Mike Southern Keeps His Promises


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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Comments (6)

  1. July 21, 2011 at 8:51 AM

    You've improved even more than I thought, Dex. I thought you were around 15 yards longer with each club, not 20-35! That's great.

    We should be able to do something about that 5-iron, though. That's a club I think you should be able to hit now. Are you topping the ball so it just bounces along the ground, or are you getting a decent hit but can't get any height on the shot?

    And thanks for the kind words. Like I keep saying, golf isn't that difficult -- we just teach it that way. ;-)

  2. July 21, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    It really is like night and day. Along with being more confident with my swing, I am more confident in the distances I can hit each club. There is less indecision when I set up to take a shot. This is more than half the battle. Proper mechanics completes the process.

    With my 5-iron, I tend to top it and the ball just rolls along the turf like a long putt. In all honesty, I think I'm just trying to swing to hard. For some reason I feel like I have to swing harder to make it go longer instead of trusting that the club will get it there.

  3. July 21, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    That's very possible -- if you try to swing too hard, you'll screw up your mechanics. That's something we all do from time to time.

    It's pretty easy to check that out. Simply take your 5-iron to the range and try hitting some pitch shots about 50 to 60 yards. If you get nice solid shots, you're definitely trying too hard. In that case, I'd suggest taking your hybrid -- which you're hitting very well -- and your 5-iron and alternate hitting full shots with each of them, trying to make each shot feel the same.

    Bear in mind that this could be a problem with ball position as well. If you don't get good pitch shots, you might have the ball too far forward in your stance, which could cause you to top it also. In that case, I'd suggest placing the ball where you put it for your 8-iron. If you can hit it well from there, then you've found the problem. Play it there until you feel more confident with it, then gradually move the ball a bit forward if you want to get the ball higher in the air.

    On the other hand, if you try both of these and your pitch shots still trickle along the ground... well, there's a problem. But we'll worry about that later. ;-) Let me know how the pitch shot test goes.

  4. July 21, 2011 at 10:00 PM

    Thanks. I'll give it a go.

  5. August 2, 2011 at 4:35 PM

    Hey Dex. COngrats on ur success. I've been keeping up with ur game and Breaking 80 is a great accompishment. I too am trying to break 80. I have been close. 81's, 82's.
    Mike's drills are great and I will be working on them if you guys don't mind. I'll let you know how it goes.

    Sean Osborne (Miami)

  6. August 4, 2011 at 12:13 AM

    Thanks Sean. I'm still upset we never got a chance to play a round together. I'm sure we will cross paths again.

    Mike is great. Browse around his blog. There is so much great information there. Honestly, for instruction, it's all I read. I don't even feel comfortable getting formal lessons because I don't think someone else could do as good a job.

    Keep me posted on how your game is going and when you break 80. Also feel free to share anything you're working on, and I can share it with the rest of the readers.

    Thanks for stopping by.