quick coaching

Scheffler & Smith's Different Blueprints for Success

By Keith Stewart, PGA
Published on

Cameron Smith of Australia waves to the crowd while walking to the 18th green during the third round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 09, 2022Getty Images

The two best PGA Tour players of 2022 will face off on Sunday in the final round of our first major championship this year. In the last 13 weeks, Smith and Scheffler have combined to win 5 times and climb 19 world ranking spots. Cam now holds the 6th spot on the OWGR while we all know Scottie is #1.
What is probably most impressive about their quick ascent to the top of the rankings is the manner in which both players are doing it. So much is written about speed and distance in golf and these two represent a level of precision most amateurs can actually envy. Since we all won’t be hitting the ball over 300 yards off the tee, watching the final group on Sunday at Augusta can really inspire us.
Starting with Scottie, look at his current strokes gained rankings on the PGA Tour.
  • Off the tee: 74th, Approach: 30th, Around the green: 33rd, Putting: 15th, Total: 8th
All amateurs should take notice that driving the ball is the weakest part of his game. Yet, he is the best player in the world. The precision Scheffler plays with centers around an unbelievable iron and short game. Smith has a very similar stat line.
  • OTT: 145th, APP: 8th, ARG: 21st, Putt: 3rd, Tot: 2nd
Cam Smith broke the tournament scoring record back in January at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. As a PGA Coach, I have watched these two all year and marvel at their accuracy and touch. Instead of always chasing longer drives, spend some time on Smith and Scheffler’s successful skill areas. Start with the iron game. Especially the short irons.
Always practice swinging your irons with an aggressive turn. Both guys move through the ball with tremendous pace.
The next time you are on the practice range, try these 2 exercises:
  • Grab an 8-iron and place it behind the ball on the ground. From that usual address position, try to throw the ball forward with your club. Yes, from that static starting position. Very quickly you will notice if all you use are hands and wrists, the ball doesn’t go anywhere. Now try by feeling your feet push the ground, thrust your legs, and turn your body. The ball goes about 10-15 yards down range. Pretty cool! Moving the body adds so much power and consistency to our golf swing. Work hard to master this drill.
Great short game players like Scottie and Cam always catch the ball crisply. It’s a vital component of this skill set because shots around the green always have such a wide variety of lies. To hit it close, we must know that a smooth clip of the ball is going to happen.
  • Try chipping on your lead foot. Take the trail foot and pull it back and place your toe on the ground. Lean all that weight on the lead side and hit a couple chip shots. At first your contact may wander, but with practice you’ll soon be clipping that grass like Smith and Scheffler.
These are just two quick examples you can work on in 2022. The Masters has always been the “unofficial” start to the golf season. Watch these two tomorrow continue their greatness. Pay attention to those irons, wedges and of course the putter. I don’t know which one will win, but I can assure you they both are there because they are the best at these basics.