Terry Crick Says, "Amateurs Teach Amateurs To Play Golf Like Amateurs"


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , | Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2010

I had the pleasure of writing a guest post for one of my favorite golf blogs to visit, My PGA Golf Coach published by Coach Terry Crick. Coach Terry has a passion for teaching amateurs to play golf the right way. I love his enthusiasm. You get the sense that one of his main missions is life is teaching proper fundamentals to the amateur golfer. Coach Terry knows that amateurs will have more fun on the golf course when we score better and the only way to do that is learning the basics.

Coach Terry's favorite thing to say is, "Amateurs teach amateurs to play golf like amateurs." I agree. when I first started playing golf, my friends tried to teach me how to swing. The problem was that they had no idea what they were doing either so all I was getting was bad advice. All I learned was how to copy their mistakes.

It is important to get professional help when it come to golf. Golf can be such a technical game if you make it so, but if you find someone who can make it easy to understand then you are on your way to a better golf swing.

Coach Terry's teaching methods are very easy to understand and apply. He keeps all his instruction light and filled with excitement. I can tell that there is never a dull moment with him and his love for the game resonates with anyone he comes in contact with.

I encourage you to seek out your local PGA professional. Once you find someone you can connect with, the game will become so much easier, and thus more enjoyable. Be sure to check out Coach Terry Crick on a regular basis. Quality golf instruction is only a click away. Have a great round and always hit your target.

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Wishing You Happy Holidays, And Many Made Birdie Putts


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , | Posted on Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays!!! Hope your stockings are full of pars, birdies, and lots of made putts:-) Have a great round and always hit you target.

This monster putt must have been on Dave Pelz's wish list:-)

Santa putting found here.

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Finally... A Working Laptop, Some Warm Weather, And Focusing On My Pre-Shot Routine


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , | Posted on Saturday, December 18, 2010

I haven't been able to post for a little while due to the fact that I was having trouble with my laptop. At the same time we experienced some cold weather over the past two weeks in South Florida. We got as low as 30 degrees one night last week. I had to really motivate myself to get out and practice.

South Floridians are spoiled when it comes to weather and year around playing conditions. If it gets too cold, it is easy for us say,"I'll take today off. It will be warmer tomorrow." We have the luxury of knowing that in the near future, the sun will be out again, and we will be treated to perfect conditions.

After reading this post by Heather from Real Women Golf , I just didn't feel right sitting at home because of a little cold weather. The rest of the country isn't as lucky as I am. I am sure some of you have faced similar conditions as the folks in the above picture. Nothing will stop some of you from getting a few hacks in.

I often read others golf blogger's posts as they count down the days until they can play golf again. This is something that is foreign to me as I have lived in Miami for the past 15 years and am moving to Arizona to be with my future wife in a few months. From warm to warmer right?

As I was practicing, I soon realized that I was going to have to be more focused in order to hit quality shots. Golf instructors always say that it is important to be comfortable before you take your swing. When the wind is howling and your hands begin to get cold, it definitely becomes harder to concentrate.

To help with concentration, I focused on my pre-shot routine, which, as my virtual mental coach David MacKenzie says, "...enables us to go into a concentration zone on demand, during our rounds and practice." He goes on to say, "Most negative interferences in the execution of a shot happen before we start the back swing. The routine takes us away from potentially negative thoughts and reminds us to be in a positive state of mind."

Going back to a familiar place makes a huge difference before hitting a shot. At the beginning of my practice session, I was distracted by the cold and my shots were all over the place. I was focused on staying warm rather than making a good swing. As soon as I reverted back to my normal pre-shot routine, my shots began to improve. Instead of focusing on the elements, I was able to put myself in a comfortable, familiar state of mind from which good shots are the result.

I will talk more about my pre-shot routine in some upcoming posts. After watching a few Sam Snead videos I having been working on some things that I think are helping my swing. The important thing about the pre-shot routine is to find something that works for you. Yours should fit your style of play and personality.

