Just Put That Dumb Guy On That Dumb Guy - Golf's Ugliest Swings


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , | Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011

Everyone has their own authentic swing. I have heard golf instructors say that the only thing that matters in the swing is how the clubface impacts the ball. There have been many golfers on the professional tours that have been successful with less than perfect looking swings. The one thing that they all have in common is that they get themselves into a position to deliver a solid strike.  

Lee Trevino's swing was hideous. Gary Player should never give anyone a lesson on the golf swing unless it is out of the bunker. Arnold Palmer's head moved more than a bobble head doll. Yet they were all great champions because they knew how to "move that dumb guy to that dumb guy"(That last statement will make more sense once you watch the video).

My former swing could have easily ended up as a part of this video. I had all kinds of moving parts. Elbows flaring. Twisting forearms. Head bobbing. It was nothing pretty. Personally, I'll continue to work on the mechanics that have been taught to me because I am getting better results and I prefer to look good while on the golf course. Call me superficial I guess.

Enjoy the video. You have probably seen it on The Golf Channel but it never gets old. I especially like the Peter Jacobsen impressions. I wonder if he can do my old swing. Have a great round and always hit your target.

Photo found here. Sorry Charles.

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Upset Vs. Disappointment At The WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , | Posted on Friday, February 25, 2011

Before the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, I started to fill out a bracket sheet and then I stopped. It is an impossible task. There is no rhyme or reason to picking who could win on any particular day. We have all heard that golf is a game of inches, but it is also a game that separates players by decimal points. 

When it comes to the NCAA Basketball Tournament, there are clear underdogs. The team that is the number 16 team in each bracket is not expected to beat the number 1 seed in that same bracket. That is a true upset. I don't think it works the same in golf.

The announcers and analyst keep talking about all the upsets that have taken place. Some are saying that the brackets are busted, but I'm not buying it. I would say it is more of a disappointment that the higher seed has lost. In golf the separation between number 1 and number 64 is marginal. 

I am not a numbers guy like some of my fellow golf bloggers are but I have talked to teaching pros and they will tell you for instance, and I'm just throwing out a number, that Lee Westwood averages 68.2 per round while the 64th ranked player averages 69.8 strokes per round. All you statistics purest can tell me the real numbers but the point I'm trying to make is that it is not a true upset. Maybe just a disappointment.

And who's disappointed. The Golf Channel and their analyst. They know that when a number one seed goes down early in the tournament, ratings may fall with them as well. It is a well known fact that when Tiger is in contention going into the last day, viewership spikes. Whenever a top seed is sent home, they have to scramble for another story, or in most cases they just stretch the story as to why Tiger and Phil lost.

An upset maybe. But more of a disappointment that your favorite player is no longer in the running. I love golf now and I can watch anybody play, but if this were three years ago when I first started playing and Tiger was all that I knew, I would have been very disappointed. I would not have watched the rest of the tournament, because for me, it would have lost its main draw. 

Now that I understand the game, I can appreciate a low seed taking out the higher seed. These guys are good. They are all good. Anyone of these players can win on any given day, especially under the match play format. So we may be disappointed that Tiger, Phil, Ian, and Lee are no longer in the tournament, but I certainly wouldn't consider it an upset. What do you think?

Have a great round and always hit your target.

Photo found here

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Ben Crane Takes Out Rory McIlroy And Makes Funny Videos


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , | Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ben Crane is hilarious and he is a good golfer as well. After two rounds, he made his way into the sweet 16 of the WGC - Accenture Match Play Championship being held at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Marana Arizona. The 10 seed defeated Australia's Adam Scott 4 and 2 yesterday and dismantled Rory Mcilroy today beating him 8 and 7. Still it seems no one is talking about him. 

Crane has three championships under his belt with the most recent one coming in 2010 at the Farmer Insurance Open. As much as I like him as a golfer, the reason I am a fan is for his off the course antics.

Golf sometimes gets a reputation of being one of those stuck up sports. Most of my friends will not even watch a golf tournament because in their eyes, the golfers are boring and there isn't enough excitement to hold their attention.

