Model your swing on a tour player who has a similar build to you.

You always hear golfers say, “I wish I had Ernie’s tempo.” But before you try to swing like Ernie Els, consider a few facts. He’s 6-foot-3, with long arms and a huge swing arc. He has that nice, easy pace, but at impact the clubhead is moving 180 km/h. If the average male golfer – who swings about 130 km/h – tries to go “smooth” like Ernie, he’ll swing 125 km/h. You have to develop a tempo that works for you. Most players, even on tour, have a quicker tempo than Ernie. Take Jason Day, who is 6 feet tall, or Rickie Fowler, who’s 5-foot-9. Those guys hit it long, and their tempos are different from Ernie’s and each other’s. Ernie’s swing positions are great, but if you’re looking for a player to copy, pick a long hitter who’s built like you.

The big number: 80 per cent
Ernie Els says he hits most of his full shots with 80 per cent effort to promote solid ball-striking. Last year, that translated into an average of 265 metres off the tee. He might not be as long as you’d think, but Ernie hit plenty of greens from where those mid-length drives left him. He was 35th on tour from 160-180m, and 23rd from 180-200m. From 180m plus, he knocked it on half the time.

Hank talk
When a young player like Jordan Spieth gets off to a great start in his career, that’s really remarkable. Players have a lot going against them their first few years. They’re playing with guys who have seen the courses 50 or 75 times. The veterans know where the pins are going to be, where the safe areas and trouble spots are on each hole, and what shots they need to practise that week. Even things like knowing where to stay and where to eat are puzzles the young guys have to figure out. Experience helps you relax so you can focus on your business.