Do You Know Your Bounce Angles?

2

Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , | Posted on Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I just finished watching last nights replay of The Golf Fix with Michael Breed. The topic was wedge play, which is something I was very interested in, because this is where I lose strokes if I am not able to cozy the ball up to the hole within tap in distance from just off the green.

Mike Southern recently posted an article called I'm stuck in the Greenside Rough. At the end of his article he jokingly said, "Of course, if the weather stays this hot, I may have to post a tip on playing hardpan... or maybe cracked mud..." I immediately commented by saying, "Actually...That would be a good post for me. Some of the courses out here in Phoenix, such as the last one I played, had areas where the rough wasn't grass. It was like hard clay. You can see them in my pictures. Not the easiest shot to execute with any kind of consistency. At least not for me."

As always, Mike responds to his readers wishes, and he followed up with an article entitled, What Rough? This Is Hardpan. After reading this article, I realized why I was struggling with my shots off of a hardpan lie. Too much bounce.

In my last round, I had two shots that were from my favorite distance, which is 110 yards with a sandwedge in my hands. Both shots were off a hardpan lie, and on both occasions, I left my shots well short of the green. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong until Mike explained that on this type of lie, a club with less bounce is needed.

During this episode of The Golf Fix, Breed visited wedge guru Bob Vokey in the Titleist truck, which travels to each PGA Tour event to aide the players that use their equipment. Breed and Vokey touched on the subject of bounce and they confirmed what Mike had taught me. Vokey even mentioned that golfers in Arizona, where I live, need less bounce on their wedges than someone who lives in another region of the country where the turf doesn't get as baked by the extreme heat.

My 60 degree wedge has 7 degrees of bounce and my 52 degree wedge has 8 degrees of bounce. My sandwedge, however, doesn't have the number on the wedge, but I would say it has somewhere between 12 and 14 degrees of bounce. What I should have done on the two shots I mentioned before was take my 52 degree or maybe a pitching wedge which has less bounce and hit more of a knockdown shot.

I'm playing a course this week which has areas that will leave me with a hardpan lie if I miss the fairway off the tee. I don't want to be in this situation, but I am actually looking forward to trying it out now that I have a little more knowledge of how to execute this tricky shot. Most of the United States is experiencing very hot weather, so you too may be faced with a similar situation. Hopefully this will help you as well. Have a great round and always hit your target.


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Setting New Goals For My Golf Game

12

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

At the beginning of 2011 I set a few goals for myself as far as golf is concerned. I started the year as a 13.6 handicap and my best round as of January 1st was an 81, but I was still averaging around 90 for 18 holes. The goals were to break 80 and to get down to a 12 handicap.

Well, here we are six and half months into the year, and as the title of this post suggests, I have achieved these goals and need to set some new ones. I have since broken 80 twice and and I am currently a 12.4 handicap. I have been as low as a 12.2, but I had a few faulty rounds that set me back a little. My last three rounds however, have me on pace to be at an 11.7 when my handicap index resets at the end of the month.

I was wondering what my new goals should be and Mike Southern suggested that I follow the lead of Heather Anderson Jones, creator of Real Women Golf. Last year her goal was to get down to a single digit handicap and she was able to accomplish this feat after a lot of hard work and dedication.

I think this a good goal for me to achieve and one that I believe that I can attain. In order to do this, I need to average around 82-83 strokes per round for the rest of the year. According to my Stracka stats, I am averaging 84.9 strokes for my last 20 rounds. This is a huge improvement from the beginning of the year when I was still hovering around 90 per.

As far as a new scoring low, I think my focus will remain on averaging between 82 and 83 as I mentioned before. As far a specific number is concerned, I'll say that I want to break 80 at least ten more times this year. If I accomplish this, becoming a single digit handicap will be no problem.

I believe goal setting is important when it comes to golf. If I am serious about improving, I need to have a target at which to aim for. It's like taking a golf shot. If you just go out and swing at the ball without focusing on a target, the task at hand(getting the ball in the hole), will take forever or may not happen at all. The same holds true with my golf game.

Once I set my initial goals at the beginning of the year, my game began to improve. This is because I had a clear cut objective, and with the help of Mike, I practiced the skills that helped me get there. As I talked about in my last post, I'm feeling a lot more confident about my swing and the results are showing in my rounds. I have a ways to go but as Mike always reminds me, I'm close. Soon and hopefully very soon, I will be there. Have a great round and always hit your target.

Photo found here.


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Mike Southern Keeps His Promises

6

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

A couple of posts ago I talked about setting a personal scoring record for 18 holes of golf by shooting a 78. I am getting better and better or should I say more confident with my swing as I continue to practice the drills that Mike Southern gave me and The Doctor back at the end of May.

