When was the last time you actually thought about all of the factors that affect the outcome in a round of golf? Several factors have crossed my mind before and after rounds throughout the years, but after playing my first round of 18 this weekend, I found myself in deep thought over all the things that led to my 18-over par round.

It began with the always exciting and usually catastrophic first day on the course of the calendar year. I hadn't been to the range yet and though I had plans to hit a bucket of balls prior to the round, the 25-minute wait didn't seem worth it. A bucket at the range has proved helpful in the past at loosening up my golf muscles but I usually walk away feeling like I left a lot of good shots out on the range that I likely won't get back during my round.

Weather is always a bit tricky. Even if it's a beautiful day, there's a chance some weekend warriors will decide to partake a little too much in adult beverages to celebrate a perfect day on the course, but for the matters of this column, no alcohol was consumed. All I got this weekend were gail force winds that made club selection and shot flight rather difficult. When the wind is legitimately affecting the path of your putt, you know it's windy outside. Several times, my ball would be at a complete stop on the green and the wind would pick up and move it a couple of inches. A five minute down pour also hit on the 12th hole, leaving a new course condition challenge in my wake the last six holes.

My swing mechanics have never been above average, but there have been times throughout the years where I've picked up little techniques within my swing that have helped make the ball fly straight consistently. The problem? I tend to forget what I did to make that happen and if I'm not playing a lot of rounds, I lose that feel of what makes my swing produce good results. It's maddening and has led me to the decision that a couple golf lessons need to happen sooner rather than later. There is a consistent inconsistency with every part of my game: driving, putting, irons, chipping, etc... Rarely are all aspects of my game firing on all cylinders on the same hole.

Which brings me to the biggest factor: the brain. I have no explanation for what goes on in my brain during a round of golf. I'm always thinking about my swing and what I might be doing wrong and if I'm aiming in the right direction. If I could just get out of my own head and swing the club, I could probably shave a few strokes off my game. Easier said than done, though, as so many of you know. There is no sport in the world where you have to make so many decisions in an instant without making a key mechanical mistake like in golf. It's why we have such a love/hate relationship with it.

The best part of the round, though? Testing out the new TaylorMade Rocketballz driver, R11S driver, and Rocketballz irons. More on all that to come later, but let's just say it was one heck of a site seeing all those clubs in my bag.