Mike Southern Gets Ruthless With My Putting-Why Accelerating Your Putter Is a Bad Idea


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , | Posted on Thursday, April 28, 2011

Recently, Mike Southern has been giving me some advice on how to get more height on my tee shot with my driver. I want to get more distance with my driver so that I can be in a position to use my shorter irons into the green. My green in regulation percentage is currently a dismal 12.99. This makes it hard to score well, as I am always having to get up and down to save par.

In order to address this problem, Mike asked me to keep some notes during my next round of golf. He told me to

"...scribble notes on your scorecard when you hit a bad shot. Note what happened -- long, short, left, right, or any combination of them -- and how you felt -- you fell forward, pushed the shot, whatever. Do that for each approach shot, then we'll look for patterns.

Once we know the pattern, we'll know what the problem is and how to address it."

As I was looking at my stats on stracka.com, I realized that I had another major problem which led to this conversation.

So I was just looking at my stats. I keep them at stracka.com. My GIR percentage is 12.99. But here's something that is interesting. My overall putts per hole is 1.89. When I get to the green in regulation though, it goes up to 2.25. So it looks like I have to work on my putting as well.

I detected one of the problems. Most of the greens I hit in regulation are on the par 3's. During my last round at Dove Valley, I hit 3 out 4 of the par 3's in regulation. The 3 greens that I hit, I 3-putted each of them. This is where I am losing valuable strokes.

Mike came back with,

Let me guess... you've been listening to all that crap about "accelerating the putter through the ball."

That's a sure way to destroy both line and feel.

To which I responded,

Isn't that what all the pros say? "Accelerate through the ball and then hold the follow through."

Apparently I found one of Mike's pet peeves when it comes to the way putting is taught because he was prompted to write Why Accelerating Through The Ball Is A Bad Idea, which explained some of the misconceptions of using the words "accelerate through the ball".

Mike hit on three points which refutes the idea that accelerating through the ball is a good idea. They are...

1) The Relaxed Grip Conundrum
2) The Nature of Gravity
3) Driving a Tack

I encourage you to read this article. I cannot explain it the way Mike does and I don't want to just copy and paste the entire post. The way he lays it out makes sense. What I took away from it is that when I try to accelerate through the ball, I am fighting against what happens naturally according the Law of Inertia, Newton's First Law Of Motion.

Since I have been working with Mike, he has been trying to get me to understand that the golf swing is better understood and executed when I do the things that come naturally to me. As amateurs, we tend to fight against, or make things up with regards to making a golf swing, or in this case, a putting stroke. When we start to understand that the mechanics of a golf swing mimics everyday motions we do without thought, our golf game will improve tremendously.

Over the next few days I will be working on what Mike explained in his article. Hopefully I can make a few videos demonstrating what I am working on. That should be interesting to say the least, but I have to make the mistakes so that I know what I need to work on in order to get better. Have a great round and always hit your target.

*Bobby Jones' take on good putting technique. As Mike points out in his article, Jones never mentions the words, "accelerate through the ball."

Photo found here.

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Dancing With The Stars...The Ben Crane Edition


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , | Posted on Monday, April 25, 2011

Dancing, Dancing, Dancing...He's a dancing machiiiiine. Who says Ben Crane is boring? Every time someone has criticism for the 4 time PGA winner, he proves them wrong. It also seems that every time he releases a new video he plays well. Crane finished T6 at The Heritage this past weekend, just four shots behind eventual winner, Brandt Snedeker.

In this latest installment, Crane shows off his moves on the dance floor. Who wouldn't want to hang out with this guy? Have a great round and always hit your target.

Photo found here.

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Trying To Get More Height With My Driver Off The Tee


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , | Posted on Friday, April 22, 2011

In my last post I mentioned that I was having trouble getting any loft with my driver. I am hitting it pretty straight, but I am not seeing the height that the pros get when the unleash the big stick.

This was actually a good thing during my last round because many of our tee shots were into the wind. My playing partners assumed that I was keeping the ball low on purpose to help cut through the wind. I just went along with it, pretending to know what I was doing. The fact of the matter is, that's all I've got with my driver. My 3-wood needs some work as well.

I was trying to work it out on the range yesterday, but I couldn't figure it out. After my session, I jumped on youtube to find some tips, but surprisingly, there isn't much. There's a lot of "hit longer", "hit it straighter", "cure your slice", but not much on hitting it high or low.

I decided to delve into the archives of my virtual swing coach's blog, Ruthless Golf. After a few minutes of searching, I came across this post by Mike and I think we may be onto something.

In this post, Mike says that amateurs are better off learning about trajectory rather than trying to learn to shape the ball. He says...

"Players think that draws fly farther than fades, and fades stop quicker than draws. That's only partially right. The way most people hit them, draws travel farther because they fly lower, and fades stop quicker because they fly higher. But if you hit a high draw, it will stop faster; if you hit a low fade (sometimes called a power fade), it will fly farther."

A golfer has to have complete control of their swing in order to pull of a proper draw or fade. Professionals hit fades and draws all the time and are successful because they know exactly how to execute these shots under the right conditions. Most amateurs don't have this "touch" and end up hitting the wrong shot for the situation.

After reading Mikes post and viewing the video that he posted(see below as well), I think my problem is ball position. I may have the ball a little too far back in my stance which causes a lower ball fight. This will be fine for now because the fairways in Arizona will be firmer due to the extreme heat. The ball tends to roll out after hitting the turf. So even if I only have a carry of say 210 yards, it can still get out to 250 yards before it comes to a stop.