After taking a look at my swing, Mike put together a series of five posts with specific drills to get rid of the twisting motion in my forearms that was robbing me of distance and consistency. He promised me that if I practiced these drills, "I would pick up some yardage by the time we're done, simply because you'll be using your strength more efficiently. And you shouldn't feel as if you're working as hard to do it."

His words have proven to be prophetic because I have gained a significant amount of distance with all of my clubs and it doesn't feel as if I have to swing any harder to do so. Let's take a look at my club distances before and after working on the drills.

Before/After measured in yards under ideal conditions.

Lob Wedge - 70/100
Sand Wedge - 80/110
Gap Wedge - 100/120
Pitching Wedge - 110/135
9-iron - 120/145
8-iron - 130/155-160
7-iron - 140/165-170
6-iron - 150/175-180(rarely use it though)
5-iron - Stays in the bag
4-iron - Stays in the bag
22 degree hybrid - 180/220
3-wood - Stays in the bag because I can't hit it for some reason(Mike has me working on something for this club. We'll come back to this issue in a future post).
Driver - 230-240/260-275(on occasion, even farther)

This is an extreme advantage because now that I am longer off the tee, I am hitting more wedges and short irons into the green for my approach shots. Even if I am 160-165 yards out I can hit an 8-iron instead of thinking about hitting a 5-iron, which I can't hit. Because I don't hit a 5-iron, I would have to choke down on my hybrid and swing easier, which added to my inconsistency.

Mike and I were talking and we both agreed that my confidence factor has gone up a notch. This is because my ball striking has improved and also because I am doing what my body wants to do naturally. One of the things Mike mentioned was, "with your forearms relaxed and in this position, the natural forces in the golf swing act automatically. Anything that happens naturally tends to happen more consistently, and that's what we're after." And that is exactly what has happened.

During my "78" round, my best shot came on the par 3, 4th which measures 179 on the scorecard. The hole plays over water with a bunker guarding the right side of the green. The pin position was at about 170 yards. I took out my 8-iron because I wanted to keep the ball below the hole. The green slopes from back to front and I would rather have an uphill putt rather than one that was downhill.

I hit my shot and the ball took off. I knew it was a good shot as soon as I hit it. The ball landed just short of the pin and rolled right next to the hole and finished about 4 feet away. Almost a hole in one. I missed the birdie putt(still need work with the short stick), but I was not at all upset about a tap in for par and with the fact that my 8-iron went 174 yards.

If you are struggling with consistency or are looking for more distance, I encourage you to take a look at the following post series. I am living proof that they do work and because they are working, my scores are improving and I am having a lot more fun on the golf course. Have a great round and always hit your target.


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Tiger And Caddie Steve Williams Part Ways

0

Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in | Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tiger Woods announced today, via his website, that he and long time caddie Steve Williams are parting ways. Tiger and Stevie, as Tiger likes to call him, have been partners for the past 13 years, winning 13 majors during that span of time.

Tiger stated...

"I want to express my deepest gratitude to Stevie for all his help, but I think it's time for a change," Woods said. "Stevie is an outstanding caddie and a friend and has been instrumental in many of my accomplishments. I wish him great success in the future."

Players change caddies all the time, but this comes as somewhat of a surprise. Before the fire hydrant incident, Tiger could basically walk onto a course, and out of sheer intimidation, win a tournament. Much of that intimidation factor had to do with Williams. With the health of his knee still in question and the loss of Williams on his bag, this is no longer the case.

Williams was known as tough minded individual who spoke his mind and did everything to give his guy an advantage. If that meant barking at the media and photographers, then that's what he did. Besides being a caddie, he was also like a bodyguard. Williams was there to protect the sometimes impenetrable bubble that Tiger has lived in for much of his career.

No replacement has been announced but it will be interesting to see who fills the void left by the race car driving, native New Zealander. This is definitely a new era for Tiger. Williams was the constant in Tiger's run at his many majors. Now that has changed.

Will Tiger be able to work with another caddie? Will this new caddie have tough enough skin to work in the circus like environment that surrounds Tiger? We will have to wait and see I guess. One thing is for sure. Whoever it is will suddenly find himself in the spotlight and will be scrutinized for every move he makes. So whoever it is. Good luck buddy and hold on. It's going to be a bumpy ride for a while. Have a great round and always hit your target.

Photo found here.

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36 Holes At Western Skies Golf Club And A New Personal Record

7

Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , | Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I was browsing GolfNow.com this past Saturday and I came upon a course I had never noticed before. The reason why it stood out was because they were having a killer promotion. $10 for 18 holes of golf plus the cart. The picture gallery for Western Skies Golf Club looked pretty good so I wanted to check it out.

