The Spotted Warrior


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , | Posted on Monday, August 29, 2011

I received my new MacBook Pro in the mail the other day and I'm back in business. I'll be able to save everything that was on my old hard drive which is a good thing. By the way, if you don't have a back up drive. Get one. I got lucky this time. It's not worth losing all of your information.

One of the features I like about my laptop is that it comes with iMovie '11. I had '07 on my old laptop and never really used it anyway. Unlike the older version, '11 allows you to take footage and put it into slow motion. I've been wanting to do this so that I can analyze my swing like Peter Kostis does during PGA tournaments.

Besides being able to edit your videos using this application, they have added themes so that you can make professional looking movies with trailers and all. After reading/viewing the tutorials and hacking around a little bit, I was able to put together a nice looking trailer featuring my Great Dane Athos.

You may remember him from an article I did on using the Kodak Playsport Zx3 underwater. That was one of the first times he had been in the pool. Now he can't get enough. All I have to say is, "you wanna go swimming?" He jumps up and bolts for the back door. It's too hot to take him and Tank(he's the black Dane in the video) on walks during the day. When we wake up in the morning it is already 95 degrees at six in the morning. Swimming becomes a good way to tire out a hyper two year old who can go for days if you let him.

I'm looking forward to using slow-mo during practice. I can get into bunkers and slow it down to check my technique. Could be useful on the putting greens as well. Although I would like to be more of a feel players, seeing myself will show me what I need to change so that I am not repeating the same mistakes over and over.

Enjoy the trailer and let me know what you think. I think we may have a star in the making. Have a great round and always hit your target. – Book Your Tee Time Today!

Soooo Jealous Right Now


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , | Posted on Friday, August 26, 2011

I just got off the telephone with my buddy, The Doctor. He had just boarded the shuttle that was taking him to The Inn at Spanish Bay, which their website describes as "...nestled among majestic Monterey pines and fronted by a Scottish-style links golf course that touches some of the most breathtaking coastline in the world..." The Links at Spanish Bay is one of the courses that is affiliated with the Pebble Beach experience.

Yes, The Doctor is at Pebble Beach and I am stuck at home. He and his brother have treated their father to a couple of rounds at two of the nations most famous golf courses, Spyglass Hill and Pebble Beach. Now do you understand why I am so jealous.

Pebble Beach, I'm sure, is on every golfer's bucket list of courses to play before being called to the "great golf course in the sky." This is one of those trips that you start thinking about as soon as the reservations are made, and every second thereafter until you finally tee it up on the first hole.

Their plan, as The Doctor tells it, is to get in some practice at the Links at Spanish Bay today. Tomorrow they play Spyglass and then finish out with Pebble Beach on Sunday. I know that The Doctor has been scouting the courses online. We were actually supposed to visit one of the local indoor golf course simulators and play the courses so that he would have a feel for what he was getting into. We never got to it as our schedules were too conflicting.

I have never had a chance to play a course that is on the PGA Tour schedule. The closest I have come is Crandon Golf Course on Key Biscayne, FL which used to host a Champions Tour event up until 2005. I have attended the WGC-CA several times at Doral Country Club, but never played it. I've been to The Waste Management Phoenix Open(formerly the FBR Open) held at TPC Scottsdale, but still haven't given it a go. I snuck onto the 18th green at Hilton Head last summer just to take a picture, but that was the closest I have been to being inside the ropes on a tour quality course.

If you have been following the weather, Florida is feeling the affects of Hurricane Irene. The Doctor's dad lives in the Sunshine State and was scheduled to fly out today. As a precaution, he changed his flight and left a day early to ensure that he didn't get stuck at home. Can you blame him? I would have done the same thing.

Pebble Beach has cameras on the 1st tee and on the 18th green. They are  supposed to tee off at 11AM PST on Sunday. I'm expecting a text right before the first shot, so I get to watch them and become even more jealous. One day I'll get there. It is a must. Until then, I guess I'll have to live vicariously through them. 

Have you had a chance to play any of the courses on the Tour Circuit? If so, feel free to share your experience. Was it everything you expected? Was the course harder than you anticipated? This is your chance to make me even more jealouser(I know that's not a word, but, you know what I mean). Have a great round and always hit your target.

Photo found here. – Book Your Tee Time Today!

No Wonder Amateurs Stink From Fairway Bunkers


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , | Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Last night Michael Breed of The Golf Fix demonstrated how to play from various different lies and situations. He talked about the fairway bunker shot, the dreaded bunker shot from 40-80 yards out, and finally various greenside bunker shots.