Crane is someone who goes against common perception. He may not be the most flamboyant golfer during a tournament but he has plenty of personality. He made a couple of videos for his website and they have been featured on the Golf Channel and other golf blogs. Even my swing coach got in on the act.

It is refreshing to see someone with a little personality on the tour. Someone who is not afraid to make a fool of himself without regard to what other people think. In light of what has happened with Tiger Woods, it seems more so than ever, that golfers are careful of what they do and say in the public eye.

I just wish more golfers would just be themselves. Golf is a game played by ladies and gentleman, but that does not mean we have to be so serious all the time. I don't expect Crane to act like he does in the videos while on the course, but at least we know that he is not afraid to allow people to see him for who he really is...A good golfer who likes to have fun. Have a great round and always hit your target.

Photo found here.

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David Feherty Says, "Always Hit Your Target"


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , | Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2011

David Feherty is one of my favorite golf personalities. The former pro always has the best one-liners during a golf telecast. His analogies always leave me laughing as I watch the pros do their thing as I sit on my couch.

Besides being an on-course announcer, Feherty has touched the lives of many through his work with America's injured soldiers. After his own bicycle accident that nearly took his life, he has dedicated his life to helping others who have suffered traumatic injuries.

After reading this article by Ryan Ballengee over at Pro Golf Talk, it is evident that Feherty is willing to go the extra mile to promote the game of golf. Feherty visited the students at J. Erik Jonsson Community School, and after giving the kids a little pep talk, he donned a suit with a couple of targets on the front. Like I said, Feherty is great at giving people a good laugh, but I'm sure there are less painful ways to do so. You're a better and tougher man than I am Mr. Feherty.

Have a great round and always hit your target. No pun intended:-)

Photo found here.

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Chipping And Putting At Kokopelli Golf Club


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , , , , | Posted on Monday, February 21, 2011

I visited Kokopelli Golf Club today for a little putting and chipping practice. I shared that I had found a good driving range and I think I will continue to work on my full swing at that location. Kokopelli's range was crowded, so coming here might mean a lengthy wait just to hit balls.

Kokopelli has a nice practice area where one can work on all facets of the game. Besides being too pushy with my swing, my putting has not been very good. The main thing I wanted to work on today was pace.

I started out with an around-the-world drill. If you look at the picture on the right, you can see what I am talking about. The good thing about this drill is that you get to practice different breaks from the same distance. This hole was on a slight incline, so from one angle it breaks from left to right. From the opposite side, it breaks from right to left. One side is uphill, while the opposite direction is downhill.

I did this for about 20 minutes. After the twenty minutes was up, I had to go around-the-world three times without missing a putt before I could move on to the next drill. By doing this, I put a little pressure on myself to simulate game-like conditions. Playing games like this help to keep the boredom away that comes with repetition. It also gave me a positive visual. Seeing the ball go into the hole over and over should give me more confidence when I am faced with a similar situation during a round.

Once I holed the twelve putts in a row, I moved on to lag putting. I picked holes that were off at a distance and played it as if I had just reached the green in regulation. My only objective was to put the ball in the hole by two-putting.

All I was trying to do with my first putt was to get it to within a three foot radius of the hole. This would bring me back to my prior drill and back into the comfort zone. This drill takes the pressure off the first putt. I often find myself trying too hard to make birdie, when I should be thinking about making a good lag putt, which would leave me with a tap-in par.

I moved on to the chipping area. I hardly ever use my 60 degree lob wedge. I am more of a bump and run kind of guy, but I need to add this skill set to my repertoire in order to have a more complete game.

I worked on the drill that Troy Vayanos gave us when he did his guest post on chipping. Be sure to read the article, because I can not explain it as well as he does. The exercise puts an emphasis on keeping the hands ahead of shaft and clubface. As amateurs we tend to try and help the ball up into the air by flipping our right hand. Keeping the hands forward ensures more consistent results.

I am going to have to practice this drill a lot more. I think my biggest hang up right now is trusting that I can make a big swing, and if I catch it right, it will only go a short distance. I have to trust the loft of the club. I figure it will come with practice. It is a "been there done that" situation. The more I practice, the more confident I will be when the shot counts.