It's good to be back on my laptop writing about my experiences on the golf course. It also feels good to have the warm weather back for now. For those of you who can't play because of the weather, you can live vicariously through me. I promise not to be a wimp and to practice even if the conditions aren't ideal. I know that if you had the opportunity you would too because you love this game as much as I do. Stay warm fellow hackers.

Have a great round and always hit your target.

Cold Golfer Photo From World Golf Emporium.
Stay Focused Image Found Here.

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Jim Furyk Named 2010 PGA Player Of The Year


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , | Posted on Saturday, December 4, 2010

In a recent post we explored the hip movement of Jim Furyk. I don't know how good a dancer he is, but his hip action through impact is one that is said to be "the envy of many pro tour players." Despite his unconventional swing, Furyk turned in the most consistent season of any golfer on tour and was named player of the year.

Furyk had already won the Fed-Ex Cup Championship. He took home three tournaments winning the Transitions Championship, The Verizon Heritage, and finally the Tour Championship. These wins along with 7 top ten finishes secured his place as the points leader at the end of the year.

Most instructors would never encourage their students to emulate Furyk's swing, but I'm sure they do point out the work ethic that Furyk demonstrates. Tonight on Golf Central, Brandel Chamblee told a story of being paired with Furyk back in 1994, which was Furyk's rookie year. Chamblee was taken aback by this ugly swing but quickly found out that the ugly swing produced beautiful shots. More importantly, Chamblee found out how hard Furyk worked on his golf game.

Furyk's swing is basically self taught. The only instructor he has ever had is his father Mike who spent time as head pro at Uniontown Country Club near Pittsburgh. It is said that there are few players on tour who put in the work that Furyk does, and it is quite evident when he plays. He will step up to a putt, and then back off. Then he will step up to a putt, and if he's not comfortable he will back off again. He leaves no stone unturned in preparation for his next shot.

Being named player of the year has started conversation that he may be approaching Hall Of Fame status. He already has a major, sixteen wins, and a Fed-Ex Cup Championship. With another major, he should be a lock to be inducted. Looking at his swing, you would never think so, but Furyk has certainly made myself and many others a believer. Well done Jim.

Have a great round and always hit your target.

Jim Furyk photo found here.

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Being Scared Is The Worst Mental Hazard - Sam Snead Quotes


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , | Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2010

~The mark of a great player is in his ability to come back. The great champions have all come back from defeat~ Sam Snead

~Never let up. The more you can win by, the more doubts you put in the other players' minds the next time out~ Sam Snead

~Thinking instead of acting is the number-one golf disease~ Sam Snead

~If a lot of people gripped a knife and fork the way they do a golf club, they'd starve to death~ Sam Snead

~Of the mental hazards, being scared is the worst. When you get scared, you get tense~ Sam Snead

~To be consistently effective, you must put a certain distance between yourself and what happens to you on the golf course. This is not indifference it's detachment~ Sam Snead

~Practice puts brains in your muscles~ Sam Snead

~Make the basic shot-making decision early, clearly and firmly, and then ritualize all the necessary acts of preparation~ Sam Snead

There is an old saying: If a man comes home with sand in his cuffs and cockle burs in his pants, don't ask him what he shot~ Sam Snead

~Correct one fault at a time. Concentrate on the one fault you want to overcome~ Sam Snead

Top photo found here.

Bottom photo found here.

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How Piano Lessons Will Make Me A Better Golfer


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , , , | Posted on Monday, November 29, 2010

I know what you're thinking. "What does playing the piano have to do with golf?" Just hear me out and I will explain. Beside playing sports as a kid I also took piano lessons from age five until I was fifteen. I also learned how to play the drums so music is in my blood. The first thing I usually do when I walk in the house is turn on the music. Something is always playing in the background.

So what does playing piano have to do with golf? Like golf, playing an instrument takes a tremendous amount of practice. In golf, repetition is the mother of all teachers. The same applies when it comes to learning an instrument.

I used to spend countless hours playing the same piece over and over until I knew it frontwards and backwards. Mike Southern has been working with me on swing and I realize that the way he is teaching me about the golf swing is similar to the way my piano teacher taught me to play music.

