It's A Process, It's A Process, It's A Process


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , | Posted on Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My buddy Marc and I played a round at Miami Beach Golf Club yesterday. It has become my home course. I live about twenty blocks away so it's very convenient. I usually only play here during the summers when the rates go down. It is a very nice, in high demand course, and the peak season rates reflect that fact.

The trade-off for getting a good rate is enduring the heat and humidity of summer in South Florida. The good thing, however, is that the course is wide open and I usually get to play two balls if I want to. I play little tournaments against myself. It keeps the round interesting and I get some good practice in.

Marc and I decided to play late in the afternoon. It was still hot but there was a layer of clouds that neutralized the suns brutal rays. We hit a few balls and headed out. I usually hit the putting green but it was getting late and we wanted to get the round in before sunset.

I played pretty well. My ball striking has gotten a lot better. All I have been hitting in my practice sessions are my wedges. In doing so, my longer irons have gotten better as well. The drawback is that my driver is suffering. I only hit four of thirteen fairways. My misses weren't terrible, but after errant shots, I was forced to play for a bogey.

Lately I have been really hard on myself. I have gotten my handicap down to a 13.8 (it was at 20.7 a year ago) and I am shooting a lot more scores in the eighties. When I don't hit a good shot, I take it a little too hard. I want to hit it perfectly every time.

I take it especially hard on the putting green. The problem is that I don't hit a lot of greens in regulation which puts a lot of pressure on my putter to save pars. If I miss a putt, it's a bogey. If I run it by, I'm sweating out a double.

After the round I was looking over the scorecard and besides a few bad tee shots and a few missed putts it could have been a really good round. Possibly in the seventies. Since then I have been reminding myself that it's going to take time. Just keep practicing and results will follow.

The plan is to hit the practice greens at least twice a week. I have to get comfortable on the greens. I may not show it to my friends, but my mind is racing when I'm set over a putt. I have to establish a routine that keeps all those thoughts at bay.

Golf is a hard sport. Harder than any other sport in my opinion. It is impossible to conquer. The pros have been doing this since they could walk and they still look silly from time to time. I want it to happen now. I want to see the results immediately. I want to break eighty today, but...It's a process...It's a process...It's a process.

Have a good one and always hit your target.


Posted: 6/28/2010
Miami Beach Golf Club (Miami Beach) Tees: White, Par: 72

Miami Beach Front Nine
Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9


6 5 4 4 5 3 5 5 4

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

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


8 5 6 5 4 6 4 3 5

# Putts: 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

Pars: 5
Bogeys: 12
Other: 1
Par 3 Avg: 3.6
Par 4 Avg: 4.8
Par 5 Avg: 6.2
FIR: 4 / 13
GIR: 4 / 18
Putts: 36
Putts per GIR: 2.0
Scrambling: 1 / 14
Bounce Backs: 2 / 12

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Learn How To Turn Your Wedge Into A Putter


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , | Posted on Saturday, June 26, 2010

In order to become a good golfer, you have to know how to hit a variety of shots. When I go to the driving range, I see a lot of my fellow amateur golfers hit a few wedges and then pull out the driver. They hit driver after driver just trying hit it as far as they can.

I have a friend like this. He is in love with his driver. He gives the ball a ride. When he gets a good one, he can put it out there over 300 yards. I average about 265 off the tee and he is always a good 20 yards ahead of me. But this is where the advantage ends because he only practices his driver, while the rest of his game suffers.

I like to practice unusual shots. For me, it makes practice more fun and challenging. Before a round, I hit ten wedges, ten seven irons, five hybrids, five with my 3-wood, and finally five with my driver. After that I head to the chipping and putting green. I now know that the majority of shots taken during a round happen from 100 yards and in so that is what I work on.

For me, chipping it in from just off the green is more exciting than booming out huge drives, although it does feel good when I get a good one. Distance will come for me, but I know that if I want to lower my handicap, I need to be more efficient around the greens.