I skipped the range, because it stayed pack the entire time I was there. As I said in a prior post, I have to be more efficient with my practice time anyway. Today was all about putting and chipping. I am feeling a little bit better about this part of my game. I just need to stay consistent with my routine. This game can be mean if it feels that it is being ignored. Have a great round and always hit your target.

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Aaron Baddeley Wins The Northern Trust Open With His Eyes Closed


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , , | Posted on Sunday, February 20, 2011

Well...Not really. What I am referring to is something that I noticed in Aaron Baddeley's pre-shot routine which may have been the secret as to why he won The Northern Trust Open held at the famed Riviera Country Club. Just before he walks up to his ball, he closes his eyes. It's only for about two or three seconds, but for a moment, he is in his own world.

He does this as a means to visualize how he wants to shape his his next shot. A lot of players talk about visualizing their shot before they attempt it. It is a way to give yourself a clear picture of the outcome that is desired.

In the video below, Baddeley said that he had problems visualizing his shots with his eyes open. Too many distractions. When he closes his eyes, his "minds eye" takes over, and his attention becomes singular, only focused on making a proper swing.

This was Baddeley's first win since 2007 when he won the Waste Management, Phoenix Open, formerly known as the FBR. It is hard to say why there was so much time between victories. Some might say it was because he was going back and forth between the Stack & Tilt and a more conventional swing. None of that matters anymore for the moment. This was a quality win in a tournament that boasted a field with a lot of big names. 

Maybe I'll try this technique. It may look a little strange, but I'll try anything if it will help me make a few more putts. Have a great round and always hit your target.

***This is an episode of Playing Lessons From The Pros in which Baddeley talks about closing his eyes during his pre-shot routine.  

Photo found here

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Short Term Memory Is A Good Thing In Golf


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , , , | Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

My virtual swing coach Mike Southern usually does a swing analysis of the winner of the tournament from the previous weekend. The latest installment featured D.A. points, winner of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

This post was very informative about his swing but it also gave me a little lesson about a certain mentality that I should bring to the course. Mike ended his post with this thought.

"You don't have to be perfect to get it close, just solid."

This statement reminded me that I do not have to perfect with every shot. And when I am not perfect, I have to remember that I still have a chance to get it up and down to save par. Sometimes after shots where I miss the green, I psyche myself out by thinking, "now I have to scramble to save par and hopefully not make bogey."

This way of thinking is too negative. My thoughts should be, make a good swing on my next shot. If I make a solid chip, or a solid sand shot, that will put me in great position for a par. Michael Breed shared this on the latest episode of The Golf Fix. He said, "If don't, then don't." If we are standing over the ball and we are thinking, I don't want to hit it into the bunker, then don't take the shot. Clear your head of the negativity first and then hit the shot.

I'm starting to understand more and more that golf is a game of perspective. And that perspective can have a positive or negative effect on the outcome of my game. As amateurs we have different beliefs from the pros. We believe that if we end up in the bunker, there's a chance we might leave it in the bunker, and then we do.

Professional, however, have a different way of thinking. They may get a little upset as well, but they know how to release the negativity very quickly. We always here that golfers should have short term memories. Any negative thoughts from our last bad shot will transfer into our next shot if we do not learn to just let it go.

We do not have to be perfect, we just have to build a solid game. D.A. points had a solid day in his short game because he put himself in position to do so. That stemmed for having a solid day off the tee. With his shots into the green, he left himself with shots that were up and around the green. And from there he had the confidence to get up and down. He never let his mistakes effect what he did next.

So I'll continue to work on building a more solid and well rounded game. That will come from practice and remembering that I do not have to be perfect. No one can be perfect at the game of golf. It's impossible, so there is no reason to beat myself up if I miss a green. All I have is the next shot and that is all I need to concern myself with. Have a great round and always hit your target.

Photo found here.

