Adam Hadwin played like an experienced winner down the stretch at the Valspar Championship, holing long putts and recovering from a late double-bogey that would have derailed plenty of young players. He shot a final-round 71 to preserve a one-shot win over Patrick Cantlay to earn his first PGA Tour title.
At a time when many players get tight, Hadwin stayed calm and went fairway-and-green, "making the game easy," he said. When Cantlay couldn't get up and down for par, the 29-year-old from Saskatchewan added to his two Canadian Tour and two Web.com trophies.
It's always going to be hard to copy what a tour player does in his swing, but you can take away intangibles that would help anybody's game, says Matt Wilson, a fellow Canadian and Golf Digest Best Young Teacher who is the director of Next Generation Performance for Golf Canada.
"Average players interpret 'smooth' as being slow, but that is far from the case," says Wilson. "Adam's swing is 'smooth,' but it's because he has great tempo."
To get better tempo in your game, concentrate on how you transition the club from the backswing to the downswing. "Adam lets speed accumulate in his downswing. To do that, you want to push the gas the right way," says Wilson. "I often see players either apply too much force right away -- like they're throwing the head at the ball -- or go really slow to try to be smooth. You want the speed to build after you change directions, like you would drive your car from a stop onto the highway on-ramp. You don't floor it and spin the wheels. It's smooth acceleration with the goal to get to full speed -- which should happen at the ball."