Something To Be Thankful For


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in | Posted on Thursday, November 24, 2011

I am thankful for all of you who have taken the time to share in my exploits on the golf course. Your comments have been an encouragement to me and they push me to keep moving towards my goals. Have a great Thanksgiving Day everybody.

Photo found here. – Book Your Tee Time Today!

I Need A Full Time Caddie


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , | Posted on Monday, November 14, 2011

I was watching an episode of Golf Channel Academy today which featured Greg Norman and some of things he does on the golf course to be successful. The segment that caught my attention was when he was talking about visualizing his shots. Visualization and picking specific targets are aspects of the games that separate us as amateurs from the pros.

We have talked about visualizing our intended shots before and I do all I can to stay focused on the course, but sometimes there are just too many distractions that lead to poor shots. Norman talked about how amateurs see all the hazards and everything that can go wrong before a shot. Pros, on the other hand, have tunnel vision. It's like they have those horse blinders on. They don't see the trouble. I've heard pros say that they sometimes narrow their focus to something as minute as a leaf on a tree as an aiming point. We, however, see the entire tree.

The greatest advantage that professionals have over us in my opinion, is that they have caddies to help them stay focused on their targets. Caddies are meticulous when mapping out yardages and gaining overall knowledge of the course (s)he and their player are navigating. If I had a caddie, I would probably be a scratch golfer by now.

As I thought about it, my best rounds have been when I played on courses I had never played before, but was paired with someone who played it regularly. I remember playing at The Phoenician with Patrick Gibbons one afternoon, and even though I had played it once before, I couldn't remember how all of the holes played.

On one particular hole, like a caddie, he told me where I needed to hit it to have the best look into the green for my approach shot. I stepped up to the tee and hit exactly where he had told me to. He commented, "must be nice to hit where you're supposed to."

On another day, I played at Silverado Golf Club for the first time and  I was paired with a gentleman who knew the course like the back of his hand. He guided me through the course for the whole round and I produced some of the best shots I had ever hit in my career.

There was one par 4 that had a blind tee shot over trees in order to get to the fairway. My playing partner pointed out a pole that everyone used as an aiming point. He told me that if I hit it long and just right of the pole, I would end up in a good position. Again, I hit it just as I was instructed to do and was left with an 80 yard shot into the green.

If I always had someone telling me where to hit it, my scores would drop dramatically. It's almost like I didn't have to think about the shot, I just had to execute it, and I think this is a luxury that the pros have. Caddies take a lot of the guess work out of the game. They keep their player in a positive state of mind which translates into better quality shots.

I love when the producers mic a professional during a tournament and we get to hear the conversation that takes place between caddie and player. They talk about what they want to accomplish and it always ends with, "I like that shot" or "I feel good about that." After all the calculations have been made, they know exactly what they are shooting at and in their mind, they have already executed it.

Sure professionals hit poor shots from time to time but more often than not, they are dead on with what they wanted to do. While it is still on the player to hit the shot, a good caddie can be the difference between a shot ending up on the green or ending up in a hazard. This is why I want a full time caddie. Any takers? Have a great round and always hit your target.

Photo found here. – Book Your Tee Time Today!

I Can't Feel My Fingers!!!


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , , , , | Posted on Monday, November 7, 2011

When I woke up for my round at Apache Creek Golf Club yesterday, it was a balmy 48 degrees. Brrrr. There is a low pressure system that is making it's way down from the Pacific Northwest and we are beginning to feel the effects of a cold front that is sweeping through the Phoenix Valley.

I have been very spoiled in the fact that I have lived in places where I can play golf year round. I have always been treated to great weather and have never really had to play in uncomfortable conditions. In Miami we had to deal with rain and high winds, but for the most of the year it was still warm.

The tee time was set for 6:50AM by J.B. whom I had met through this blog via Facebook. We had been trying to set up a time when we could get in a round for months but something always came up whether it was work or family related. J.B. whom I soon found out can hit the ball a country mile, is a morning golfer. During the summer when the sun rises earlier, he is often the first one on the tee for a 5:30 start.

Keeping true to form, we were the first golfers at the course, arriving before any of the employees. It was still dark and for me, very cold. I just kept looking towards the eastern horizon, hoping for a glimpse of sunlight. As we chipped around the practice green with glow in the dark golf balls that J.B. had which were pretty cool, my hands began to get numb. I was beginning to wonder how I would be able to hold my clubs.

After checking in at the pro shop, we headed to the driving range to warm up. Except there was no warming up for me. I had no feeling in my hands and it was hard for me to keep a handle on the grip. It reminded me of my days playing baseball in New England during early March. Mishits with an iron felt like the stinging sensation you get when you hit the baseball off the wrong part of an aluminum bat.

My drive from the first tee tailed off to the right which left me with a long approach of about 205 yards into the green. I hit hybrid and fell short and right of the green. I chipped it pass the hole about 20 feet and was left with a downhill putt. I held the putter as best as I could, let my shoulders swing, and drained it to save par.

Great start. Unfortunately, my hands could not warm up and I missed every fairway on the front nine. When you miss the fairways at Apache Creek, you are at a huge disadvantage. This is a true desert style course and golfers are penalized severely for wayward shots. Having to play many of my shots off of a hardpan lie led to four double bogeys on the front.

It wasn't until the turn that I was finally able to feel my fingers again. The sun had come out, and even though it was still in the low 60's, because of the bright sunshine, it felt a lot warmer. It showed in my tee shots. I hit four out of the seven fairways on the back nine and my iron shots into the greens were a bit more accurate.

I wasn't pleased with my overall performance, but I didn't expect much since I hadn't played in almost a month and a half. While much of my struggles were due to the weather, some of it had to do with being mentally rusty as much as mechanically rusty. When I look back on the round, I made decisions that I know I wouldn't have when I was playing three or four times a week. When I was playing regularly, my golf IQ improved as well as my swing which led to better scores. I just need to get out more and I'm sure it will all come back.

I have a new found respect for professional golfers when they have to compete in less than perfect weather. This past weekend, The Champions Tour held their season ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship at TPC Harding Park GC in San Francisco, California. The temperature was similar to what I faced and on top of that, they had to deal with windy conditions. Yet many of them were still able to shoot par or better. They are that good.

It looks like I'm going to have to invest in some warm golf mittens especially if I'm going to be playing more rounds with a "crack of dawn golfer" like J.B. The cold front is supposed to remain for a while and I would like to have some "feeling" in my shots. It's either that or wait for it to warm up again, but for me, that might take too long. Have a great round and always hit your target. – Book Your Tee Time Today!