DeFrancesco, Wayne (2019)

About DeFrancesco, Wayne (2019)

Wayne DeFrancesco’s exemplary golf career as a player and teacher earned his place in the Middle Atlantic PGA’s Hall of Fame.  Over the organization’s history only he garnered both Player of the Year status and a Teacher of the Year recognition.   Additionally, Wayne won the Section Championship three times and also received the Horton Smith Award for contributions to education.  No other player in the Section’s history displays such an array of credentials.

Wayne was introduced to golf by his father, Henry, and his mother, Bobbie, who joined Lakewood Country Club in Rockville as charter members in 1959.  Henry was an engineer and mathematician by trade, and thus he found the mechanics of the golf swing quite interesting and challenging.  Wayne remembers having Ben Hogan’s “Five Lessons” and Cary Middelcoff’s “Master Guide to Golf” on the shelf from the time he could read.  Henry had Wayne in the back yard hitting whiffle balls by age 8 and by age 10 they were out at Lakewood playing.  Wayne played in his first event at age 12 and finished 2nd, and getting that trophy hooked him for life.

His successful playing career spans five decades, first serving notice winning the Washington Metropolitan Golf Association’s Bobby Gorin title in the thirteen-year-old and under division in 1971 and followed up with a win in the 14–15 year-old division two years later.  Playing out of Langley HS, he captured the Frank Emmet School Boy Championship in 1975 and was named “Junior of the Year.” For success in a premier amateur career, the trophy case includes the Washington Metropolitan Amateur titles in 1978 and 1981, First Team All-America and Southeastern Conference Champion at Louisiana State (LSU) in 1979, as well as appearances in the 1975, 1978 and 1979 US Amateurs, where twice he went to the round of 32.

Within the Middle Atlantic PGA, Wayne DeFrancesco was a frequent visitor to the winner’s circle. He triumphed in the Section Championship on three occasions: 2000, 2001 and 2007; the Tournament of Champions twice: 1995 and 1998; the Assistant Professional Championship twice: 1999 and 2001. He won the Match Play Championship three times: 1996, 2004 and 2006; and the Senior Championship twice: 2007 and 2008.  The MAPGA Player of the Year title came his way four times: 1994, 1995, 1997 and 2001.   Over the years, additional victories include the Team Championship with Rick Schuller in 2006 and 2007, the 2009 and 2010 Facility Championship with Jay Lindell, the Senior-Junior Championship with Pat Coyner in 2014, and the Challenge Cup Tom Strange MVP Award in 1998.

Regionally, Wayne captured the Maryland Open three times: 1994, 1995 and 2005; and the Maryland Senior Open in 2007.

Nationally, Wayne played in his first PGA Professional National Championship in 1995, finishing 5th and qualifying for his first PGA Championship at Riviera, where he made the cut and was the Low Club Professional.  Wayne then qualified for his 2nd PGA in 1999, playing at Medinah CC.  In his next PNC Wayne went to Bend, Oregon and led the event wire to wire (the only person to do so, leading alone every round) winning by 3 shots, a victory he considers the greatest of his career.  In all, Wayne played in 5 PGA Championships, a U.S. Open (as an amateur in 1981 where he was Sectional medalist at the Army Navy Club, making the U.S. Open field at Merion), two Senior PGA Championships, a Senior US Open, and qualified for eleven PGA Tour Kemper Opens.  In addition, Wayne won 4 USGA medals as medalist in local U.S. Open qualifying.

“As soon as an instructor stops teaching beginners he or she ceases to be qualified for any honors…” so sayeth Wayne DeFrancesco.  However, the accolades include the MAPGA’s Horton Smith Award for Education in 1998, and the Teacher of the Year (1994) recognition.  He is both student and teacher of the game, participating in the PGA National Cracker-barrel, and Teaching and Coaching Summits, and becoming more than well-versed in the instructional literature.   Accolades include Golf Digest’s 50 Greatest Teachers, and Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Teachers.  His contributions to the literature include a four page spread in Golf Digest entitled “Drive 45 for Power,” Sports Illustrated articles and a three page piece on iron play in the 2008 PGA Guide to Instruction.  Furthermore, he authored a long list of articles for GolfStyles Magazine over thirteen years.

Objectively, his teaching attempts to “try to organize the information and teach you how to use your mental abilities in order to take what you learn out on the course and use it.”  Wayne’s instruction is grounded in learning theory, technology and social media which emphasizes ongoing development for players at all levels of their potential.   Given the difficulty of the sport he states that “best thing you can do is arrange for first rate instruction, but with the proviso there are no quick fixes.  He has been particularly successful in guiding young teenagers through the ranks of junior, high school, collegiate and in some cases professional careers.  At one time or other his younger students subsequently won a Virginia State Amateur, another qualified for two US Juniors and two US Amateurs, and one other won the Maryland State High School title and the State Amateur, and a young girl made First Team All-Ivy League.   Amongst his professional peers, Wayne coached quite a number, most notably guiding Kevin Streelman to a victory in the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship, and others have taken the time to study how he teaches.  Such an honor is accorded to very few colleagues.

The Wayne DeFrancesco Learning Center offers both in person and online instruction as well as presentations and seminars.  The attendant library includes “Lessons of the Week Videos” and online lessons and golf swing analysis, replete with copious articles on every aspect of the game.  Wayne’s visibility on the internet has helped garner him lessons with such players as Brad Faxon, Tom Kite, Nick Price, Aaron Baddeley, Kevin Streelman, Len Mattiace, Gary Hallberg, Dick Mast, Andrew Loupe and Willy Wilcox.