Jessica and Nelly Korda break down each other's games
When Nelly Korda won her first LPGA Tour event in 2018, she matched a feat her sister, Jessica, had already accomplished. Together, the two became one set of just three sisters who have won on the LPGA Tour, the other two being Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam and Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn. With five LPGA wins for Jessica and three for Nelly, these sisters know what it takes to be successful on the golf course. In our time with them, they shared some of their favorite tips across all facets of the game, from their go-to key for getting more distance off the tee, to the thing you need to focus on most for distance control on greens. —KEELY LEVINS
WHAT DO YOU SAY TO AMATEURS LOOKING FOR MORE DISTANCE OFF THE TEE?
NELLY: It’s not the same swing as irons. A lot of people play the ball in the middle of their stance, which makes it impossible to hit up on it. Play it off your front heel to sweep it off the tee.
JESS: People need to get fit for their drivers. But I’d also say getting the proper extension in the swing going back and through will help. I’m taking the club back wide here.
WHAT SKILL DID YOU NEED TO BE SUCCESSFUL ON THE LPGA TOUR?
JESS: In junior golf, you’re just hitting to the middle of greens; the pins are generous. On tour, you have to be able to shape it.
NELLY: For a draw, start like me with your feet and shoulders aimed right of your target, and then swing along that into-out path.
JESS, WHAT PART OF NELLY’S GAME DO YOU WISH YOU HAD?
JESS: Nelly is a great ball-striker, but it’s her touch around the greens. The confidence to chip from an inch off the green—it’s incredible.
NELLY: My go-to chip is with my 58-degree wedge. I put the ball back in my stance and leave the clubface square. This makes it come out lower with a lot of spin, which I find easier to control. The ball will hit once, start to check, hit again, check some more and then release a little. It’s a shot I can rely on from almost anywhere, even in tough situations.
WHAT SHOT DO AMATEURS ASK FOR HELP WITH THE MOST?
NELLY: Greenside-bunker shots. A lot of people struggle in the sand because they don’t understand that the clubface needs to be open before you grip it. The mistake is to grip it first and then rotate the face open. When you do that, you put the club in position to dig too deep, and the ball doesn’t get out. They also don’t get wide enough with their stance. You’ve really got to squat (above) and stay down to slide the club under the ball.
NELLY, WHAT PART OF JESS’ GAME DO YOU ADMIRE MOST?
NELLY: Her putting. When we chose who was going to hit iron shots and who was going to make clutch putts in Solheim Cup foursomes, I said Jess should putt.
JESS: The key is speed. A lot of people hit it too hard or too soft because they’re not aware of how big their strokes are. Sometimes they’ll be short back and long through, or too long in both directions. You want your stroke to be about the same length back and through, like I’m showing, with a consistent pace throughout. Keeping the length and speed consistent makes distance control a lot easier.