Four Tips from the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals at Augusta National That Can Help Your Game
By Brendon Elliott, PGA
(Photo courtesy of Augusta National Golf Club)
Nearly a decade ago, Drive, Chip and Putt was born through a joint collaboration between the Masters Tournament, the United States Golf Association and the PGA of America.
What has transpired since is nothing short of pure brilliance.
There’s also much you can take from the 80 boys and girls who participated in this year’s Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals and apply it to your own game. Give these four tips a try:
Swing hard but smooth
The driving skill of the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals at Augusta National’s Tournament Practice Area is always exciting. I love seeing the kids put it all out there – a lot of them make mighty cuts and swing for the fences. In doing so, however, most still swing within themselves.
And you can indeed do both. I see too many golfers trying to white knuckle their driver, and what I mean by that is, they try to steer the ball. They swing in fear instead of swinging fearlessly. Part of ridding this issue from a swing is being able to fully turn back and through the ball without hesitation.
One of the simplest swing tips with the driver is this swing thought: Back to the target (on the way back), chest to the target (on the way through) and hold your finish in balance.
Focus on a routine
In all its simplicity, it’s amazing to see what an effect this concept can have on a golfer’s game. You see this in full display each year at the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals. The kids really put an emphasis on committing to their own unique routines and it works!
Developing your own routine is the easy part. The hard part is learning how to stick to it before each and every shot, especially when things start getting squirrely. Give this a try: the next time you go out and play a full round, have a singular focus of sticking to your routine on every single shot – even if it’s just one thought, like a three-quarter practice swing, a club waggle or maybe the swing thought we just talked about.
I’m confident that doing so will show you how important this seemingly small thing can be.
Study your chips and putts
The kids that seem to be the most successful in the chipping and putting skills of the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals this year all do this. Tour players do, too.
Most of the rest of us . . . well, maybe we do sometimes, but not always.
The next time you’re faced with a tough chip or must-make putt, look at your shot from all sides. Study the terrain. Find that spot where the shot will break – the high point – and come back to the hole.
You can not simply look from behind a shot and think you have all the necessary information to make a confident decision. Give it an extra look next time and you’ll be more situated to execute the shot you want.
Remember why you play
It’s a very special occasion to be able to drive down Magnolia Lane. It’s even more special to be able to compete on the hallowed grounds of Augusta National.
The full magnitude of the moment may not fully hit the youngest competitors who competed in the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals this year, but you can see, through their wide eyes and big smiles, that they truly appreciate the experience. It’s not lost on them. These kids clearly love golf, but the National Finals opportunity fills their hearts even more.
We should all remember what drew us to golf every time we play. The Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals kicks off a special week on the calendar that helps us remember those reasons. When you can learn to tee it up on both the practice and first tee with a true appreciation for the game, even after bad shots, you will start to see the game love you back.