During the segment on fairway bunkers, Breed confirmed something I had been thinking about. He said that most amateurs struggle from fairway bunkers because we don't get a chance to practice this shot.

When the average golfer arrives at the golf course for a round, they get a bucket of balls and head to the range and start banging away. Some courses don't even have a place to hit out of a bunker, and if there is a bunker facility, in my experience, very few take the time to get in there and practice. Maybe it's because it's not really fun to practice from the bunker. Maybe it's because they don't want to get dirty before a round. The other reason is that some golfers show up 15 minutes before their round and there simply isn't enough time.

Getting back to fairway bunkers, when have you ever seen a fairway bunker in the practice area? I would venture to say never. It's no wonder we stink. We never get a chance to hone our skills in this area of our game.

So how do we get better from the fairway bunker? You could get into the bunker that is meant for greenside practice. This might prompt a visit from the starter asking you to leave the course. That's not good. The alternative is to watch videos on the subject. Don't just watch though. Pay attention to what the instructor is saying and mimic their actions as best as possible. It's not an impossible shot, we just need to use the proper technique.

Normally I would post a video, but I am still posting from my iPhone. So get on YouTube and browse around. BTW...My online swing coach, Mike Southern, who publishes Ruthless Golf, just wrote an article entitled "Digging A Buried Ball Out Of The Sand". It is one more bunker shot that Breed didn't cover during the show. You can find his blog to the right under Golf Fanatics.

Good luck with this shot if you find yourself in a fairway bunker during your next round. Of course the best defense is not to hit in there in the first place so that it doesn't even become an issue. Keep it in the fairways. Have a great round and always hit your target.

Photo found here. – Book Your Tee Time Today!

180 Yards With A 9-Iron? Seriously?


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , | Posted on Sunday, August 21, 2011

As the final round coverage of the Wyndham Championship began, they highlighted the play of Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey. He had an approach shot from 180 yards out. He pulled out a 9-iron and knocked it onto the green and left himself with about 20 feet for an eagle putt.

9-iron from 180! Are you serious? And Gainey isn't even one if the long hitters. It's no wonder the pros are so good. With length like that, they are giving themselves great chances to score well. 180 for me is a 6-iron and since I still struggle sometimes with this club, I might use my 22 degree hybrid and choke down a little.

Gainey isn't a big guy. He's not small in stature either, but he's not Dustin Johnson or Gary Woodland. It probably has to do more with club speed. I get compliments on how smooth my swing looks and I have improved on my distance in recent months, but how much more confident would I be with a 9- iron in my hands from 180 instead of a hybrid club.

I think it may be time to start looking into what drills or exercises I should be doing to get even longer. I was thinking about doing a more golf specific workout program. Just like in any sport, certain muscles need to be developed to maximize efficiency for that activity.

I'm not complaining with where I am right now, but we can all use a little more distance right? Have a great round analways hit your target.

*I'm still posting from my iPhone, so if things are not as pretty as they usually are or if there are a few typos, that's why. Editing is the tough part.

Photo found here. – Book Your Tee Time Today!

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in | Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2011

This is a first for me. I'm writing this post on my iPhone. Why am I using my iPhone? It's because my laptop is no longer working. Why is it no longer working? It's because my 180 lb. Great Dane thought he heard someone outside and jumped over me and my laptop, knocking over the drink that was sitting on the table. Ugh!!!

I dried it off as quickly as I could, took out the battery, and left it to dry overnight, hoping for the best. It actually worked the next morning, but when I returned home after running a few errands, my laptop had given up the ghost.

Wishing for a miracle, I took my laptop to The Apple Store to see if they could work a little magic. After a few minutes in the back, Nick came back with his diagnosis. He said it didn't look good. The cost of repairs is high enough that I might as well buy a new one. I certainly didn't budget for this mishap.

I will try and keep up my post until I get a new computer. It's a little annoying, but as I'm writing this, it's not so bad. I'll still be practicing on my game so I'll continue to share my exploits. The game must go on. Have a great round and always hit your target. – Book Your Tee Time Today!

Positive Affirmations (Thoughts) + Actions = Results


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , | Posted on Thursday, August 11, 2011

I received a comment from Jordan, a fellow golf blogger, on the post in which I talked about setting new goals. I thought I would answer him with this post. You can check out his blog, Peerless Golf Experience. Lots of good information on how to keep your mind focused while on the golf course.

The last part of his comment was, "Obviously you worked hard on your game but did you try using any positive affirmations?"

