Masters Prep With Charley Hoffman
Thu Mar 29, 2018 by TPI
With purses exceeding $8 million every week, golfers approach every tournament with the goal of winning. Unlike a regular season win in the NFL or NBA, ANY win on the PGA TOUR has significant career implications in terms of exemptions and status.
That said, the motivation heading into a major is undeniably different. Winning a major - especially the Masters - does even more for your legacy than it does for you bank account.
During a day of practice at TPI last month, we asked Charley Hoffman to share what he does to prepare for majors, specifically the Masters.
In the video above, Charley demonstrates Lead Leg Only Chips, a drill he incorporates to promote lower body stability around the green.
By maintaining a stable lower body, Charley is able to increase the likelihood of clean contact. If golf is a game of inches, then club face contact is a game of millimeters. At your local muni, it might mean the difference between a tap in and a four footer, but a major venue that’s stimping 12+, the slightest mishit will invite bogeys.
Sway and Slide are swing characteristics that we cover extensively in our Level 1 seminars. While excessive lateral movement of the lower body can be the result of physical limitations, working on drills like Lead Leg Only Swings will benefit your short game and your full swing. Best of all, you don’t even need a club to practice.
It’s unsurprising that Charley’s prep would emphasize work around the greens. The conversation leading up to majors is often centered around length of the course, but the Masters champion needs to dominate 30 yards and in.
“When you get [to Augusta National], the focus is on and around the greens,” said Zach Johnson, who actually convinced the superintendent at his home course to trick out their practice area to emulate conditions at Augusta National.
Professional golfers are absolute wizards around the greens, routinely making shots that amateurs could never fathom.
They are the result of technical precision and trust in equipment, forged over a lifetime of practice.
In the video with Charley, Dr. Rose echoed Bob Vokey in saying that “bounce is your friend.” Most amateurs don’t take advantage of the bounce of the club, instead choosing to attack with the leading edge. Though it’s an acceptable strategy if the contact is precise, using the leading edge can be penal if the golfer hits behind the ball, resulting in fat shots.
Most amateurs would benefit from using the bounce more. Even Adam Scott increased his bounce from 6° to 10° prior to his Masters win.
In addition to optimizing equipment, amateurs will benefit from a better understanding of club and face control. A great drill to incorporate in your short game practice is the Seve Drill demonstrated by TPI instructor James Sieckmann.
This is an example of the types of drills and philosophy that we introduce in our Golf Level 2 online course. It’s unlikely that you’ll use these shots in a round, but they help develop an awareness and skill level which will serve you well in traditional shots. Maybe some day you’ll be able to flop a 4-iron like Jon Rahm