My Clubs Are Dusty...


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , | Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2011

...literally. I finally got out to the driving range yesterday. I hadn't touched touched my clubs since my last round on September 28th when I played at San Marcos Golf Club. Nearly a month has passed and when I pulled the clubs out of the garage they were covered with a layer of dust.

It felt good to pick up the sticks again. I wasn't expecting too much out of the practice session, but I was pleasantly surprised when I started hitting good shots. I didn't want to think too much so I only kept two swing thoughts in my head.

1.) One piece takeaway - If you have read this blog before, you know that I have been working hard on the one piece takeaway. It was taught to me by Mike Southern because he noticed that I was twisting or rotating my forearms as I took the club away from the ball during the backswing. This was causing me to start my swing on too flat a plane which forced me to come over the top on my downswing.

2.) The second thought has to do with this image from a recent post that Mike did called The Top Of Your One Piece Takeaway.

Diagram showing what a properly-done one-piece takeaway looks like

The bottom picture is what caught my attention. Although I understand the one-piece move, I sometimes get a little out of whack after the club passes waist high. This birds eye view gave me a good mental picture to take with me to the driving range. Once I was able to repeat this position, the rest of the swing fell into place.

I ended up hitting around 300 balls. The golfers around me would hit half a bucket and leave. I was happy to pick up where they left off and finish the already paid for bucket of range balls. Needless to say, I am extremely sore today. My shoulders, back, and abs feel like I just finished a CrossFit workout. Even my right hamstring is tight from bending over so much to tee up my ball.

Work has still been hectic and a lot of the courses are continuing the over-seeding process. I'm dying to get back out there. It's a wonder that I have been able to survive without playing for so long.  In any case, I am pleased with the way I hit the ball and hopefully it will carry over into my next 18 holes. If not, oh well. At least I'm on the golf course. Have a great round and always hit your target.

Top photo found here. – Book Your Tee Time Today!

Taking A Little Time Off During The Fall Series


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in | Posted on Monday, October 17, 2011

I'mmmmmm baaaaaaack!!! With the onset of the Fall Series on the PGA Tour, I decided to follow in the footsteps of some of the upper tier professional golfers by taking some time off. This is the time of year when the games best take a month or so to recharge their batteries. Which sounded like a good idea to me.

Some players are fighting for their playing cards. Some are trying to get into the top 30 on the money list, which nets them an automatic invite to The Masters. Some, like Webb Simpson, are trying to win as much money as possible. Not that he's greedy. Quite the opposite. He is in a tight race with Luke Donald for the title of Top Money Earning on tour. For those who have secured their cards for the 2012 season, this is a time to catch up with family and friends. The PGA Tour schedule is very hectic and juggling both worlds can get kind of dicey.

My wife and I celebrated our 6th month together on the day I wrote my last post. Since then and now, we were able to spend some quality time together. Both of our schedules had become so busy. We were finally able to relax for the first time since the wedding day.

We took a trip to Las Vegas. Sensory Overload! I'm not much of a gambler, but there was enough sites and sounds to keep me occupied and up all night. I saw The Beatles, Love, my first Cirque De Soleil show. That was spectacular. Looking forward to seeing a few more. We also caught up with some friends we hadn't had a chance to hang out with in a while.

My clubs have been collecting dust during this time off. I'll probably get out at the beginning of next week. I'm anxious to see what kind of shape my game will be in. Currently, I am sitting at a 10.0 on the handicap index and my goal is to get down to single digits before the end of 2011. I'm a little apprehensive because if I am rusty, it will effect my handicap negatively.

I'm hoping that muscle memory will take over and I will be able to pick up from where I left off. Either way, it will be good to get back on the course. This is the time of year when most of the courses in the Phoenix area do their over-seeding. So in reality, I timed my little hiatus perfectly. My favorite courses should be just about ready for play.

Lastly, I'd like to thank those of you who have been following my progress. The Facebook fan page for this blog is nearing the 1000 mark and I m getting good feedback from others who are trying hard to improve as well. Hears to strong finish to 2011 which sets us up for more success in 2012. Have a great round and always hit your target.

Photo found here. – Book Your Tee Time Today!

Practicing The 60 Yard Pitch Shot During My Round


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , | Posted on Saturday, October 1, 2011

During my last round, I took the advise of Jordan Caron who publishes a blog called Peerless Golf Experience. After I wrote a piece about the dreaded 40-60 yard pitch shot, he had a few suggestions for me.

His first suggestion was simply to avoid the shot if at all possible. His belief is that if I layup to a more comfortable yardage, I will not have to worry about it. I can totally agree with that and I would attempt to do so except for one thing. I have a difficult time hitting my 3-wood. I'm either going to hit driver which sometimes puts me at this awkward yardage, or I'm going hit hybrid and be left with a long iron.

He mentioned that the pros always layup to a distance that allows them to hit a shot they know they are confident executing. That's why we always hear the announcers say, "(s)he's pulling something less than driver to avoid trouble or to leave him(her)self with a shot from 100 yards or so."

Mike Southern has giving me some things to work on as far as my 3-wood is concerned, but I just haven't had the time to practice them. Work and the heat of the Phoenix summers have kind of put my practice sessions at bay. I hit balls before each round, but that is not the time to be learning and trying something new. The weather is cooling down so I will be able to give my fairway wood the attention it deserves, but for now, I just have to get better at this in between shot.

The second suggestion Jordan had for me was that if the course was not busy, go back and hit a few shots from this distance. Going back to my last round, I had a long wait once I arrived at the 17th. For someone reason, there was a three group wait, so after I finally finished the the par 5, 17th and was waiting to tee off on the last, I went back to about 60 yards and hit a bunch of shots.

There was no one behind me, so I had all the time I wanted. If you decided to do this, just make sure you refill your divots and move around a little so that you don't leave a patch like you would on the driving range. Your course superintendant will truly appreciate it.

During this little mini practice session, I was able to hit some good shot. Some of which checked up nicely and ended up near the hole. Mike wrote this article about the fact that there are many ways this shot is taught and just as many ways to play it. This is a great read if you are struggling with this shot.

I just need to get better at hitting this shot so that I can keep lowering my scores. Mike once told me that if I can keep my driver in the fairway, then by all means hit driver. If this is going to be my philosophy then other parts of my game need to be in sync as well. It's a constant work in progress I guess. Have a great round and always hit your target. – Book Your Tee Time Today!