Three Golf Drills to Make More Birdies Like U.S. Women's Open Champion Allisen Corpuz
By Brendon Elliott, PGA
(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Hawaiian native Allisen Corpuz in her LPGA sophomore season pulled off her first win yesterday at iconic Pebble Beach Golf Links.
And it was a big one: the 2023 U.S. Women’s Open.
Corpuz became the first woman in 20 years to clinch an inaugural victory at a major championship. Additionally, she was only the seventh American to wear the Mickey Wright Medal and raise the Harton S. Semple Trophy in the last 23 years.
Part of her recipe for success at Pebble Beach was making a tournament-leading 17 birdies over four rounds, with six coming in the final round, where Corpuz separated herself from the field to win by three.
To make more birdies, you need to give yourself more scoring opportunities. Give these drills a try:
Hit more fairways and greens with the Lines and Gate drill
What you need: Two alignment sticks and two tees
Start several feet behind your ball for every shot, looking down the line and visualizing the target line you want for your shot. Once you find the target line you want, set your first alignment stick down behind your ball and directly down your target line. Make sure to check for accuracy by going behind the line and checking to see if the alignment stick looks correct.
Set your second alignment stick where your toe line would be as you address the shot. It should run parallel to the left of your target line alignment stick. This is like how many of you may practice.
Lastly, once your alignment sticks are set, you will place two tees in the ground on either side of your ball, roughly half an inch on either side of the ball. This gate will help you visualize having a square face at impact.
It’s best to do this drill on the course late in the evening or on less busy days. This on-course practice will shed some light on the importance of alignment and clubface control in an on-course environment, something most golfers never practice.
Up your chipping and pitching skill with a pressure game
A practice drill I love to have my students do, and do so as often as possible, is the up-and-down game.
What you need: At least three alignment sticks; more is better!
Put three alignment sticks in the ground in different locations around the practice chipping/pitching green. You can put six of them up if you have enough space and alignment sticks. These alignment sticks will serve as your "tee box" in this game.
From the spots you put the sticks, hit a shot to a chosen pin location for each. The object is to try to get up and down: one chip/pitch and one putt. You will finish each hole out and keep track of your score. Continue through your three spots (or six) in order and repeat the stations until you have completed 18 holes. What did you score? To give you some reference on what good is in terms of up-and-down percentages, The average PGA TOUR / LPGA player scrambling or up-and-down percentage on a missed green is roughly 60 percent. Aim for 50 percent and you’ve done well!
Pull back to perfect your putting
Three putting kills golf scores. To limit your three-putting, you must focus on two areas: speed and direction. Last month I shared two awesome drills that I use to help my students cut down on the number of three putts they have.
Here is one more great putting drill for you to try, called Pull Back. It’s a practice game that my good friend and PGA Professional Casey Bourque showed me several years ago. This game/drill helps you with lag putting as well as those often scary 4-8 footers.
Wit this game, you will be playing 18 holes on the putting green. Each hole is a Par 2 with a range of about 15-50 feet. You mix up the length of putts as you go and do so as much as possible.
You will count all your strokes and see what you can shoot for the 18 holes. Two things to remember:
After you hit your first putt on each hole, any putt that doesn’t go in the hole gets “pulled back” directly away from the hole one putter length (or 3 feet). This means that even putts that miss by an inch become testy 3-4 footers.
Miss your second putt? Pull it back and knock it in. Miss again? Sorry, but you have to keep going until you hole it out. Shoot even par in this game and you’re Tour caliber.
To give you some idea of where golfers of certain handicaps fall in terms of three putting and the average number of putts per round, have a look below.