Brooks Koepka's Warm-Up Routine Revealed
When I caught up with Brooks Koepka during the PGA Tour Playoffs in Baltimore, Maryland, I was aware of the unorthodox comments he’d made about practice in the past. “I don’t practice if it’s not a Major, I just show up and play.” But clearly we know he grinds during non-Major weeks as well. And who can forget when he showed up to the WGC in Memphis in 2019 a mere forty-seven minutes before his final group tee time that Sunday with Rory McIlroy? Koepka overtook Rory’s 54 hole lead that day en route to a 65 and the title. So clearly, Koepka’s comfortable with his warm-up routine.
But overall, what’s the superstar really like when it comes to practice - specifically prior to a tournament round? The following Q&A from the BMW Championship in Baltimore offers a fascinating insight...
So Brooks, what does your pre-round range warm-up look like?
It’s really simple…Always start with putting, range, then short game.
What’s the goal of your putting warm up?
Just get warmed up, get a sense of the speed. It’s way simpler than you all think. Make sure the speed’s right and everything’s good and from there go to the course.
Do you start with short or longer putts?
It depends on whatever I feel. I’ll drop balls down from wherever I am on the green and roll a few. If the speed’s good then you check it off and you’re gone.
Once you get to the range, how do you go through your bag?
I have no idea. Well, I know that driver I always want to finish with when I’m at twenty-five minutes before I go tee off. That’s the only thing I’m particular about, but other than that I just work my way up. I hit the same clubs every time: sand wedge, 9-iron, 7-iron, 5-iron, 3-iron, driver, and then work back down.
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Are you trying to hit specific shots for that course or a warm-up for the body?
It doesn’t matter. You can hit it like s*** on the range and then play great. It’s just making sure you’re all set. I’m already loose by the time I get there. You’re just trying to get a feel and get a rhythm.
Augusta has an amazing practice facility, how does it help you in your warm-up?
It’s just a range. It doesn’t matter. Take some balls and go hit 'em. Hit 'em at targets or wherever you’re trying to hit 'em. This range or Augusta, it’s all the same. It’s all a warm-up.
What about hitting bunker shots?
Same thing, get a feel for it. Make sure I’m doing everything I’m supposed to right. It’s very simple, it’s not complicated.
Do you use anything as a training aide like an alignment stick?
I don’t even use an alignment stick, I just get out there and go. It’s very easy. People try to overcomplicate it.
As you leave your warm up, what thoughts do you want to have as your takeaway, do you want it to give you confidence?
The range warm-up doesn’t have anything to do with your confidence of going to the first tee. If it does then you shouldn’t be playing this game. Because I’m pretty sure everybody’s had a great warm-up and played like s*** and vice versa. It doesn’t really matter what the warm-up is or anything like that. All the warm-up is is to make sure that you have a feel, and that’s it. That’s all it is. It doesn’t get too complicated. It’s pretty easy.
What can we do better in the 20 minutes we have on the range?
It doesn’t have to do with the range work, it has to do with the amount of time you’re dedicated to practice and short game. Nobody is committed to short game. If you shoot in the 80s then your short game isn’t good enough. It’s simple. You don’t make enough putts and you don’t hit enough chips close enough. If you chipped it three feet closer every time you’d be alright. Think of it that way. That’s all it is.
What’s a common mistake you see us amateurs make when we try to get distance?
Everybody’s trying to swing too hard and they end up missing the sweet spot. That’s the big thing, if you can hit it in the sweet spot it’s going to go far. Most amateurs try to swing too hard and their swing isn’t consistent enough and they don’t hit the sweet spot.
How do we fix that, with tempo and slowing things down?
Yeah, if you have good tempo and if your swing is repeatable then you’ll hit it out of the same spot pretty much most of the time. If you can do that, whether it be a little high on the face, a little low, whatever your preference might be then that’s fine.
What do you prefer, high or low off your driver face?
I’d rather hit it just above centre on the face. I like to hit it a little high off the face. It kind of depends on how you hit it. If you hit down on it and come really steep on it then it’s obviously going to go really low, even if you hit it high off the face, but you’re attacking and if it’s at zero then it will come out high. There’s so much that goes into it, how much down you hit into it and how much up you hit into it.
What other issues do you see with amateurs and our driving?
Most amateurs, when they try to hit it far, they swing too hard and they’re off balance. You’ve got to keep your balance. If you can keep your balance and keep your rhythm, then you’re going to hit it out of the sweet spot and it’s all the same.
Speaking of balance, what’s your goal for ratio of front foot to back foot weight on your finish?
I don’t have much weight on the back foot. I wouldn’t even know. I guess 90-10 is pretty accurate. I mean all of my weight is on my left side. Your right foot is just kind of holding you up.
To hear Brooks Koepka’s entire interview with Garrett Johnston check out the Beyond the Clubhouse podcast for this week.
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Garrett Johnston is a golf reporter and presenter who’s covered pro golf for 12 years including over 30 majors. His goal each year is always to “grow with the rookies” on Tour. The idea is to get to know the superstars before they become household names. Tony Finau, Gary Woodland, and Patrick Reed are just some of the players Johnston has covered from their early pro careers for their hometown newspapers. Johnston’s favorite event is always The Open, and he credits his unforgettable experience covering the 2015 Open at St. Andrews where he got to interview Tom Watson (in his final Open) and winner Zach Johnson exclusively throughout the week as his favorite event so far. Johnston has also developed a strong rapport with Tour caddies and regularly contributes to Caddie Network and Golf.com. He also has his own podcast: Beyond The Clubhouse
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