124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2



Golf Digest Logo tour technique

Amp up your warm-up with this ball-striking tip

June 03, 2024
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Dom Furore

Being named the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year in 2023, 50 years after my mom, Laura Baugh, captured the same award on the LPGA Tour, was quite an honor. Fortunately for me, both of my parents were pros—my father Bobby Cole won the 1977 Buick Open on the PGA Tour—and I spent much of my childhood watching them play and practice.

My dad hit it well past me, so I spent more time playing with my mom. Although she never won, she had 71 top-10 finishes across her 25-year LPGA career. One thing I noticed about her warm-up was that she always started with her fairway woods. Most pros begin with wedges and work their way up to the driver, but my mom believed that by hitting some 3and 5-woods off the deck, she would have a better sense of where her swing was that day. Not only must your rhythm and sequencing be sharp, but solid contact is a must if you want to hit woods off the ground. You have to be in balance and complete your backswing because you need more time to square the clubface.

I still warm up like this today. Even if I don’t anticipate hitting a lot of fairway woods, I’ll hit several off the deck on the range (above) just because, as they say, moms know best. I know if I hit my woods flush, I’m good to go. It certainly makes hitting the other clubs feel easy. Next time you warm up, give it a try and see if it makes a difference in your ball-striking. —With Dave Allen

ERIC COLE is the second-oldest player (age 35) to win PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. He had seven top-10 finishes on tour in 2023.