There is no doubt that the 2016/17 PGA Tour season has been one of the best in recent years. We’ve seen some ridiculously good golf that included incredible scores, unthinkably good putts, memorable final rounds and crazy shots from places we would never image ( i.e Birkdales driving range).
(image courtesy of golfwrx.com)
It has been a season for the young guns with 10 players under the age of 25 winning 18 events on tour this year, making up a over a third of all victories! The most notable performances coming from Justin Thomas (24) Jordan Spieth (24) and Jon Rahm (22) who have all had brilliant seasons. This new ‘breed’ of players bursting onto the world stage have brought with them many new and interesting attributes to the game of golf and it has made the sport even more exciting. Extremely long drives followed by aggressive approach shots and fearless putts, there is nothing stopping these guys from smashing records year on year.
So what can we learn and take away from their style of golf? It is worth noting that there is no right or wrong way to play the game, but with these guys dominating against the best players in the world each week, there must be some things that we can copy to improve our scores.
One of the most notable attributes of these new young players is their physiques. Golfers are becoming athletes and are focusing more and more on their strength, flexibility and diet to maximise performance. A lot of their time off the course is spent in the gym, with a large focus on movement. A lack of muscle flexibility limits the way your body moves therefore the more flexible you are the easier it is to swing a golf club in the correct manner. With the increased range of movement it also makes it easier to generate speed and power and will help prevent injury. We recommend you try and stretch your major muscle groups at least once a day, look after your body and it will look after you.
Golf is a very individual sport and everyone plays the game differently but it is noticeable just how aggressively the young players on tour play. With loads of power at their dispense, they are taking on risky shots from great distance knowing that if they miss they can count on their short game to get up & down. What can we take from this? Confidence. Be confident in your ability, trust your swing and take on those tough shots. Plan ahead and find a safe miss incase of poor execution. Taking the safe option often leads to tentative swings and a lack of commitment which will just make the next shot even harder.
Overall, this die-hard attitude with a great will to win is what is driving these players forward. They go out on the course with the goal to shoot the lowest round possible in whatever way they can. They are fearless and not afraid of losing or hitting bad shots. They are solely focused on the next shot in front of them and the risks they take are calculated so they can insure that their ball will always remain in play. A great example of this was Jordan Spieths miraculous 4 iron from the driving range at Royal Birkdale which undoubtedly won him The Open. He remained calm as he saw his ball sail way right off the 13th tee. He explored all of his options as to where he could drop his ball, including as far back as going to the driving range. He took a risk by playing a 4 iron back into play, got up and down for a bogey and then followed that up with birdie, eagle, birdie, birdie on his next 4 holes, incredible!
Jordans win at The Open was one of many memorable moments this year, and when looking through the highlights you may notice a trend; Justin Thomas shoots 59 in Hawaii, Hideki Matsuyama dominates the Christmas period with 3 big wins, Dustin Johnson wins back to back WGC championships, Brooks Koepka over-powers the US Open, Branden Grace shoots the lowest score in a major ever at The Open, and Justin Thomas dominates the Fedex Cup playoffs. So what do they all have in common? They are guys in great shape with aggressive tactics and fearless approaches to the game, why not give it a go!