Good teachers and coaches know that it is easier to learn something in bits and pieces. In a recent post I talked about my stint as a basketball coach. When it was time to learn a new play, we never gave the team the whole play from the start. We broke the play down into sections and repeated it over and over before moving onto the next part of the play. Eventually the pieces would fall into place and the play would be complete. The thing is, by the time we reached this point, the play was second nature. The play was embedded in the player's mind.

My piano teacher used the same method of breaking down a song into segments. In music these segments are called bars. Notice the sheet music below. It's part of the sheet music for The Circus Band.

There are four notes in the first bar(the top line). My teacher would make me play these four notes perfectly three times in row before I could go on to the next three notes in the following bar. I would then have to play those ten notes three times in a row perfectly before I could go on to the next bar of music. Then I would have to play three bars, three times perfectly, and so on and so forth. Very tedious, but a very effective way learning.

Mike helped improve my swing by breaking the golf swing down into pieces(Check out Dexter's Coming Over The Top series). He started with the set up and had me work on that until I was comfortable. Then he taught me drills for the one-piece takeaway up to waist high. He followed that up by teaching me how to get to the top of my backswing. Finally he taught me about the transition and downswing into the finish. Every part of the swing came in segments and because of this I understand the golf swing a lot better.

When it came time to scrimmage during practice today, I applied my piano instructors method of teaching to my practice round. I have six holes to work with at my practice course. I played three holes with my 7-iron and three holes with my pitching wedge.

My goal was to par all six holes before I could leave for the day. The rule was, if I didn't par the hole, I had to play it over. Like playing the notes in the bar perfectly before being able to move on to the next bar, I had to keep playing the hole over and over until I parred it.

Since I never have a clean lie and I can't putt on the greens, I rewarded myself for good shots. If I hit the green in regulation, I gave myself the par, assuming I would two putt anyway. If I missed the green and I got my second shot to within three feet, I gave myself the par. If I didn't get within the three foot radius on the second shot, I could still make par by putting/chipping in my third shot which is tough since the green are in such bad shape.*

It took me five tries before I parred the first hole which measured 165 yards today. Right from the start, I thought this was a bad idea. I thought I was going to be out there forever.

The second hole which measured 135 yards took me three chances. The 95 yard third hole took me two. It was hard to throttle back on my pitching wedge for this hole which is now my 135 yard club.

The fourth hole is the one that I wrote about in my last post as being visually challenging. Surprisingly, it only took two tries to make par. I played it to 155 yards missed the green and chip it to within six inches the second time around. It was like when the announcers say, "...you're just happy to make par and move on to the next hole."

Hole five played 110 yards into the wind. As I was hitting my first shot, someone honked their horn behind me. I nearly lost my club, I was so startled. Total shank. This is why they don't allow cameras and noise makers on the golf course during tournaments. I stuck the tee shot on the next shot and moved on to the last hole.

The last hole measured 145 yards which would have been a perfect 7-iron three months ago, but since working with Mike, my 7 iron now goes between 160-170 yards. I choked down a little on the club and took my normal swing. Stuck it to within four and half feet. Time to go home:-)

After a while I might spice it up a little and make it so that I have to par every hole in a row before I can leave. This could lead to heartbreak, because I could par the first five holes and then bogey the last and have to start all over again. Might have to start early in the morning when I do this. It could end up being an all day affair. But at least I'll be playing golf. I can think of worse ways to spend a day. Have a great round and always hit your target.

*This is footage of my practice course. As you can see, the lie is never great, and you can't putt, but it is a great place to practice for free.

Repetition image found here.
Circus Band sheet music found here.

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Rory McIlroy And I Agree...It Just Doesn't Fit Our Eye


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Sunday, November 28, 2010

I got to the scrimmage portion of my practice session and I was hitting the ball really well. That is until I got to the one hole that always gives me trouble. I can play this hole as short as 105 yards or I can move back to where I can play it to 165 yards.

When I play the hole short I have no problems. The tee box sets up so that it is a straight shot into the green. Two bunkers guard the green on either side and it falls off over the back to an area that is 7 feet below the green. Not too difficult from this position. I still have to make the shot but there is not much to think about. Just hit it straight.

