One thing that I observed at the Masters was differences in pre-shot routines and temperament. Basically the less time the players took over the ball before they hit it, the better the shot was. I watched Jordan Speith take an eternity over his tee shot with lots of pumps and waggles then chunk it 30 yards short of the green, while Tiger just got up and hit it. The clearer the decision making and less hesitation, the better the outcome. I did watch Henrik Stenson lose his cool on hole #13. He hit his second shot into the azaleas, which needed an unplayable ball drop. He took his drop, then chipped it out into the water on the other side of the green. After learning that his ball went into the water he attacked some azalea bushes then tried to put them back after the attack. I bet he got a huge fine for that incident!
Augusta National is an incredible place with so much golf history and ideal conditions. There is no rough on the course, just pine needles if you really miss the fairway. Where the course gets tough is in the greens and elevation changes. The greens are mounded with no real spot to keep the ball close to the pin. There is very tight grass around the greens with no rough to hold the ball, so if you don’t have spin on your ball it just rolls off the green to a low spot really far away from the hole. No one likes a 40 pitch shot with very little grass going to an uphill green. For instance, I was on the par 3 hole #6 where there is a huge hump in the middle of the green. If you don’t land your ball on the correct and very small tier by the pin, then your ball rolls off the green. I watched many players, like Sergio, hit their ball about 10 feet from the pin and end up with a 40 foot putt coming back. On TV the course looks flat, it is not! Augusta National is the 2nd hardest walk on the PGA Tour. You could ski down Hole #10. If you ever get tickets, don’t wear sandals to the Masters, bring your hiking shoes!
This week I was at the Masters from Tuesday through Friday. It was a wonderful week filled with watching the best of the best, pristine playing conditions, and climbing lots of hills. I spent a lot of time on the driving range watching how the players were practicing and working with their coaches. There definitely was a common theme, everyone was relaxed on the range working to different targets and changing clubs frequently. The player on the range the most was Freddy Couples — he is a range rat! He hits a drive, stands there for a while, talks to players or his caddy, then tees up another. Cool as a cucumber. He was at the range for hours in a long practice session that was more hanging out than grinding on the range. Another thing that I noticed is that each player had their own short putt drill — lots of time was spent from 10 ft and in. Rory and Jon Rahm did a version of my 4 corners drill from 4 feet from the hole. If the pros are intensely working on their short putts, then why doesn’t the average amateur? Hint hint, go practice your short putts!
Drive, Chip, and Putt for Precision Golf School at Chardonnay Golf Club on May 3-5th. Dive deep into improving your drives, chipping it closer, and making more putts. Open to women that are beginning to intermediate. For more information visit https://www.oakmontjuniorgolfacademy.com/drive-chip-putt-for-precision.