Want to shoot lower scores? These tips from two-time Major winner, former World No.1 and TaylorMade ambassador Martin Kaymer can help you play your best...
7 Things Tour Pros Do To Play Their Best
TaylorMade staffer Martin Kaymer talks through all the things he does on and off the course to make sure he plays his best golf.
Consistent Pre-Round Routine
For me, my routine has been the same ever since I turned professional.
Usually I go to the putting green for 5-10 minutes, then to the range for 20-25 minutes and back to the putting green before I tee off.
On the range I always use the same clubs too. I go sand wedge, pitching wedge, 8-iron, 6-iron, 4-iron and driver and this is the same no matter what club I’m hitting off the first tee.
It’s important for me when warming up to just get a feel for all the different shots – high, low, draws, fades. I try to include all of these in my warm up session before I go out and play a round.
I’ll have a couple of swing thoughts but not too many because it’s not a practice session, it’s a warm up session which are two different things and before going out to play it’s more about getting the body warmed up and the mind ready to play a round.
Related: TaylorMade SIM2 Drivers Review
The yardage books are so good nowadays I don’t need to do that much anymore!
But generally, I want to specify a few things that are important to me like a few carry distances because these might be different to other players and how I want to play the course that week.
If I’m playing a practice round before an event it’s all about using that time to get used to the different sand, the different grass and getting a good feel for the greens.
I like to look at holes in a different way too and see which feels the best for me and my game in how I play it.
Building A Flexible Strategy
I always try out a few different strategies. If I’m playing a practice round me and my caddie think about my strengths and weaknesses and what that means for how we play a hole.
Some players aren’t comfortable with their wedges, some aren’t comfortable with an 8-iron for example so my advice would be to find a way to use them less.
Sometimes I might feel comfortable attacking a par 5 in two shots but some days maybe not. There might be water in front of a green you don’t want to take on and these things depend on who you are as a player but try to have different options when playing the golf course.
I will always adjust my strategy while I am playing. I couldn’t tell you on the range on a Thursday morning how I will play the golf course because I don’t know how my swing will feel on the first few holes.
If I hit the ball really well, maybe I’ll be more aggressive or sometimes I’ll just aim for the middle of the greens and accept this isn’t going to be one of my better rounds. So there’s got to be adjustment to strategy while you play.
Play Percentage Golf
There can be some awkward shots during a round of golf and we’ve all been stood over a shot that doesn’t suit our eye.
Hitting these kinds of shots that you don’t feel great over has a lot to do with trust and belief.
I also really focus and work out exactly what I want to do with the ball.
I always say to myself ‘where is my target’ and that is all that matters regardless of the pin or hazards around the green.
It’s always good to know where your ‘miss shots’ are too and try and eliminate that over an awkward shot.
It’s also good to try and make these awkward shots as comfortable for yourself as possible by picking out a big target.
Then, make this target as small as possible in your mind and just trust your swing to do the right thing.
Take Time To Practice With New Equipment
The guys at TaylorMade are great with me on Tour and they approach me a couple of months before a new product is released to tell me which ones they think I will benefit from.
They’ll build me a few different drivers for example and then we’ll use it on the Trackman for a while to gather data.
I’m always a fan of hitting 30-40 balls on the range with a new club but it’s also got to work in different situations out on the golf course.
So I’ll take it out on practice rounds and Pro-Am events before I put anything in the bag for tournament play.
It’s all about giving good feedback to the guys at TaylorMade too if I need any adjustments.
Take Advantage Of Forgiveness
These days I don’t want to change the irons too much. For example I don’t want a set of irons that all of a sudden are 5-10% further than my old ones because I know my distances and like my distances with my set.
The most important thing for me is the feel and level of forgiveness in irons. I was always a blade player with TaylorMade and I stuck with that for a while until the Tiger Woods irons came out and all of a sudden I felt a bit more forgiveness than normal blades and the feel was so much better than a normal blade.
There is just so much more forgiveness than other TaylorMade blades that I’ve used in the past. For example I hit an iron about 170 yards and with these blades if I miss it a little bit the ball still goes about 165 yards whereas my old ones about 155 on a miss hit, which is a significant difference. However you put it, a blade with more forgiveness is fantastic to have.
Related: TaylorMade SIM2 Irons Review
Getting properly and regularly fitted
Fitting is still underrated these days outside of the professional game. There’s nothing worse than thinking you’re playing well but you’re using the wrong equipment.
Lots of people go for pretty equipment but can’t hit them that well so maybe you should leave the blades in the living room to look at!
Also I think maybe leave the 3-iron and 4-iron in the garage and go for some hybrids instead. Enjoy the game as much as you can and don’t make it harder for yourself.
It’s all about a lot of testing and trying to see what fits you, whether professional like me or an amateur.