Problems arise however when I move it back to the 165 yard range. From this distance I actually tee the ball up from the tee box that is going in the opposite direction. From this angle, the green is off to the right a little bit. For some reason I have trouble getting myself properly aligned from this position.

When I am practicing I always lay down a club like Ian Poulter does in this video. It really helps to get myself aiming down the right line. When I have the the club down, I have no problem hitting a shot to a target that is off to the right. The shaft is there so I just trust that I am properly aligned and make the shot.

If I have to hit the same shot without my alignment aid, I struggle mightily. I feel like my stance is too closed and I have trouble completing a proper one-piece takeaway. I come across my body and hit a humongous hook. It happens every time I get to that hole.

Maybe it became mental after a while, but I also believe that poor technique or actually not knowing what to do is the main contributor of my poor performance on this particular hole. When you have poor mechanics or lack of knowledge, there is no way you can be confident in what you are doing. Especially in a game where everything is a matter of inches.

I often hear professionals say that a certain hole doesn't fit their eye. This is what is happening to me. I just don't feel comfortable. Rory McIlroy has been in the news recently for thinking about skipping the Players Championship held at TPC Sawgrass. It is considered golf's 5th major, but the 21 year old star says he may not be there in 2011. This is what he said about Pete Dye's infamous layout...

"I don't like the course," McIlroy said on the eve of the Dubai World Championship, the final tournament of the European Tour season. "That's one of the reasons I'm undecided whether to play it or not.

"It's a Pete Dye course. It creates angles, a bit like Whistling Straits," he said. "He designed that course as well, where the tee boxes are sort of lining you up in the wrong direction. Visually it's very tough off the tee. It makes you feel uncomfortable because it looks like you've only got a little bit of fairway to hit but actually once you get up there, it's a little bit wider. It's just very demanding visually," added McIlroy.

That's how I would describe my hole. Visually demanding. The angle is just off enough to make me feel uncomfortable like McIlroy does at TPC Sawgrass and the bunker filled Whistling Straits.

I hope he decides to play because he makes tournaments more exciting. I walked with him for a few holes a couple of years ago at Doral for the CA-WGC Championship. Even as a teenager he handle the pressure well amidst his gallery which grew as his round progressed. People wanted to see the powerful swing of the Northern Irishman.

As for me, one of my practice segments tomorrow will be on my trouble hole. I can't run away from it. A shot like that will come up at some point during a round. If I can knock it out now, I will be more prepared when I stand over a similar shot when it counts. Back to the drawing board.

Have a great round and always hit your target.

Golf Eyeball - Getty Images
Rory's Swing Sequence - Golf.com

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Scrimmage Golf


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , | Posted on Saturday, November 27, 2010

I ran into my buddy Kyle the other day at my laboratory. We began talking about how we both have trouble bringing what we do in our practice sessions to the golf course. No matter how well we hit it in practice, it just doesn't seem to happen during a round.

I started thinking about the way I practice. Normally I stretch and then grab my 6 or 7-iron and started swinging away. The balls that miss the green give me an opportunity to practice my chip and pitch shots. I usually repeat this routine 4 or 5 times.

I think this is okay practice, but not ideal. I get to practice my full swing and short game but I began to think that I could be more efficient. As I mentioned before I grew up playing baseball and basketball. For me, practice was more exciting than the games. If I would start to slip in school, all my parents had to do was threaten to keep me out of practice and that was enough to get me to hit the books.

After graduating from the University Of Miami, I worked with the Women's Basketball team as a student coach. It was during these four years that I really gained an appreciation for a well organized practice.

To stay focused and optimize the time the we had, practice was broken down into specific time segments. In our allotted two hours, the practice schedule could look like this...

12:00PM-1:00PM - Go to the training room to get taped and receive treatment on injuries. Get dressed and start stretching and shooting.

1:00-1:20 - Stretch

1:20-1:30 - Light plyometrics

1:30-1:45 - Dribbling drills

1:45-2:00 - Guards on one end. Depending on the day, passing drills, shooting drills, etc. Forwards and Centers on the other. Rebounding drills, shooting drills, etc.

