When I joined the PGA Tour in 1996, I was a pretty good player and managed to win a couple of tournaments early on. But I knew I still had a lot to learn. That was fine with me. Part of the fun is building on your strengths, erasing your weaknesses, learning new shots and improving your course management and mental control.
In the last four years, with my coach, Butch Harmon, I’ve worked long and hard to make myself a better golfer. I’ve learned a lot–on and off the course–and plan to keep learning. Here’s some of what I’ve learned, and what you might learn from my experience.
More control off the tee: Don’t overswing
When I turned pro, my swing was much looser, and I had a definite control problem. I could lose it both left and right off the tee. The reason I became so adept at hitting escape shots is that I occasionally hit it where no human ever had. Now my swing is much tighter, so I have fewer loose swings and wayward drives. The biggest adjustment I had to make was to take a shorter backswing. Notice in this photo that the club at the top of my backswing is short of parallel, while my left shoulder is under my chin–an indication that I’ve still made a full shoulder turn but limited my wrist cock. I’ve sacrificed a few yards for more accuracy. Believe me, the game is a lot easier when your tee shots consistently find the short grass.