Justin Rose couldn't quite catch Jordan Spieth at Augusta, but his relentless ball-striking at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans two weeks later eventually earned him his seventh PGA Tour title, by a shot over hard-charging Cameron Tringale.
Rose hit 12 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens Sunday on his way to a six-birdie 66. He also finished off a weather-delayed seven-birdie 65 earlier in the day to punctuate his bogey-free weekend.
According to top Alabama teacher Tony Ruggiero, who worked with one of his own players two spaces down from Rose at the TPC Louisiana range last week, Rose's balance is one of the main keys to his ball-striking precision. "When you get your weight proportioned like he has it, and your spacing from the ball is so good, it makes it so much easier to make a consistent, repeatable turn back and through," says Ruggiero, who is based at the Country Club of Mobile. "The club moves so easily around him and is always right on plane. His shots always seem to start out exactly on line."
To get some of Rose's balance in your game, get into an athletic setup position with no club and set your weight and feet so that if you jumped you'd go straight up in the air. "If your weight gets too much in your toes, you'd jump toward the ball," says Ruggiero, who also hosts the Dewsweepers Golf Show on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio. "If your weight is toward your heels, you'll jump backward."
Another takeaway from Rose's week in New Orleans? Persistence. "Working with Zack Sucher two spaces down from Justin, we were talking about how Justin missed 21 cuts in a row to start his pro career--and how everything is a process," says Ruggiero. "You'll get it, but it might take six or seven starts before it comes together. It takes hard work and patience, whether you're trying to make it on tour or do it at the club level."
To improve your own iron play, here's David Leadbetter on some short- and long-term fixes.