2:00-2:20 - Work on new play.

2:20-2:40 - Scrimmage.

2:40 - 2:50 - Conditioning.

2:50 - 3:00 - Free throws.

This is only an example of a practice day. What we worked on from day to day changed. The point is that every aspect of practice was specific and with a purpose. There is no wasted time. Remembering this, I applied this principle to my own practice efforts.

Today I practiced for a little over two hours. It went like this...

3:00PM-3:10PM - Stretch.

3:10-3:30 - 7-iron.

3:30-3:45 - 50 yard pitch shots.

3:45-4:00 - Full pitching wedge shots.

4:00-4:15 - Flop shots over a bunker.

4:15-4:35 - 7-iron. Try to get up and down with the shots that missed the green.

4:35-5:15 - Scrimmage(If the greens were nice I would set aside time for putting after the scrimmage. It would be the equivalent of free throw segment at the end of basketball practice).

I believe that setting a schedule will help me to practice more efficiently. For that 15 to 20 minute segment, I am only focused on that particular drill. I set my goal for the practice session and the schedule helps me achieve it.

Just like when I was a kid, my favorite part of practice today was the scrimmage, or I guess as we call it in golf, a practice round. This brings me back to my conversation with Kyle about having trouble going from the range to the course. The main reason is that we don't scrimmage.

The whole purpose of a scrimmage is to get the feel of game-like conditions while working on specific areas of your game. During a scrimmage, as coaches, we would stop play to break down a specific area of the game and then let the team resume play. You can do all the drills in the world but if you never get the feel of playing under real conditions, you will never be ready come game time.

I practice a lot, but I haven't been playing under game like conditions. I am not putting pressure on myself. I am very fortunate to have my little golf course and I really have to take advantage of what I have. There are six holes that are open for play so I just go around with two clubs, my 7-iron and 52 degree gap wedge, and go along as if I am playing a round.

Depending on where I tee it up from I can make a hole as short as 75 yards on some and as long as 185 yards on another. This gives me an chance to learn how to hit my clubs to different distances. For example, since I only have my gap wedge, I am learning to hit it between 75 and 120 yards. This will help me when I'm on the course if I am caught between clubs. Practicing the way I am will have more prepared because I would have done it before.

I don't think that there is any substitute for actually playing. When I am playing a lot as well as practicing, my scores begin to lower. If I practice but don't play as much, my score never improve. They just stay the same. Usually an 89. As it says in the picture above, "there is no substitute for experience."

I hope that this new method of practice will help me reach my goals. The main thing is that practice is fun again, and anytime you're having fun, you get to where you want to go a lot faster. Have a great round and always hit your target.

"No Substitute" image found here.

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Clearing My Hips During My Golf Swing - A Lesson From Jim Furyk


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , , , | Posted on Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My fiancee came to visit me in Miami last week which meant I didn't have much time for golf. Not that she doesn't let me play, we just had a lot to do in short amount of time.

Her original reason for popping in was to go see our beloved Chicago Bears play the Dolphins. Which we won! Let me just say that I am one lucky dude that my future wife loves football. AND...on top of that, likes the same team that I do. A match made in heaven.

With our recent engagement it also gave us some time to start planning for the wedding. Being that she lives in Arizona, we have to make the most of the time that we have together to get every thing squared away.

Since I wasn't playing or practicing, I had to get my fix from my golf magazines. In the December issue of Golf Magazine, the swing sequence of Jim Furyk was featured. Furyk probably has the most unique(ugliest) swing that is still effective throughout a round of golf. Lee Trevino and Arnold Palmer are known as two golfers who possessed swings which were not very pretty, but still won them many majors and tour championships. Furyk is right there with them.

Before working with Mike Southern, people used to say that I swung the club like Jim Furyk. The truth is that I was the complete opposite of the 2003 US Open champion. I used to start my swing way on the inside and then I would have no choice but to come over the top in an attempt to get back on the proper swing plane.

Furyk, on the other hand, starts his swing over the top and then drops back down to the inside to get back on plane. His timing is impeccable, and as he gets to impact he is back in perfect position to deliver a powerful, accurate strike on the ball.

