quick coaching

Follow Three Tips From Rob Labritz, PGA, to Boost Your Play Under Pressure

By Ryan Adams, PGA
Published on
Rob Labritz, PGA. (James Gilbert/USGA)

Rob Labritz, PGA. (James Gilbert/USGA)

What a week in Wisconsin.
First, it was Bernhard Langer setting the PGA TOUR Champions record for most wins (46) with his two-stroke victory at the 2023 U.S. Senior Open at SentryWorld in Stevens Point. It was also the German legend's 12th senior major title, the most by any player.
But that wasn't the only impressive performance of the week.
After a sizzling third round 66 followed by a final round 69, PGA Professional Rob Labritz vaulted up the U.S. Senior Open leaderboard to finish tied for fourth with Brett Quigley. It was the second top five finish of the season (Hoag Classic), and fourth top 25 finish.
Labritz, who was formerly the PGA Director of Golf at GlenArbor Golf Club in Bedford Hills, New York, has been competing on the PGA TOUR Champions since February 2022. He's long been a force of a competitive player, and has played in multiple major championships, too.
So we asked him to share a few tips on how he prepares for the spotlight, and there's a few keys you can apply to your own game the next time it faces a big moment.
Give me your swing thoughts on the first tee of a big tournament — what could an amateur use do calm the jitters a bit in their next event/big moment?
Labritz: I really don’t have any swing thoughts. Just ball flight thoughts. Although I like to feel my body rotate in each direction (back and through) so I don’t feel my hands when I swing. The jitters are normal. That’s just adrenaline. I love that feeling on the first tee as I can hone that feeling to hit the ball further and straighter. You shouldn’t be scared of that feeling. You should welcome it and enjoy it. We are in a higher state of consciousness which allows us to perform better. Breathing is a great technique to help calm down that heightened state. 
When you're on the course, what are three swing keys you rely on to stay consistent and not get into too much trouble?
Labritz: I like to rotate my body back and through which takes out the excessive feeling of my hands when I play. I like to think about my tempo staying relatively slow during the day. I keep my grip pressure very light on the course to keep the tension out of my body when I play. And, finally, I like to smile all the time as it reminds me that I’m doing exactly what I want to do in good times and bad on the course.
What are three items you always carry in your golf bag for tournaments?
Labritz: No. 1 is my alignment sticks to make sure that I am always aligned when I warm up. No. 2 is my Rypstick (which is a weighted club) that I use to warm up before the round. It has three weights in it that progressively get heavier. And No. 3 is my bagful of 1960 something quarters and half dollars for ball marks. I always use a 1960 something (and I have a 1958 quarter, as well) to mark my ball because I love shooting in the 60s. And you need to shoot in the 60s to win!