7 Things All Great Players Do
Here's who you should copy—and how to do it
My time around great players started with my dad. He finished top 10 in 11 major championships and won the Masters in 1948. His closest friend was Ben Hogan. When they'd play practice rounds together, I'd tag along silently, asking a million questions afterward. My clearest memory of Mr. Hogan is how he could control his ball. He always left it in the right place, even when he missed. And he could control it through the air like nobody--high, low, draw, fade.
It was incredible to watch.
One day my dad asked me to play with him and Mr. Hogan. By then I was a know-it-all teenager, and I got all the way to the first tee before my nerves took over. I remember standing over that first shot: I was wearing a visor, and on my last look down the fairway I saw a pair of golf shoes out of the corner of my left eye. Mr. Hogan's shoes. All those years watching him, and now he was watching me. I flared it right and didn't settle down until he threw his arm around me a few holes later.
Great players have a huge effect on us, because they excel at something we love to do. Here I'll show you what I've learned from some of the top players I've coached. Some are things we worked on together; others, just like Mr. Hogan's ball control, are things I simply marveled at. I'm sure these lessons can help you play better.
It's critical to give the right instruction to great players, because they can actually do what you're asking them to do. But all golfers should make swing changes only when they need different results. It sounds obvious, but some people get fixated on positions--others always need a project.
Also, realize that changes can have a ripple effect. With Natalie, we worked so much on her backswing, she lost some speed at impact. So I had her practice the step-through drill, where you step to the target through impact with your back foot. The lesson: Let results--not ego--drive your practice sessions.