9 Things Tour Players Do That You Don't

Golf Monthly's Neil Tappin takes a look at nine things tour players do that you don't...

Jason Day (left) visualising a shot at the 2023 Open; Cameron Smith (right) hitting a putt at the 2022 Open
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Not only have the top pros been blessed with a natural ability that allows them to do the unthinkable time and again, they also take care of the little things, making sure their job is as simple as it can be. In the video and article below, Neil Tappin takes a look at some of the things tour players do that you don't...

1. Properly Warm Up

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland stretches on the practice range during a practice round prior to the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club

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We all know how important a warm-up is but how many of us actually do it? How many of us also warm-up before heading to the range or practice ground? We guess not many. The pros warm up before they start hitting golf balls on the range. This means they don't waste a single shot or lose confidence hitting poor shots as they get loose.

2. Flight their wedges

Scottie Scheffler of the United States plays his shot on the 11th during Day One of The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club

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The pros will rarely hit a flat-out pitch shot with their most lofted club in the bag mainly because it takes away some of their flight control. What the pros do is take a little bit of speed off the swing, which reduces the spin and flattens out the flight. So when required to hit a pitch a shot, it makes sense not to play to the limit of your speed. Take an extra club if you need to and keep the tempo nice and smooth.

3. Know their miss

Tiger Woods plays a stroke on the No. 7 hole during the final round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club, Sunday, April 14, 2019.

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Another reason amateurs don't get better at golf comes down to strategy, or lack of. When plotting their route, the best players in the world are very good at knowing where they absolutely cannot hit the ball. This is how they keep the big scores off their cards. Identify where the big number comes from and then build a strategy that takes it out of play!

4. Focus on start lines when putting

Cameron Smith of Australia putts for a birdie on the 12th hole during Day Four of The 150th Open at St Andrews

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The pros are meticulous about making sure that when they are putting, they are starting the ball on the right line. They do so by using training aids and training techniques to make sure they aren't pulling or pushing putts and you can do the same with simple gate drills and aids. Learning how to practise putting will be an invaluable tool to add to any golfer's arsenal.

5. Know their game

Brian Harman of the United States plays his third shot on the 18th hole during Day Four of The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club

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Top pros performing at the highest level will all have a clear idea on what their strengths and weaknesses are, which gives them a framework for what to work on in practice and helps them make key strategy decisions in the heat of competition. Amateurs could do with understanding their games more and then implementing what they know into practice on the range and on the course.

6. Work on their mental game

Padraig Harrington of Ireland looks on from the 18th green during Day Three of The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club

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These days pros have a clear idea on how important the mental side of the game is because it controls everything and has an impact on performance on the course. The question is - are you doing work to try and improve your mental game? 

There are lots of things you can do to train yourself, such as pressure practice, performance practice and also looking at how you process a round of golf. Also, if your standards are too high, it might be worth considering why par doesn't matter and how it could be ruining your game.

7. Use visualisation

Jason Day of Australia tees off on the 4th hole on Day One of The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club

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Seeing the shot in your head is something the pros do on every single shot they are faced with, but amateurs rarely do this. Doing so can help narrow your focus and give you a clear idea on the shot you want to play. It can also be hugely beneficial to your game because it acts as a positive mental rehearsal for your shot.

8. Practise with purpose

Tommy Fleetwood of England warms up on the practice area as swing coach Butch Harmon looks on prior to the 2023 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club

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Going to the range and just hitting balls without any clear objective is pretty much a waste of time. The pros are very good at making sure their practice sessions have a point to them and a clear idea on what they are trying to achieve. Whether you want to stop slicing the driver or are just looking to improve your rhythm, don't hit balls away aimlessly. Additionally, performance practice can help create the same pressure situations that you experience out on the course too.

9. Clean their clubs

General view as Lee Westwood of England cleans his clubs during Day One of the Turkish Airlines Open at the Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort on November 1, 2018

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The pros clean their clubs after every shot they hit, not just the wedges. They know that anything trapped between the face and the ball will affect the outcome in terms of spin, distance, and so many other variables. And not only will learning how to clean your clubs before you hit help create a more reliable and consistent outcome, but it is also one of the best ways to ensure your gear lasts longer.

Neil Tappin

In July 2023, Neil became just the 9th editor in Golf Monthly's 112-year history. Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he has also presented many Golf Monthly videos looking at all areas of the game from Tour player interviews to the rules of golf. 

Throughout his time with the brand he has also covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSR2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X