As I was reading the article entitled Watch & Learn, and watching the video online, the part of Furyk's swing that stuck out to me was at the moment of impact. As he makes contact with the ball, he clears his hips toward the target while his shoulders are still square to the ball. Take a look at this video and if you pause it at frames :33 and :34, you will see what I am taking about.

This is the move that Mike Perpich, Top 100 Teacher says is the key to Furyk's excellent ball striking ability. Perpich also says, that because Furyk maintains his spine angle throughout his swing and clears his hips so well, "this gives him consistent contact that most players can only dream of."

There have been times when I was practicing and I am in the middle of my swing and I am thinking, my hands way behind my shoulders on this one, and then WHAMMO, the most beautiful shot you have ever seen. And then I just kind of stand there confused. Like, "how did that just happen?" Now I'm starting to understand why.

Mike has been working with me on the "whys" of golf. Instead of just telling me to do something, he also tells me why I am doing it. If I make a certain move, then I can expect "this" result. If I make this move, then I can expect "that" result. Understanding why we do things in golf gives us a better understanding of the overall game. To drive this point home with me he gave me this school of thought from Lee Trevino and Ben Hogan...

You can own a swing if you dig it out of the ground -- that is, if you work at it until you understand what you need to do and why you need to do it. You can't buy that knowledge; you have to find it yourself.

He then went on to say...

And the beauty of it all is this: When you start to understand the whys of your swing, golf ceases to be so difficult. To give you a couple of obvious examples (at least, they're obvious to you now), one simple move -- the one-piece takeaway -- eliminated many swing compensations and the associated swing thoughts you needed in order to make them all happen in sequence. And one simple concept -- "toss the ball toward the hole with your stroke" -- gave you so much confidence over your putts that you no longer agonize over pace.

I have always heard instructors say that golfers need to clear their hips, but never understood why. Now I do and maybe I can work the move into my swing a little easier than I would have if someone had just told me to do it.

Another piece to the puzzle is working itself into place. I don't think I will ever be able to put all the pieces together. No one can really. But at least the picture is a little bit clearer now. Have a great round and always hit your target.

*Jim Furyk Slo-Mo. If you pause it between :36 and :37 you will see how much his hips are cleared in comparison to his shoulders.

*I don't have a slo-mo of myself, but if you pause my swing at :21, you will see that besides all the madness that preceded it, my hips are still closed at impact, which rendered an ugly duck hook. You can see why I called my swing, the reverse Jim Furyk. I will get footage of my new swing ASAP:-)

Jim Furyk Images - Fred Vuich/SI

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How "About That!" Finding My Swing Tempo


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , | Posted on Monday, November 15, 2010

The first sport I ever played was baseball. I started when I was 6, playing with the 7 and 8 year old kids, and continued until I left for college, playing for American Legion team Post 10. I dreamed of playing for the New York Mets and can still name every player from the 1986 World Series Championship team.

During the baseball season I would watch Mel Allen every Saturday morning on This Week In Baseball. Allen, the long time Yankee announcer, is famous for coining the phrase, "How About That!" As it turns out, my baseball roots are leaking in to my golf game. How about that?

A few post ago I talked about finding a repeatable tempo that produced a good swing. While on the putting green during one of my rounds, I came up with the idea to ask myself an easy question which had an easy answer. I asked myself, "How hard would I have to throw it to get it to the hole." And then I answered myself as I made the stroke, "about that." "About" started the takeaway. "That" is when I made impact with the ball.

During my last few practice sessions, I started applying the same swing thought to my full swing. I have been practicing with my 6 and 7 irons as well as my pitching wedge. Before every shot I ask myself, "How hard would I have to swing this club to get it to the hole." And then I answer myself as I swing, "about that." "About" started the backswing. "That" is when I made impact with the ball.

It doesn't matter what shot I am hitting, that is my tempo. Half shots. Three quarter shots. Full shots. It is all the same. "About that." The same now goes for my chipping and pitch shots. All I have to focus on is getting a good visual in my head of how hard I want to toss it, and then simply do what comes naturally.

