So Dex...What's Next???

11

Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , , , , | Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2012

After my last post, Mike Southern who publishes Ruthless Golf reminded me of the fact that I had achieved the goals I had set for myself in 2011. Since I had achieved them, his question was, "What's next?" Since this blogs slogan is, "...because golf is all about getting better and having fun!, I thought my new goals should be based on this idea.

Getting Better

The next logical step for me as far as my golf game is concerned is to shoot par which means I have to get better. Or better yet, be more consistent. I have had rounds which I know I should have shot par but because of some of the inconsistencies in my game, I have failed to do so. I need to get to a point where all facets of my game are working together.

There are days when I hit 12 of 14 fairways but I can't find the green with my approach shots. There are other days when I miss every fairway but I am able to scramble to get up and down. Then there are day in which nothing is happening right except for my putter. Somehow the 10 to 15 footers start dropping. In all of these scenarios, I am left with a score between 78 and 82.

My best round of 75 came as a result of hot putter. I had 9 one putts and 27 overall. I only hit 4 of 14 fairways and 7 of 18 greens in regulation and I didn't chip very well, but I holed a bunch of clutch par putts and mixed in a couple birdies. The putts that I did miss, which resulted in bogeys, were burning the edges. So many shoulda-woulda-couldas.

To shoot par, I am going to have to set out a specific game plan. As I get closer to par, it is getting harder to go lower. When I was trying to break 100, once I did so, I made tremendous progress. Once I broke 90, I was able to get down to the low 80's relatively quickly. Now that I have broken 80, I am understanding that nearly everything has to go right during the round to break even. Once I eliminate the majority of my mistakes, par will be realized.

Having Fun!

I am competitive by nature. I grew up playing baseball, basketball, and competed in x-country and track and field as well. As much as I liked to win, it was never my main focus. I was more interested in the fundamentals of the sport. When I watch golf, while everyone else is just watching the results of the swing, I am paying attention to what the golfer did to make the shot possible.

To satisfy my desire to compete and my continued study of the fundamentals, I am planning on entering the 2013 Golfweek Amateur Tour. I was going to sign up now, but there are only a few events left in the 2012 season and I probably would not be able to accumulate enough points to qualify for the National Championships held in Hilton Head, SC. Here's a little bit about The Golfweek Amateur Tour as it reads on their website.
"Established in 1995, the purpose of the Tour is to provide amateurs of all ages, sexes, and handicaps the opportunity to compete in stroke-play golf tournaments on a regular basis in their local area. The Tour concludes with a National Tour Championship in which top players in each flight test their skills against other amateurs from around the country. Through this competition, the Golfweek Tour promotes the sport of golf by providing an atmosphere of friendly, fair, and well managed competition for amateur golfers in the pursuit of excellence."
You can find a tour near you and the events are broken up into five flights. Depending on your current handicap you will compete in the Championship Flight, 0-3.9, A Flight, 4-8.9(which would be me as of the writing of this post), B Flight, 9-13, C Flight, 14-18.9, and D Flight, 19 and above. I want to get my handicap as low as possible and then sign up at the beginning of the year in my appropriate bracket.

As I looked at the scores for my current handicap, I would be right in the mix. The average score of the winner of a given event is about an 82, which is exactly what the low golfer posted to take home the last event. I know I can shoot those scores under normal conditions, but I want to see how I would fair with a little pressure factored in.

So it begins. Over my next few rounds, I will be paying close attention to my stats so that I can pinpoint the areas of my game which need the most work. From there, I can formulate a game plan going forward. Feel free to share some of your goals whether accomplished or still in the works. I would love to hear what other golfers are doing to improve their game. Have a great round and always hit your target.

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Comments (11)

  1. June 15, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    Sounds like fun, Dex! If I might make a suggestion on how to get started...

    Focus on your rhythm and balance to start. What you want is some consistency in your swing so that your swing speed will be more predictable. That should also help you hit the ball more solidly. Guys like Jason Dufner are so consistent because their swings repeat so well.

    As your tempo becomes more consistent, I think you'll find some of the other inconsistencies in your game began to clear up on their own. That will make it easier to decide what to work on next.

  2. June 15, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    It's funny that you say this because poor balance was my main problem during my round today. I played pretty well, but whenever I hit a bad shot, I was not grounded.

    Tempo is something I have been working on. I'm trying to find a happy medium. Sometimes I get too slow and deliberate which gives me time to think about too many swing thoughts. We have talked about tempo before. Time to go back into the archives.

