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Breaking Through: Leona Maguire's Keys to Success

By Brendon Elliott, PGA
Published on

Leona Maguire at the 2022 LPGA Drive On Championship.Getty Images

This past weekend, Leona Maguire found her way into the winner’s circle for the first time in her LPGA Tour career, at the Drive On Championship. In doing so, she became the first woman from Ireland to win in the Tour’s history. I had the opportunity to chat with Leona about her win, got some insight on what she works on with her own game, and what she thinks you should concentrate on with yours…
What stands out as the most important aspect of your game that carried you on to this victory?
"I have worked really hard at all aspects of my game this past off-season and made some important improvements since we finished up at the CME. I think GIR was one of the key stats that I targeted and focused on throughout the off-season, as I knew that I could make some tangible improvement in that area. With that in mind, I worked really hard with my coach Shane O’Grady on my irons, my approach shots from 150 yards and under especially, trying to achieve a more consistent flight pattern and neutral ball flight.
The courses that we play out on the LPGA week in and week out are so varied, they really do test your shot shaping abilities, so we worked on those over the off-season to make sure that I could access the more challenging pins."
From a practice standpoint, how do you prepare prior to a LPGA Tour event?
"My caddy, Dermot, will usually do some recon on the course if it is a venue that I haven’t played before and from that we usually tailor my practice to focus on the type of shots that specific course demands. That’s one of the beauties of golf, that it varies so much from course to course, each presenting its own challenges.
That said, some routines will always stay the same. I will always focus on honing my wedges and short irons and then also work on short-medium putting making sure that my technique is finely tuned to perform under pressure."
What advice can you give the average player who is trying to improve their game?
“I would advise any amateur player to work hard on their short irons, wedges and putting. I think as golfers, and especially golfers that love to watch golf on tv, we can become infatuated with trying to hit the ball further and further, when in fact, a lot more gains could be made if more time is spent on the short game. Spending time working on short putting, 10 feet and in especially, is also critical to shaving shots off your game as we have a countless number of those over the course of any given round.”
What is one of your favorite drills or two when practicing?
“I really love practicing my distance wedges. This is an area of my game that I really focus on during off weeks. I have some miniature Irish flags that I keep with me in my golf bag and my caddy Dermot will set those up at different distances, usually between 30-85 . yards, and I will hit balls at those until I have my yardages honed in. I find that when I practice my wedges it really allows me to work on tempo and timing which in turn translates into good rhythm in my long game.”