My virtual swing coach Mike Southern asked his readers to experiment with the "one-thousand-one" technique. What I am using is about the same tempo, if not exactly the same as Mike's. I think the important thing is that each individual golfer finds something that clicks with them.

I am continually trying to make this game as simple as possible. The pros make golf look simple because they spend an insane amount of hours practicing, but also have a firm understanding that over-complicating things only leads to disaster. Mike left me this comment after I had my "aha" moment of keeping it simple...

Excellent, grasshopper. You are finally attaining enlightenment...

(Translation: This is just a stupid game, and uses moves not so different from the ones you normally make as you go through life. Relax and have some fun! You already know how to do most of this if you just stop making it so difficult. ;-)

Hmm...I already know how to do most of this huh? I guess I do. How About That! Have a great round and always hit your target.

Tempo Logo found here.

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Learn Something New Every Time You Step On The Golf Course - Ben Hogan Quotes


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , | Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010

~As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round~ Ben Hogan

~Reverse every natural instinct and do the opposite of what you are inclined to do, and you will probably come very close to having a perfect golf swing~ Ben Hogan

~Relax? How can anybody relax and play golf? You have to grip the club, don't you~ Ben Hogan

~I couldn't wait for the sun to come up the next morning so that I could get out on the course again~ Ben Hogan

~The ultimate judge of your swing is the flight of the ball~ Ben Hogan

~Shoot a lower score than everybody else~ Ben Hogan

~Placing the ball in the right position for the next shot is eighty percent of winning golf~ Ben Hogan

~Golf is not a game of good shots. It's a game of bad shots~ Ben Hogan

~The only thing a golfer needs is more daylight~ Ben Hogan

~I learn something new about the game almost every time I step on the course~ Ben Hogan

Image - Ben Hogan at Merion Golf Club, 1950

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Keeping It Simple On The Putting Green


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , | Posted on Thursday, November 4, 2010

Towards the middle of my round at Stonecreek Golf Course I think I figured out a good routine for my putting. I have been practicing this tempo drill to help keep my full swing nice and smooth. My swing feels a lot more under control on most of my shots. I just have to remember to do it every time.

Tempo is important for the full swing but very important when on the putting surface. In my recent rounds, I have been struggling with the pace of my putts. I routinely come up woefully short on many of my putts. Even on my three footers. Nothing hurts more than leaving a putt of that length short of the hole.

I was mid-way through the round and I remembered a chipping drill that I had seen one time. The instructor (I can't remember who it was at this point) was 20 feet off the green and he had his student get into his chipping stance with the ball in his had and asked him to throw the ball in a golf swing motion towards the cup. The student nearly holed the toss.

The instructor said that most people are athletic enough to instinctively know how hard a toss should be made to get a ball from point A to point B. He said this is the mindset we should use when chipping. He told the student to imagine the stroke as if he were tossing the ball. The student again almost holed the shot. I thought that maybe this drill could apply to putting as well.

As I was standing over a 30 foot par putt, I took my right hand off the putter and practiced how hard a toss it would take to throw the ball to the hole. After I got a feel for that, I took my practice strokes and then said to myself, "How hard would I have to throw it to get it to the hole." And then I answered myself as I made the stroke, "about that." "About" started the takeaway. "That" is when I made impact with the ball.

I made a nice smooth stroke and the ball rolled to pin high just right of the hole. A bogey tap-in. Much better than having a five footer to save bogey. When I got to the next hole I had a twelve foot putt. I went through the same routine. I imagined how far I would have to toss it, took my two practice strokes. "How hard would I have to throw it to get it to the hole." "About that." In the hole.

I continued to do this for the rest of the round. It didn't matter how long the putt was that I was standing over. The tempo stayed the same. "About that". What I noticed is that I worried less about my line and was more focused on the pace. I have always heard instructors say that pace is most important when putting, but now I really understand.

Talking to myself also blocked out all the background voices that creep in when I am over a putt. By focusing on my own easy question, I had an easy answer. "About that." Much easier to answer this question than having to answer, "how much does it break?", "is the putt into the grain or with the grain?", "is the sun behind me?" "will it break towards the lake?", "why won't my friends shut up when I'm trying to putt?" Yes I've had that thought in my head over a putt as I'm taking a stroke.