During my last round, my friend and I hit similar approach shots into a sharply sloping green. We hit good shots but the green ran away from the hole and we both ended up nestled against the fringe.

We had about 30 feet uphill to the cup for birdie tries. My friend was away so he went first. He chose to use the putter. He took his stroke and the putter head got stuck behind the ball and the ball traveled about two feet. Not good.

I took out my 52 degree gap wedge. Before the round I was actually practicing this shot. I had seen it on an episode of Playing Lessons From The Pros on The Golf Channel. I forget which golfer was on, but he demonstrated this very shot, so it was one that I have practiced from time to time.

My buddy gave me a funny look when he saw me setting up over the ball with a wedge. I took my stroke and the club got through the grass cleanly and the ball ran out like a putt. I left myself with a two foot putt to save par. My friend took a double as he needed three putts to finish the hole.

So what's the lesson? Practice the shots that are going to save you strokes. Instead of taking fifty swings with your driver, work on your short game. Pros put themselves in awkward positions that they may face during a round. The more you practice these types of shots, the better prepared you will be when faced with similar situations.

Take a look a the following video. Joe Beck explains how to hit the wedge putt. Learning this shot will definitely lower your scores. Have a good one and always hit your target.

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It's A European Invasion On The PGA Tour


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in | Posted on Thursday, June 24, 2010

Both of the Ryder Cup captains are competing this weekend on their respective tours. Corey Pavin is playing in the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands located in Cromwell Connecticut. Colin Montgomerie is taking his shot at the BMW International Open championship at Golfclub Munchen Nord-Eichenried in Munich, Germany.

The Europeans have been dominating the PGA Tour over the past few weeks. The last three tournaments have gone to players from across the pond. An international player has won seven of the last eight events. Zach Johnson is the only American to post a win in that period with his win of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Country Club.

If the Ryder Cup were to be played right now, and I was a betting man, I would have to put my money on the Europeans. They are playing the best golf at the moment. Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, and Graeme Mcdowell all won for the first time on U.S. soil this year. Their confidence has to be sky high leading up to the dual in October. While the European players are coming into form, questions seem to arise about the top American players.

Tiger Woods is still working his way back into the game. He showed glimpses of the old Tiger that we had become accustomed to. He holed a few big putts, hit some big shots, and we were finally treated to the first real "Tiger fist pump" of the season. But people are still wondering if he will ever dominate the game again as did for so many years.

Phil Mickelson won the Masters, but everyone still holds their breath when lefty sets up over his Callaway. Mickelson does tremendous things on a golf course. He has thrilled with some of the most amazing shots of all time. But the question always looms. What will Phil do next?

Other members from the 2008 Ryder Cup team are struggling as well. Anthony Kim won earlier in the year, but had surgery to repair his thumb. It may take him some time to fully recover. Kim was the young spark that the U.S. team needed to help them to victory.

Kenny Perry has begun to question his own game, contemplating a run on the Champions Tour. His play this year has been inconsistent and he will probably not make the team this year. Last year, Perry used the fact the he was playing in his native Kentucky as motivation. Perry made his bid all season long and when he was named to the team, he took full advantage of the moment.

We all remember Boo Weekley's antics on the course, but Boo has also been dealing with nagging injuries. He was the guy that kept everybody loose. Every team needs that guy. The guy who can joke around, but still bring it when the time comes.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think all hope is lost. Steve Stricker, Hunter Mahan, and Jim Furyk, all members of the last Ryder Cup team , have won this season. The Cup will be as competitive as ever. It just seems that in recent weeks, the Europeans have been able to make the clutch putts and close the door.

There is still a lot of golf to be played before we get to see this great rivalry play out. I'm sure that both Pavin and Montgomerie are both playing this weekend mostly to see how the guys are playing. They will be looking for the golfers who are playing the best and most consistently right now.

Every professional American or European golfer dreams of the day that they can compete in this historic event. It is a chance to be amongst the best and represent your nation. There is a lot of pride involved and neither team wants to be the one to go back home with their head hung low.