  3. June 16, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    In Ruthless Putting I recommended using a weight on a string to work on tempo. That's a drill that has been used for decades to work on the full swing. You might want to try that.

    Traditionally it was a penknife on a piece of twine; in the book I suggested old keys on a shoelace. The idea (when working on your full swing) is to get where you can swing it from waist-high to waist-high without letting the string "bend" where it leaves your grip. You want the string to stay straight like a shaft during the entire swing.

    You might also want to try this drill from the blog:

    http://www.ruthlessgolf.com/2011/12/more-indoor-practice.html

    That one doesn't need equipment, so you can do it anywhere, anytime.

  4. June 16, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    I will definitely give it a try the key/shoelace drill a try and I remember reading that post. Hopefully the combination of the two will get swing under control.

    Another by product of my "too slow" swing tempo is that loop creeps back in and I come over the top. When I have good tempo, I know I'm going to hit a good shot even before I make contact. That's the feeling I need and want all the time.

  5. June 17, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    Make sure you're not twisting your forearms on the way back. You've had a problem with that in the past, and that would certainly cause you to slip back into your old over-the-top move because it would make you "lay off" the club on the way back.

  6. June 18, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    I'll be sure to pay close attention so that I'm twisting. I feel the twist more with my driver, woods, and hybrid. Probably because they are longer clubs.

  7. June 18, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    Here's a quick drill that might help. When Carl taught me not to twist my forearms, he would have me make several half-backswings (up to waist high), stop, and cock my wrists straight up so the club shaft was completely vertical, then try to make a full swing that felt the same way and hit a ball with it. It feels really weird, but it will help you get rid of that forearm twist.

    Just for the record, the club shaft won't actually be vertical when you make the full swing. Between the tilt of your spine, the angle of your shoulders, and the bending of your trailing elbow, the shaft will actually tilt onto the correct plane. What the drill teaches you is the feel of a natural tilt, one where you don't try to help it by twisting your forearms.

  8. June 18, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    Does this drill work for my 3-wood and driver as well? I remember us talking about how the driver swing is a completely different swing from one with an iron. You advised I take the driver out of the bag for a while because instead of hitting down on the ball, like with an iron, I'm supposed to get to impact on more of an upswing when using driver.

  9. June 18, 2012 at 9:53 PM

    Yeah, it works for all the clubs. This drill is to help you stop twisting your forearms, not to change your wrist cock or angle of attack on the downswing. The wrist cock in the drill just lets you use the shaft to get a clear visual of whether you're twisting your forearms or not during the backswing.

    BTW, your wrists uncock the same way for all your clubs. It's just that the impact position is different for the driver. How does that change things? With most clubs, you hit the ball and then the ground. But with the driver, your wrists uncock without the club EVER hitting the ground. That makes the driver swing feel different from the other clubs, and that adjustment can be confusing when you're trying to correct other problems.

  10. June 19, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    Great! I will be working on it. One more question. When I get to waist high, do I finish my swing from there, or do I pause for a second at waist high, continue my backswing and then finish the swing as usual? Just want to make sure I'm doing the drill properly.

    I can see how this drill will help. When I twist my arms, it is very awkward trying to get the club vertical. Without twisting my arms, it is a lot easier.

  11. June 19, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    Good question. Obviously the half-swings are just that -- swing to waist high, check that your shaft points straight up, go back to your address position.

    For the full swing, don't pause at all. You want a smooth natural motion, but you'll focus on making it while feeling the same "non-rotated" forearm position of the half-swings. This is a feel drill, to teach you how the proper motion feels as you make the swing. As I said in an earlier comment, the shaft will tilt onto plane during the full swing because of all the natural angles in your swing. The only thing we're trying to eliminate is the extra twisting in your forearms, which you consciously added because you thought you were supposed to.

    One other thing: On the full swing, initially you might want to cock your wrists early in your backswing because that way it's easier to feel the same position that you had in the half-swings. But once you've got a decent idea how your forearms should feel as you go back, make your normal backswing motion. This "quiet" forearm position is actually part of a normal one-piece takeaway but, as I said, you need to consciously unlearn the forearm rotation because, originally, you consciously learned to do it.

    But that just makes you a typical weekend golfer. If players "unlearned" this one thing, they'd probably break 90 pretty early in their golf careers.