was not quite as clean, but I managed to make three birdies and an eagle on my second 9 to offset two bogies and a double to stay in a tie for 14th place going into the “weekend” (we had an unusual Sunday start to the tournament).

 

A REALLY TIGHT COURSE!

The weekend was a bit of a challenge… I made two double bogies and a quadruple bogey in the third round. This golf course was really tight with hazard and out-of-bounds lining both sides of the fairway, and holes 4 and 16 had my number this week. I played hole 4 at 4-over par and hole 16 at 5-over par. Both holes have water left and out-of-bounds to the right, and unfortunately I missed the fairway a few too many times.

That being said, my good was pretty good, and I put together four really solid rounds with the putter. I also birdied 17 and 18 in both weekend rounds (after making a mess of 16), and I’d be lying if I didn’t say making some more birdies for Curriki helped pull me through. I’m excited to get my best club, the driver, back in the bag and in my hands a few more times next week and try to take it deep!

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT EXUMA

A few interesting facts about Exuma- there is one main paved road that runs north/south along the island, and about 7,000 residents. The drives to and from the golf course were interesting, dodging potholes, hitchhikers and oncoming traffic, all while being on the left side of an unmarked road. I’m glad Travis, my caddy,  was driving.
After the final round on Wednesday, I took some time to go snorkeling at the beach right off the 11th green, where I found more fish and clearer water than even the Great Barrier Reef in Australia… and a TaylorMade 5! It did make me feel better to know that I wasn’t the only one that donated a ball or two to the fish.
Throughout the year I will also try to describe some local cuisine that I encounter… and while I didn’t have the heart to try grilled Conch or conch chowder, my favorite new food was the grilled plantains (similar to bananas). A typical Bahamian meal would be jerk chicken (something like Cajun bbq chicken), rice and peas (I don’t know where the peas come from, it looked and tasted like rice and beans), and plantains. Big D’s conch spot is the place to go if you’re ever in town.

As I write this I am on the Web.com chartered BahamasAir flight to the Island of Abaco for our next event. The general consensus is that this event is the nicer of the two Bahamas events and the golf course is fantastic.

It means the world to me that you all are making a difference with Curriki, but also following me this year.This is truly a fun and personally inspiring way to raise money for a great cause and give you all a week-by-week look into my year.

As always, please send this on to as many people as you can – the more we can get involved, the bigger difference we can make. Thanks again for your interest and generosity, and let’s make some more birdies next week!!

Maverick

PS I will also be giving you some updates on the progress we are making with Curriki as the season progresses.