7 Birdie-Boosting Tips From A 14-Time PGA Tour Winner And Masters Champion

Setting up birdie opportunities on the golf course is one thing, but converting them is the key to success. These 7 tour pro tips can help you do just that...

Adam Scott wearing his Masters Green Jacket And Hitting An Iron Shot At The 2024 PGA Championship
These 7 birdie-boosting tips will help you to supercharge your scoring...
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Listening to expert golf tips from one of the best players in the world is a great way to fast-track your journey towards better golf, and 14-time PGA Tour winner and Masters Champion Adam Scott certainly fits into that category.

The 43-year-old Australian currently ranked 6th on the PGA Tour in 2023 for birdies or better conversion, with an average of 35 percent. On par 4s, Scott ranked 4th for birdie or better, thanks to his impressive ball-striking, with 165 birdies or eagles recorded. 

While you may not convert as many birdies as Adam Scott, his tips can certainly help you to improve your scoring. In this article, the former World No.1 shares his advice to help your birdie percentage go up and your handicap come down...

1. Crushing The Driver

When I’m driving it my best, I’m not necessarily focusing on anything during the swing. All I’m doing is ensuring I maintain a solid set-up using a checklist of things within my posture. 

The tilt from my hips is probably the most important. If I tilt my hips slightly downward in my address position, my lower body is connected to the ground and I can make a large turn against the base I’ve created. From there, I focus on taking the club away from the ball with everything moving together – arms, shoulders and spine.

2. Irons: Impact Is Everything

Your performance with irons is half the battle when it comes to increasing your birdie looks. You may have your own things to work on in your approach play, but one thing you can never work on too much is your impact position. Even at PGA Tour level, fine-tuning impact position can have enormous benefits for your distance control.

My coach and I had identified that as something to work on prior to the PGA Championship at Bellerive in Missouri. We wanted to see a different position at impact, and did that by working on me leaving my right foot on the ground longer, which had a great influence on the quality of my strikes. I finished 3rd at Bellerive.

Adam Scott playing an iron shot from the fairway

(Image credit: Getty Images)

3. Knock-Down Birdies

You won’t always have the perfect full club into every green. Better players have the ability to hit three-quarter shots with their irons and work those shots in both directions to get at tucked pins.

My tendency on full swings is to come from the inside, but when you’re hitting a true knock-down fade, you need to come slightly from the outside and hold the hands off. To hit a holding draw, amateurs should really work on approaching the ball more from the inside with closed shoulders.

4. Dial In Your Wedges

To make a lot of birdies, you’ve got to be dialled in at 70 or 80 yards, especially on par 5s. If you’re not sharp at that range, there’s a good chance you’re going to ruin birdie chances and lose confidence. There shouldn’t be too much difference between what I practise and what you practise from 60–80 yards.

The 80-yard wedge shot should be a compact swing with plenty of rotation back and through. Rhythm is crucial as it helps square the clubface. Rotation is just as important as it helps maintain the club’s true loft.

Those are two traits common to good wedge players as they can then control flight and spin. If you get too handsy, it’s easy to manipulate the clubface and that leads to inconsistent trajectory and spin.

Adam Scott chipping from around the green

(Image credit: Getty Images)

5. Putting: Find Your Grip

At the start of the 2019, I began using an arm-lock grip with a longer putter and it immediately paid off when I finished 2nd at Torrey Pines. If you want to finish off some of your birdie looks, you need to be confident and comfortable with your grip.

I learned a lot at Torrey, and although I made some errors, 28 putts for four straight days is probably one of the best I’ve ever done.

6. Birdie Sand Saves

Going for par 5s in two brings more sand into play as par-5 greens are often guarded by bunkers. Finding one shouldn’t rule you out of a birdie, but PGA Tour courses are heavily bunkered and if you’re not getting up and down, you’ll get found out.

My tendency on poor bunker shots is to lead with the handle and not let the technology in my wedges do the work. That’s the opposite of what you want, because you’ll likely catch the shot heavy due to the leading edge digging in too early.

Amateurs often take too short a swing and stop at impact, rather than swinging through the sand with nice acceleration. That produces the height and the spin you need.

Adam Scott hitting a bunker shot

(Image credit: Getty Images)

7. Bunker Drill

Practise one-handed swings with your right hand. The feel you’re after should be letting the club release past the hands. You don’t even have to hit the ball – you can just develop the feeling of taking a bigger swing and letting the club pass you as it slaps the sand. Then, try it with the golf ball and watch it splash out nicely.

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Freelance Writer

Evin was a freelance writer for Golf Monthly in 2020.

With contributions from