The Masters Tournament is underway in Augusta Georgia and is definitely on my bucket list of things to do. I have heard nothing but good things about The Masters Tournament and like the broadcasting motto says “an experience like no other”. It would be amazing to to get to go but since I am at home 600 miles away, I figured I would try to make the most of my experience anyway. How can I improve my golf game by watching The Masters Tournament this weekend? What should the average golfer be looking for that might him/her? Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott talk about “purposeful practice”, well here is a prime opportunity to improve my game.
The Masters Tournament Guide
#1 – Jordan Spieth’s (Putting)
Number one on my list of things to watch in 2017’s Masters Tournament is Jordan Spieth on the putting green. Spieth is a great putter and ranks 39th on the Tour but that is not what I plan to watch. I want to watch Jordan on his short putts. From 3 feet in an in Jordan Speith makes 99.62% of those putts but that is not what I am interested in. I will be watching his eyes. Spieth is one of the few players in the world that does not look at the ball when he putts a short putt. He looks at the hole.
This is an interesting concept that is becoming more and more popular. It is called “instinct putting” and was made famous in a book by the same name. In this book, he talks about the benefits of looking at the target instead of the ball when putting. Similar to what top dart or archery players do in their sports. The concept is very interesting and deserves my attention as I watch The Masters Tournament and try to improve my game.
#2 – Matt Kucher & Soren Kjeldsen (Flat Swing)
I have really studied some of the classic and old school swings of the past. Ben Hogan, Sam Snead and Bobby Jones were such great ball strikers that I wanted to pattern some of my swing mechanics on those players. Most of today’s players have such high steep swings that have the hands way above the shoulders. That is not my swing. I believe in more a flat and simple swing like the old days.
Two players playing in the 2017 Masters have that flat swing and replicate what I want my swing to look like. My model swings so to speak. Both Matt Kucher and Soren Kjeldsen have that unique style of swing. I am interested to see how they perform and how good they strike the ball with their irons. In addition, I want to watch how their left arm never gets above their shoulders on the backswing. It is also said that Kjeldsen’s left arm bends which to many instructors is taboo (they believe in a straight left arm on the backswing). I will be following those players and deep down rooting for them to succeed.
#3 – Green reading (Fingers)
I wrote an article on how to read greens using the Aimpoint Express. In this article I discuss that some of the players on Tour use their fingers to gauge the slope of the green. This idea really intrigued me because I am so poor at reading greens and need all the help I can on my putting. I am curious to see what players are using it, it any and I am curious to see how many players are “plumb bobbing” instead. The greens at The Masters Tournament are some of the most difficult in the world so the players better have a good idea how to read greens.
# 4 – The Big Hitters
Hitting it a long way at Augusta is key to being successful. Most of the players who play well there hit it a mile giving them a huge advantage. They are hitting shorter irons into some of the most difficult greens in the world. These big hitters are usually at the top of the leaderboard. So here is what I will be looking for:
What commonalities can I find in their swings?
What do players that are NOT big hitters are on the leaderboard?
What do these shorter hitters have in common?
Here are some the Big Hitters based on 2017 PGA Driving Distance Stats: RankBig HitterYards (avg) #1Dustin Johnson316 #14Bubba Watson305 #17Adam Scott304 #18Sergio Garcia304 #21Hideki Matsuyama302 #24Rickie Fowler301 #25Justin Rose301
#5 – Pre-shot Routine
A couple of years ago I change my pre-shot routine. Previously, I had taken my stance next to the ball and proceeded to take two or three practice swings (depending on if they felt good or not) and then moved closer to the ball and hit it. This is the pre-shot routine of most average golfers. All my beginning golfers that I coach do the “stand next to the ball” practice. If you look at most Tour golfers, this is NOT their routine. Most Tour Pros take their practice swing behind the ball and then move over the ball to hit it. When I changed, I felt more comfortable over the ball and begin to strike it better.
During The Masters Tournament, I am going to be watching exactly how they perform their pre-shot routine.Here are a few of the things I will be looking for:
Where do they take their practice shots? How many?
Where are their eyes during their practice shots?
Do they take a “waggle”? If so what does it look like?
It is important to get off to a good start and a good pre-shot routine I think is key.
The Masters Tournament is one of the best golf tournaments to watch. It has the prestige, the pressure, and the difficulty to challenge the best players in the world. I will be watching and learning. Studying the film of their swings, putting style and routines so that I can get better. I really want to make The Masters Tournament an “experience like no other”.
Books About The Masters Tournament
For The Average Golfer