Have a good one and always hit your target.

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It's The Grand Opening Of Golf Tips & Quips Pro Shop & Bookstore!!!


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in | Posted on Tuesday, June 22, 2010

And now it's time for a shameless plug...Golf Tips & Quips Pro Shop & Bookstore is now open for business. Find "everything" golf from books, equipment, and apparel to fulfill your golfing needs. Whether you want to discover the best courses in the world, work on you putting, or sport the latest in golf fashion, Golf Tips & Quips Pro Shop & Bookstore has what you need.

And now back to your regularly scheduled program. Have a good one and always hit your target.

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I'm Friends With U.S. Open Champion Graeme McDowell


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Monday, June 21, 2010

It's true! I'm friends with Graeme McDowell, along with 4834 other people on Facebook, but we're friends none the less. Over the past four days we looked at the keys to winning The U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Michael Breed of The Golf Fix outlined four areas of the golf game that needed to be in top form in order to navigate this scenic but difficult track.

The four areas were:

1.)Drive the fairways.
2.)Know how to hit a knock down shot.
3.)Have a good wedge game.
4.)Make the putts.

McDowell did everything on this list well in order to win the championship. He drove the ball fairly well hitting sixty six percent of his fairways. He found himself amongst some of the bombers of the modern game. Dustin Johnson crushes the ball off the tee. We all know how long Tiger Woods can be when he wants to show it. Phil Mickelson has been hitting the ball further than at any other time in his career. Ernie Els still puts it out there a ways with "easy" swing motion. He often found himself thirty or forty yards behind his playing partner.

McDowell, however, played the course. He played "position" golf. When he missed the fairways he left himself in a good position to recover and save par. His wedge game was excellent. He played a variety of sand shots and showed great touch around the greens. He always left himself with a chance at a good putt.

The wind, as always, came into play at Pebble Beach. During the third round, the pros were having fits over the pin placement on the par 3 7th hole. The hole was only playing to 99 yards, but with wind at there backs, the hole on the very front of the green, it made it almost impossible to stop the ball anywhere close to the hole.

Ian Poulter, who is my friend too(on Facebook), had the highlight of the day, not for his shot tee shot on the 7th, but for his reaction after the shot. Poulter had a mini-meltdown and looked directly into the NBC cameras asking how anyone was supposed to hit a spot that small and have it stop. Johnson seemed to be the only one to have the solution when he stuck his shot within inches of the cup for a tap in birdie.

In the post round press conference, Tiger repeatedly said that he left himself on the wrong side of the hole. He was always above the hole having to make putts going downhill. Poana greens are difficult to read and caused some to play the blame game. It grows in all kinds of directions. If you are below the hole you can be more aggressive to take out some of the break. When you are putting downhill, it becomes much more of guessing game. With the greens running as fast as they were, any little bump would send the ball offline and racing past the hole.

Of the four points that Breed talked about, putting definitely played the biggest part in the outcome of the championship. We have all heard the quote, "Drive for show, putt for dough." Nothing was truer this past weekend. while everyone started missing their putts, McDowell kept his composure and made his.

Putting wins championships. Hands down. In my own little rivalry with my buddy Mario, the reason I took home the trophy was because I made my putts. He is clearly the better ball striker and he hits it a ton, but around the greens, I have him beat. I kept the three-putts to a minimum and finally outlasted him.

I'm off to the putting green before I watch tonight's episode of The Golf Fix. I'll leave you with this limerick by Mike Southern of the Ruthless Golf blog. It pretty much sums up the 2010 U.S. Open. Congratulations to Graeme McDowell. If the world didn't know who you were before, they do now.

Hear the legend of Graeme McDowell:
While Pebble’s greens caused men to growl,
Graeme did his rebutting
By calmly outputting
Them all, till they threw in the towel.

Mike Southern - Ruthless Golf

Have a good one and always hit your target.

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