The point is, I think it worked because it was simple and an easy visual to understand. It is much better to have one thought in your head instead of twenty five. It only takes like two seconds to make a stroke with your putter. It is impossible to answer all of those question in such a short span of time.

I subscribe to the K.I.S.S.(keep it simple stupid) principle. This is such a tough game as it is. I think I'm better off keeping it simple. See if this works for you. I would love to hear your feedback. I'll be playing tomorrow so I'll test it out again and get back to you with my results. Have a great round and always hit your target.

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I Shot A 92 But Couldn't Care Less, Because Guess What Friends, SHE SAID YES!!!


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in | Posted on Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I played at Stonecreek Golf Club yesterday in Phoenix Arizona. I had played there before on a previous visit but they were doing major renovations. This time the course was in excellent condition and we couldn't have had a more beautiful day.

I played with "The Doctor", and a couple of his doctor friends Matt and Zeb. I sometimes get nervous playing in front of new people, but these two guy are hilarious and had me laughing the entire round.

I was upset because I forgot my camera. Like I said the course is well taken care of and the holes with the mountains in the background are gorgeous. Stonecreek has been a supporter of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary for Golf Courses since 2008. There are many varieties of birds on the course including Canadian Geese which, I assume, were making a pit stop before continuing further south for the winter.

I played okay. Nothing to write home about. Shot a 92. At this point I get disappointed if I don't break 90 but I wasn't expecting much because I hadn't been able to practice or play much in previous few weeks. Plus I'm still working on my swing change so there is still a little uncertainty about my shots.

The other reason I didn't have any expectations is that I didn't get much sleep the night before. The reason I visit Arizona so often is because that is where my girlfriend lives. We have been in a long distance relationship for the past two years so we visit each other every few months or so. We actually met at The Doctors wedding as were both in the wedding party.

The night before the round my girlfriend and I went out to dinner to celebrate our two year anniversary. We had a nice dinner and after that she wanted to go to another restaurant she loves to go relax by the fireplace. Little did she know she was setting herself up.

When we got to the restaurant, it was empty and the fireplace wasn't lit. She was disappointed but we talked to one of the employees and he was able to light it for us. I went to the bathroom and when I came back she was sitting in front of the fireplace. I walked over and she started to get up. I told her to sit back down and I got on one knee.

I was shaking so bad. Worst than teeing off on the first with everyone watching. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a ring and popped the question. Will you marry me?...and she said YES!!! I felt like Jim Carey in the picture to the right. We were both shaking at this point. She kept on saying, "Are you serious." "Is this for real." It is for real although for both of us I think we both feel like we are in a dream.

After calling our respective families, and waking them up at 1:30 in the morning east coast time because we forgot about the time change we went over to The Doctors house to celebrate with him and his wife who is beginning to make strides on the golf course herself I must say. We ended up hanging out until 3:00AM which meant there would be little sleep before our 10:30AM tee time.

I don't mind shooting a 92 this time. I could have shot 102 and still would have been just as happy. I am grateful to have found the woman of my dreams and on top of that she happens to live in golf heaven. What could be better? Have a great round and always hit your target.

Stonecreek Image
Jim Carey Image


Posted: 11/2/2010
Stonecreek Golf Club (Stonecreek Golf Club) Tees: Gold, Slope: 128, Rating: 69.9

Stonecreek Golf Club Front Nine
Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9


5 7 5 4 4 7 6 5 4

# Putts: 1 2 2 1 2 2 1 2 2

Back Nine
Hole 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18


7 5 3 6 5 3 6 5 5

# Putts: 1 2 1 2 2 2 1 1 2

Pars: 4
Bogeys: 10
Doubles: 1
Other: 3
Par 3 Avg: 3.8
Par 4 Avg: 5.4
Par 5 Avg: 6.0
FIR: 7 / 14
GIR: 2 / 18
Putts: 29
Putts per GIR: 2.0

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