It just so happened that a Facebook friend, we'll call him J.B. for now, wanted to play there the next day, but I was scheduled for work so I had to decline. I asked him to tell me how the course was as I was thinking about playing there the following day. J.B. got back to me that night and said the course was in good condition and on top of that he had a great round, shooting a 78. That was all I needed to hear. I called The Doctor and we booked the 10AM tee time.

It was a warm day. Unusually humid by Arizona standards, but I'll play in just about any weather so I was good to go. I can see why there motto is, "where locals bring their friends". Despite being a mostly residential golf course, the houses do not take away from the overall experience.

As J.B. said, the course was in good shape and it is very playable for all skill levels. They aren't too many surprises on this course. It is pretty much straight forward, without any blind shots like some of the courses that are nestled into the mountains.

I wouldn't say it is an easy course, but if you hit a bad shot, you will still be able to find it and have a chance at making par. I didn't lose a single ball the entire round, which means I didn't have any penalties which add to my score and my frustration.

I ended up shooting an 80. Missed the 70's by one shot. I blew four or five shortish putts which would have had me there, but I was proud of the fact that at least I gave myself a chance to score well.

By this time it was about 112 degrees, but there is something that was enticing us to stay at the course. REPLAY RATES!!! During this time of year, golf clubs just want bodies on the course. Many of them offer reduced rates for a second round. In this case, the replay rate was actually more than our first go around. For $12, we could try to better our first efforts. No brainer. $22 for two rounds of golf. Can't beat it.

After the first hole, I didn't think I would be able to make it, but I sucked it up and was glad that I did. I ended up shooting a 78, which to date is my best round ever. I struck the ball well. I only had one double bogey in 36 holes and only two 3-putts, none of which came during the second round.

The highlight of the day came at the end of the second round. When I got to the 17th, I didn't have any birdies up to that point. As I was teeing off, I told The Doctor, "I need a birdie today." Unfortunately I wasted a good tee shot and ended up with a bogey on 17.

I hit my tee shot on the 18th left of the fairway. My second shot ended up on the fringe left of the hole about twenty feet away. I decided to go with a 7-iron for my chip shot. It was a downhill shot and I just wanted to get the ball started on the right line. Trying a chip shot with a lofted wedge would have been dicey and if I used my putter, the ball might have got caught up in the fringe.

I picked my line, took my practice strokes as if it were a putt, and then trickle, trickle, trickle, it hit the pin and fell into the cup. Chip-in birdie to end the day(all I could think was, Mike would be proud). I was glad we decided to play that second round. Definitely a great way to end the day. Have a great round and always hit your target.

Players Handicap Gross Score Net Score
Dexter Francois12.48067.6

Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Out
Par 5 3 5 3 4 4 3 4 4 35  
Gross score
6
3
5
4
4
4
4
4
4
38  
Over/Under +1 +1 +1 +2 +2 +2 +3 +3 +3 +3  
Fairways Hit       4/6  
Greens (GIR) 4/9  
Putts 3 2 1 2 1 2 2 1 2 16  
Chips








0  
Sands








0  
Penalties








0  
Net Score 5 3 4 3 4 4 3 3 3 32  
Handicap 5 15 7 3 13 17 9 1 11    
Hole 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 In Total
Par 4 4 3 5 4 4 5 4 4 37 72
Gross score
5
5
3
5
5
5
6
4
4
42 80
Over/Under +4 +5 +5 +5 +6 +7 +8 +8 +8 +8 +8
Fairways Hit   2/8 6/14
Greens (GIR) 4/9 8/18
Putts 1 2 1 2 2 3 1 2 2 16 32
Chips








0 0
Sands








0 0
Penalties








0 0
Net Score 4 4 2 4 5 5 5 3 4 36 68
Handicap 10 6 2 8 14 18 12 4 16    





Players Handicap Gross Score Net Score
Dexter Francois12.47865.6

Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Out
Par 5 3 5 3 4 4 3 4 4 35  
Gross score
6
3
5
3
4
4
3
5
6
39  
Over/Under +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +2 +4 +4  
Fairways Hit       4/6  
Greens (GIR) 4/9  
Putts 1 1 2 2 2 2 1 2 2 15  
Chips








0  
Sands








0  
Penalties








0  
Net Score 5 3 4 2 4 4 2 4 5 33  
Handicap 5 15 7 3 13 17 9 1 11    
Hole 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 In Total
Par 4 4 3 5 4 4 5 4 4 37 72
Gross score
4
4
4
5
4
5
5
5
3
39 78
Over/Under +4 +4 +5 +5 +5 +6 +6 +7 +6 +6 +6
Fairways Hit   7/8 11/14
Greens (GIR) 4/9 8/18
Putts 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 2 0 15 30
Chips








0 0
Sands








0 0
Penalties








0 0
Net Score 3 3 3 4 4 5 4 4 3 33 66
Handicap 10 6 2 8 14 18 12 4 16    





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