I played some solid golf through the northern summer last year. I teed off on Sunday at the Open Championship with a chance to win and I held the lead on the back nine on Sunday at the US PGA Championship. I also contended throughout the first event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
I want to encourage that to continue this year, but to do that I need to drive it at my level. It’s getting close to what my best driving looks like, but it’s not a complete ‘stripe show’ just yet. In my career, one of my biggest strengths has been that when I’m on, I can stand up and slot drivers all day long. Even at the BMW Championship, during the FedEx Cup Playoffs, it was certainly starting to get close.
I really don’t want to be on the back foot this year, which means starting each hole of every round with a good tee shot. That frees up the rest of the game to play the way I know I can.
Here are a few things I will be working on with my coach, Brad Malone, to maintain my ball-striking from the tee – and from the fairway. Hopefully, they can help you, too.
One of my biggest strengths has been that when I’m on, I can stand up and slot drivers all day longAdam Scott
The biggest key for me to driving the ball well is not necessarily anything during the swing, rather it’s maintaining a solid setup using a checklist of things in my posture.
A big checkpoint is the tilt from my hips. If I tilt my hips a little downward at address, it connects my lower body to the ground, while allowing me to make a large turn against the base I’ve built. From there, I focus on taking the club away from the ball with everything moving together – arms, shoulders and spine. Do this, and you give yourself every chance to hit a good drive.
My focus with the irons this year will continue to be my impact position. Brad had identified that prior to the PGA Championship, and he wanted to see a different kind of impact position. We did that by leaving my right foot on the ground longer and it had a great influence on my impact position. The advice was sound, and I finished in third place at Bellerive Country Club.
A Steady Coach
Brad came back on board with my team before the US Open at Shinnecock Hills. There’s no doubt his calming influence was a big reason why I started to play well during the northern summer – the proof is in the pudding.
He has definitely been a big influence on my results, because I can talk golf with him in a way that gets me into a good spot, mentally. He has seen me play so much golf and knows how my body moves. When Brad and I decide to change something technically, it’s not in one session where we analyse it to death. It’s a matter of easing into a change. We let it evolve without thinking.
Brad is big on ‘releasing the inner athlete’, or going back to feels more than technique. When you’re trying to execute, for an athlete on the PGA Tour it should be just a reflex. There is definitely an art to keeping your mind free and keeping golf simple.
There were lots of positives to last year, and hopefully this is just something to build on as a player-coach dynamic.
– with Evin Priest