The Thunderbirds, September 2023 Update
Hello Friends, supporters, and fellow golf lovers, Imagine the ground shaking violently. Imagine a sound so loud and deafening you can feel it in your gut. Now imagine, while that is going on, having to make a 3 ft putt for $250,000. Welcome to Boise, Idaho, home of the first Korn Ferry Playoff event, and home to the 2023 Thunderbird Air show. Coincidentally, they both took place at the same time, less than a mile apart. But more on this later.
It has been an eventful month and a half since my last update. I am so unbelievably thankful for the opportunity to play the final 3rd of the season knowing the my PGA Card is essentially locked up. Yet, I am not taking a victory lap just yet. The journey has just begun and hard work is ahead. I want to finish the season strong, and I want to remain faithful as working for the Lord and not for man or man’s glory.
Since my last update in July, I have played 4 of the 6 Korn Ferry Events.
Utah: MC (by 1 shot)
Omaha: MC (by 1 shot)
While the results are not as I hoped, I am encouraged by the direction of my game. We have made lots of BirdiesforHope and have some exciting news to share on this front! As usual, I am going to start with a BirdiesforHope Update, then give a behind the scenes story or two from the past four tournaments. Thank you so much for your support of both BirdiesforHope and my career.
Season Birdie Count through Boise: 295 BirdiesforHope
Through 20 events on the season, we have now made 295 BirdiesforHope! That is 60 BirdiesforHope since my last update.
Puerto Del Cielo Church has broken ground!
We have multiple exciting updates on our church projects. I am pleased to say that our most recent church project in Panama, the Puerto Del Cielo church, is now fully funded and has officially broken ground! I am so excited to see how this church serves its community over the upcoming years. We are currently narrowing down our options for our next Hope Building project and will be announcing that in our next update.
Update: Rios de Agua Viva church partnership
We also received an update about our very first church project, the Rios de Agua Viva church, in Arjona, Colombia. Since its construction in early 2021, the Rios de Agua Viva church has been busy serving their community and pointing the community to our Savior, Jesus Christ. Church Membership has grown from 120 people in 2021 to 148 today and has baptized 41 new believers into the faith. In addition, the Rios De Agua Viva congregation uses this humble building every day of the week to serve their community. They offer bible studies, widow and child care, education for adults, counseling, and much more. I have included a picture below illustrating the growth of the Rios de Agua Viva church.
My dream since turning professional has been to use professional golf to impact the world for good. I want to be known as more than a professional golfer. BirdiesforHope has been that avenue. Thank you so much for your support and encouragement in helping change the lives of those around the world through these church building and hope building projects. It means the world to me.
The Boise Air Show:
“How am I supposed to Chip with that going on Doug!?” Shooter McGavin muttered under his breath in the golf comedy classic, “Happy Gilmore,” as he tried unsuccessfully to navigate the off-course distractions during the biggest tournament of the year. Last week, the Korn Ferry Tour traveled to Boise Idaho for its first playoff event of the year with increased money and points on the line.
One problem: The Gowen Thunder Airshow, featuring U.S. Airforce Thunderbirds and other Airforce aircrafts would be taking place the very days of the tournament. Launching from an air strip just off the 3rd putting green and buzzing the clubhouse while performing their maximum g-force acrobatics, these “birds” literally caused the ground to shake and us golfers underneath them to cover our ears. For about 4 hours each round of the tournament (2 hours of warm ups and 2 hours of the actual show), we watched Thunderbirds climb vertically into the atmosphere, fall directly back to earth before last second turning on their burners to avoid the earth and buzz directly overhead. We watched them fly in formation, 4 to 5 planes at a time, making multiple g-force turns wing to wing while doing cartwheels in the sky. I’ve never experienced something so distracting, yet so incredibly entertaining while playing golf! All the while, we competed for a 1.5 million dollar purse and a lifelong dream of competing on the PGA tour. “How am I supposed to chip with that going on, Doug!?”
While the airshow provided quite the unique distraction, it also provided perspective. I am so thankful for our troops, our military capabilities, and that these jets work to protect the USA. I did not have my best stuff in Boise, and ended up finishing 54th on the week. Simply put, I did not make enough birdies. And still, the airshow provided quite the story.
State of My Golf Game
Since winning back in June, my mindset has not changed. I have prioritized doing the little things well with the goal of finishing the season strong. As Tony Dungy wrote in his book “Quiet Strength,” “extraordinary people are extraordinary because they do ordinary things extraordinarily.” Throughout this year, I want to finish the season strong doing the little things well. I want to be a top .01% player in the world, and to do that, I need to be a top .01% practicer, top .01% sleeper, a top .01% eater, a top .01% mentally tough golfer. These are the details I can control while I have to let the results fall where they may.
Every year of golf will have ups and downs. For a stretch of 11 events stretching between early March and late July, I played the most consistant golf of my career recording 10 top 30’s and only missing one cut. Recently, I have continued to play good golf, however, the wedge game has not been as sharp, and I have made some unfortunate bogeys at bad times. I finished 7th in Chicago due to great ballstriking, but struggled to two missed cuts (by one shot), and a tie for 54th in my last three events. I have worked hard on my golf game this year and I am excited for the final three events of the year.
Chicago Media Opportunity
I have had to adjust to more off course distractions since winning. In Chicago, the PGA Tour and WHOOP.Inc approached me about a media opportunity. They followed me around the entire day of a golf tournament, highlighting the “behind the scenes” routines that I do to be ready for a round of golf. They had a TV camera on me from 7am until 7 pm that day following me into my hotel room, to breakfast, into the gym, and on the golf course. I must admit, eating an omlete with a camera 2 ft away makes one very self concious! And, this distraction made doing the little things well just a little bit tougher. While that round started off slowly, we finished strong with an eagle on the last hole to shoot -6. I ended up finishing t-7th for the tournament and successfully did the little things well that week. Plus, the PGA Tour recorded all of those great moments off and on the course and will be releasing a condensed video of it in the next couple of weeks! And I found myself slowly getting more comfortable around the large TV cameras that will be everywhere next year on the PGA Tour.
The Remaining Playoff Events.
The playoffs on the KF Tour consist of 4 events with a significantly increased purse and greater points awarded to those who play well. It is a chance for the top 156 players on the tour to jump up the points to secure a Korn Ferry or PGA Tour card.
We have just 3 events left in the season.
- Nashville, TN. - Colombus, Ohio, - The Tour Championship in Evansville, Indianna.
It has been a long season that began in the Bahamas the first week of January. The Tour Championship ends October 8th. For the next month my goal is to be faithful to God in the little details, working hard and leaving the results up to Him. I hope to make as many BirdiesforHope as possible and impact the world for good.
If you would like to donate to BirdiesforHope, you can donate here or go to my website, Jimmystanger.com
Thank you so much for your support. It means the world to me.