If the fairways are soft or I have to carry water or desert to get to the fairway, I will be in trouble if I don't get some height on my tee shot. Under these conditions, my ball will not roll out as much because the grass is moist. If there is water to carry, then I have to hit a good one, or hope that my ball skips across the water to make it to the fairway. If I hit into the desert, it's a ball lost, because there might be rattlesnakes. I'm quick but not quick enough to dodge a snake strike.

I'll work it out on the range over the next couple of days and get back to you with the results. The loft on my driver is 10.5 so I don't think that is the problem(although I was never fitted for my driver). Hopefully the fix is just moving my the ball slightly forward. That would be much better than having to buy a new $300 driver. Have a great round and always hit your target.

Photo found here.

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Dove Valley Ranch Golf Club


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , | Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011

Let me just start off by saying that Dove Valley Ranch Golf Club is absolutely gorgeous. The pictures on their website are not embellished or touched up at all. What you see is what you get and what you get is a scenic round of golf on a very well manicured course.

Dove Valley is described as "a desert style golf course with hints of tradition, such as ample fairways and subtly contoured greens with openings in front, featuring a low, rolling mix of holes of varying difficulty."

On a lot of the courses in Arizona, golfers are penalized for missing the fairways off the tee because of the fact that your ball ends up in the desert if you are off line. While there is plenty of desert on this course, there is also enough rough just off the fairway, so that you will still be able to have a chance at going for the green in regulation.

The Doctor and I arrived just in time for our tee time due to the fact that our GPS took us way off course. We ended up on Dove Valley Rd. which is dirt, and in the middle of nowhere. If you are going to visit this course, be sure to put in "Dove Valley Golf Club" and not just "Dove Valley" or you will end up in rodeo country.

I hate starting a round without warm up but we had no choice. Patrick Gibbons, founder of Patrick Gibbons Handmade Exotic Golf was waiting for us on the 1st tee after we paid for our 1:30 time slot. I wasn't expecting much from the round but ended up doing alright.

I parred three of the first five holes which was a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, I had trouble putting...Again. I knocked in a few great putts to save par, but I also 3-putted five times. Take away those extra putts and I shoot an 85. Like I've said before, I need to practice on really good greens like they have at Dove Valley and some of the other quality courses in the area. The course superintendent has done a great job to ensure that golfers are treated to tournament like conditions, and if you are not used to them, they tend to be a little slippery.

My favorite hole is probably the par 4 12th. It is a split fairway hole which you can play down the right to be safe, or if you're feeling good about your game, playing down the left will leave you with a wedge into the green.

For some reason, my driver wasn't getting more than twenty feet off the ground so I played it safe to the right. I was hitting it straight, just no loft. Going the direct route requires a tee shot that carries over tall cactus trees. The Doctor went for it and was rewarded with a short wedge into the green. I'll definitely be working on getting more height on my tee shot so that I can take advantage of a hole like this.

This is a course that everyone should play when making a trip to Arizona. For the price, location, and the quality of the course conditions, you will be hard press to find a better value. The friendly staff in the club house and pro shop only enhances the entire experience.

Stayed tuned for my next course review. It is about to get really hot, but that is not going to stop me from getting out there. Lots of water, Gatorade, and will power, should get me through. Have a great round and always hit your target.


Posted: 4/14/2011 Share on Facebook
Dove Valley Ranch (Dove Valley) Tees: Gold, Slope: 120, Rating: 70.0
Attested By: DrAnt23

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


5 6 4 4 4 4 5 7 5

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

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


5 5 5 4 4 6 5 6 6

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

Pars: 4
Bogeys: 10
Doubles: 4
Par 3 Avg: 4.3
Par 4 Avg: 4.9
Par 5 Avg: 6.0
FIR: 7 / 14
GIR: 5 / 18
Putts: 36
Putts per GIR: 2.8
Scrambling: 3 / 13
Bounce Backs: 2 / 13

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Up Next...Dove Valley Ranch Golf Club


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , | Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Arizona is littered with great courses and I don't think I will be disappointed when I take on the golf course at Dove Valley Ranch Golf Club. This Robert Trent Jones Jr. design won Arizona's Best New Public Golf Course when it debuted in 1998 and judging from the pictures, it is easy to see why they earned the accolades.

Dove Valley claims that it is "a desert style golf course with hints of tradition, such as ample fairways and subtly contoured greens with openings in front, featuring a low, rolling mix of holes of varying difficulty." So while there is the desert feel, there is still the rough seen on most traditional courses instead of cactus and big boulders.

Before I played at Kokopelli Golf Club, I devised a plan of attack for my round. Dove Valley Ranch's website also does a good job of describing their holes so that you can be better prepared before your round. It doesn't have the yardages, but I can still get a good feel for proper club selection and what hazards to avoid.

The Doctor and I will be joined by Patrick Gibbons who is the founder of Patrick Gibbons, Handmade Exotic Golf. We had the pleasure of meeting Patrick last week after I discovered his collection online while looking for fresh and innovative golf attire. He is a local entrepreneur who is quickly becoming global. He showed us a picture of Kevin Streelman wearing one of his belts at The Masters this past weekend. It won't be long before the Handmade logo becomes mainstream in the golf community and beyond.

The game plan is  to simply hopefully follow the suggestions made available by the hole-by-hole description. I worked on my short game yesterday and today I will hit some balls at the driving range. I was a little shaky off the tee during my last round so I need to tighten that up a bit. The fairways seem to be fairly generous at Dove Valley. I want to take advantage of this fact so that I have a lot of short irons into the greens.

Stop back by for my next post. As always, I will have my course review, pictures, and the results of the round. Until then, have a look at the course layout. If you have played this course before, or have any tips, feel free to leave a comment. Any bit of course knowledge will be a help. Have a great round and always hit your target.

Photos found here.

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