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Stop Being So Pushy


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , , , | Posted on Saturday, February 12, 2011

I paid another visit to Arizona Biltmore Country Club yesterday. I was joined by The Doctor, Bryse, and T-Mose. I was eager to play the Links Course again because I felt that I could shoot better than the 91 that I put up on Monday. This was only my second time playing this course, but I figured that since I had seen the course once before, I would easily better my previous effort.

Well...I didn't. Shot a 92. The front 9 was a bit of a roller coaster ride. I bogeyed the first four holes, which is fine. I'm a bogey golfer right now. If I mix in a few pars, I'm in the 80's for the round. I then preceded to double the next two holes which hurt, especially after the drive on the par 4, 6th.

I hit a nice drive about 250 yards (see my video below) down the left hand side of the fairway. I was in perfect position for my second shot into the green. Unfortunately, that's when I came down with a case of the "pushes". I had a straight forward shot of 91 yards to the front of the green and I put it in the bunker right of the green.

From there, I had a downhill lie out of the bunker, with no green to work with. I sculled it and put the ball into the bunker on the opposite side of the green. I could feel my blood starting to boil. I got out and then two putted from there for a six. Perfect drive. Nothing to show for it.

The "pushes" plagued me for much of the round. I ended up in bunker after bunker. My sand game was really tested today. The fellas joked that maybe subconsciously, I was wishing I was still on the shores of South Beach.

I did have a personal victory on the par 4, 12th. The last time I played this hole, I hit a perfect hybrid right down the center of the fairway. Unfortunately, there is a lake that splits the fairway and green about 200 yards from the tee, and my ball ended up on the drink.

I decided to go with 7-iron this time. I just wanted to get it out there to leave my self with a wedge in hand for my second shot. Bryce jokingly asked me, "Is that your hybrid?" Not this time. I learned my lesson. I hit a great tee shot, put my next shot on the green, and two-putted from there for an easy par.

Now from the sublime to the ridiculous. I bogeyed the next for holes before coming to the par 4, 17th. I was on pace for a score in the 80's. The fairway slopes severely from right to left off the tee. I aimed down the right side of the fairway and let one rip and then I heard, "That's out bounds." "Ha Ha Ha!!!"

There was a foursome of ladies behind us and one of them thought it was the funniest thing in the world that I had hit it O.B. It wouldn't have been bad if she had left it that, but she kept on. "I saw it." "It rolled way down in the ditch." " Your ball is gone." Okay, I get it. Bad shot.

I don't know why I let it bother me so much, but that hole was pretty much done after that. I hit my next shot off a tree and out of bounds again. The following shot sailed over the green and I was left with an uphill chip that I left about 40 feet short of the hole. After a gruesome 3-putt, I walked off the green with a round killing 9.

If I am ever to break 80, I have to learn how to eliminate these careless mistakes. Instead of going for the green after I had hit it O.B., I should have chipped back into the fairway, and given myself a chance at bogey.

Good course management, in my opinion, is more important here in Arizona than it was in Florida. The courses are flat in Florida, and one can still have a flat lie after an errant shot. There are many more elevation changes and undulations here in Arizona. Even when laying up, you have to be precise with your yardage. You might be in the fairway, but may be stuck with a downhill lie with the ball below your feet.

This week I'll be working on straighten out my wedges and irons as well as spending some time on the putting green. I missed a couple of shorties today that would have again, had me in the mid-80's. Ahhh...those testy little 4-footers. Have a great round and always hit your target.

Posted: 2/12/2011 • Share on Facebook
Arizona Biltmore Golf & Country Club (Links) Tees: Regular, Slope: 117, Rating: 67.0

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


5 6 4 5 5 6 5 4 6

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

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


6 4 4 5 5 4 4 9 5

# Putts: 1 2 2 2 3 2 2 3 2

Pars: 3
Bogeys: 12
Doubles: 2
Other: 1
Par 3 Avg: 4.2
Par 4 Avg: 5.3
Par 5 Avg: 5.8
FIR: 5 / 13
GIR: 4 / 18
Putts: 35
Putts per GIR: 2.3
Scrambling: 0 / 14
Bounce Backs: 3 / 15