I don't necessarily say positive affirmations, but I do try to keep my thoughts positive. I'm a big believer in the fact that our thoughts shape the outcomes in our lives. When I stand over a ball, I am thinking that I am about to hit a really good shot. If I'm thinking about what could go wrong, that is probably what will happen.

Another practice I'm into is visualization. At the beginning of the year, I began to see myself as a single digit golfer. I began to act like a single digit handicapper. The instruction I received from Mike added to my confidence. Once I received the proper tools to succeed, my belief became stronger because now I had a game plan.

I'll agree that positive affirmations work. Remember this little dynamo? The important thing is attaching some action to your affirmations. I used to say them and just wait for things to happen. It doesn't work that way. Once we have a thought, we must act on it. More action, more results.

As soon as I decided that I was going to be in the single digits, I began to do the things that would get me there. Things like practicing(the right way). Paying more attention to how the pros play the game. I really take note of what they do in certain situation and then when I'm in a similar situation, I try to mimic the action. I'm like a chameleon. I become that golfer for that shot.

Sounds a little wacky, but I believe it works. There are many ways to improve in whatever you are trying to do. This seems to be working for me so I'm going to stick with it. No more negative thoughts. No more doubts.

Once again I would like to thank Jordan for his comment. It made me think a little bit about my approach to the game.  To all of you out there who are working on your golf game, let me know what techniques you are using to improve. Would love to hear your thoughts. Have a great round and always hit your target.

Photo found here. – Book Your Tee Time Today!

Shakira Has A Nice Golf Swing


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , | Posted on Saturday, August 6, 2011

Apparently Shakira is using her hips for something more than dancing and entertaining her millions of fans. Shakira likes golf! And as you will see in the following video, she has a good looking swing.

The footage is of a recent trip to Mexico. We don't get to see her on the course itself, but we do get to see her do work on the driving range. I wonder if fellow Colombian superstar, Camillo Villegas was the one to give her lessons. One thing is for sure. As limber as she is, I'm sure she can get into the Spider-Man position to read those difficult putts. Have a great round and always hit your target. – Book Your Tee Time Today!

It's All About Consistency


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , | Posted on Thursday, August 4, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy. This is how I would describe this past week. Although I have been too busy to post for a few days, I have however, been able to squeeze in a few rounds. My other obligations have just made it hard to find the time to scribe about my activities on the golf course.

Things are getting back to normal, and with this, I have developed a new norm. Shooting in the 70's. Three out of my last four rounds have resulted in me braking the once elusive 80 mark. What used to be a dream is now a reality and I am on pace to becoming a single digit golfer. I am currently a 10.9 and after my last round, it put me at a 10.4(The handicap index, however, resets on the 1st and 15th of each month).

A few post ago I talked about setting new goals. The main goal, as I mentioned earlier was attaining a single digit handicap. Instead of focusing on setting new scoring lows, I decided that it was more important to try and be consistent. I said that I wanted to average around 82-84 for the rest of the year. On top of that, I challenged myself to break 80 at least ten more times before the year was through.'s three down and seven to go. My last four rounds have been 77, 79, 82, and 79. It should have been four in a row. I'm happy with my 82 but I literally had six or seven putts that burned the edges or lipped out. The Doctor is my witness. That could have be a 74 or 75 round.

What I am pleased with is the fact that even though I felt like I didn't play well for my 82 round, it was still within my goal. The Doctor and I were talking about how our expectations have changed. A month ago I would have been ecstatic about shooting an 82. Now I'm like, eh...

The pars are coming easier now and birdies are happening more frequently. I think it's because I'm not giving up on a hole anymore. If I have a bad tee shot, I forget about it and focus on the next shot at hand. I'm thinking my way around the course a lot better as well. I only hit the shots I'm confident in.

With all of this comes consistency, and that's what I'm after. Mike had these words for me after we talked about my goals...

"...Dex, Once again, you're focusing on consistency rather than just setting new personal bests -- that's the key to steady improvement.

BTW, don't be surprised if you set some new personal bests in the process anyway. After all, it's those inconsistent shots that run up your scores."

Once I really made this my focus, my scores began to reflect my new attitude towards my game. With all that being said, I know I am going to have a few bad days, especially now that I been talking up my game(The Golf Gods tend to even things out just to keep our egos in check). However, a bad score to me nowadays is an 84. Even with this score, I'll still be giving myself a chance at meeting my goals. And that's all I can ask for. A chance. Have a great round and always hit your target.

Photo found here. – Book Your Tee Time Today!