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Hey, everyone. Webb Simpson here. As a proud member of Team RBC, I'm happy to share some of my tips and drills with you today. And I brought along my good friend and caddie, Paul Tesori, to help us walk through some of these drills and techniques.
Hey, guys. We're here at the Sea Island Golf Club. And right behind me, we have there a world class Performance Center. And we're just going to go through some of the techniques that we use throughout the year to keep Webb sharp.
Should we get started?
Hey, guys. Here we are on the putting green. And one of the questions we get asked a lot is how Webb is turned himself back into a top 10 putter in the world again. And one of the things that we both believe in are drills. Anything that we can do to help the mechanics get better over and over again but also see putts going in on a pretty consistent basis. And what you see right now is one of the drills that we use.
I like to take as much credit for these drills as I can, but this one is all Webb. He came up with this on his own, which is rare. He usually doesn't. He has to rely on me for those things. So this is his drills. I'm going to let him talk to you about it a little bit.
So right here, you'll see Tiger doing this. He's done it his whole career. It's called the gate drill. And Tiger's only got these two tees. But basically what it's ensuring that you do is that you hit putts in the center of the face. And a lot of people don't realize how important it is to hit putts in the center of the face because the ball is going to be hit more solid, roll more true, and go the desired distance.
These next two tees are specifically for me. My tendency, as you can see down the line, is to go left with my stroke. So these tees are just blocking me from being able to do that. And so I'm fortunate enough to have a caddie to watch me putt and kind of lined me up on each putt. But if I do this correctly, I'm not going to hit any of the tees. And I rarely will hit this right one. But sometimes I'll hit these left tees.
A lot of times, what we see pro-am players struggle with is speed, and sometimes because they play different courses from week in and week out. And typically, we see a little bit of difference from week in and week out as well on the PGA Tour as far as speed goes. And so, what we've set up here is a little bit of drill. A lot of times, practice gets boring, and you want to try to keep it fun at the same time.
So it's a game inside of a drill. We've got a alignment stick set up 3 feet behind the hole. And the object of it is going to be able to get the putt to the hole without hitting the stick. And we won't have to do this very often throughout the year. But usually at Augusta, we'll put this drill down just to kind of make sure that we're dialed in.
And if you can spend five extra minutes in the morning putting this drill in, number one, it's fun. Challenge yourself. Try to make sure you can get three in a row done beforehand. Let's see how Webb does right now.
Put the pressure on me.
Yeah. So obviously, really good there. One of the other things you want to watch that Webb's going to try to do on this putt, which breaks right to left, is always get the ball coming in from the high side. Another thing you can do to kind of try to help you with how seen that the putt's coming in is just kind of set up something like this, where it gives you a little bit of visual of how the ball should be coming in from the high side.
This will be something that we will do only on rare occasions if we're having a hard time leaving the putts high. We'll put something like that in to make sure that we're good. If you're at home, you don't have alignment sticks in the bag, you can put a driver down. You could put any club down. And again, five minutes is all it takes. And if we would have everybody do that in our pro-ams week in and week out, everybody would putt a lot better.
Hey, guys. One of the things that we see in pro-ams are mistakes that are made around the greens. And for the most part, there's two different types of shots that we try to play. One of them is going to kind of be when that grain is sitting down, it's rolling into, and you're little worried about contact. And the other one is going to be your higher and spinning your ones. I'm going to let Webb kind of take you through both in what he does.
Yep. So for this first pin here, let's say I got a kind of a nasty lot. I don't want to take the chance of chunking it and landing on the green. So I got a 60 here, a 54 degree, 50 degree, they'll all work. Just depend it on your preference. But I'm going to take my ball position way back, kind of on the right toe or even behind the right toe a little bit. As you can see my setup, I'm fairly square to the line.
And if anything, I want to cheat the shot a little by towing the ball. So I'm going to set up a little bit on the toe. And my only thought here technically for me, my club has a tendency to roll inside my hands. So I want to make sure that this club, if I were to pause it right here, is right in line with my hands. And from there, it's a very simple little swing in motion.
Webb, obviously that's beautiful. Do you see anything common characteristics between what some of the pro-am guys do wrong when they mess this up?
Yes. So if you look at my kind of look at me front on, when I see amateurs chip-- and I struggle with this as well. Other pros struggle with it as well. But their tendency in their downswing is to rock back. We all want to help the ball get up in the air. And so I would focus-- if I were you, guys, focus on that head staying still through the shot. Now, not dead still where you look like this. But more of kind of let the head go with the club-head.
And so I don't want to pick up early and see where the shot is. I want to keep my head nice and still. But let it release kind of with the club. And as you can see, my finished position, the club is going, my body's kind of chasing the club, I like to say. You don't want the club over here. You don't want the club over here. Kind of right in front of you as you finish this bump and run shot.
Now, if we have a situation where there's a bunker in front of us or there's some rough in front of us, what about the shot that you have to have a little bit of air under?
Yeah. So again, I talked about ball position with the bump and run. I'm going to move this ball position up now, probably right inside my left heel. And with a bump and run my face was square to shut, now I'm going to have it slightly open. And here, the motion is going to be a little longer. I feel like my arms, my body, everything is a little softer. But the same principles apply.
I don't want to do this to help it. I want my head to go with my body. So again, front of my stance, slightly open face, and we'll make a longer, slower motion.
One of the things that we see a lot of players do wrong are going to be go and set up again, are going to be when they don't open their face going back as well. And so if you go back shut-- take it back shut force and then come down-- you're going to hit with that leading edge, and you're going to dig into the ground. So like Webb tries to at least kind of open the face a smidge as he goes back.
And it's a great point he makes. The easy way to kind of visualize it without the club as your hand, as you go up kind of in a back swing, your hands are going to open naturally. That's what we want to feel like the club's doing here. So the face is kind of naturally opening. And as you guys can see, we've got a longer pitch here. The flag's another 30 feet.
This is what I call kind of a standard pitch shot that I would do. I'm not going to fly it on the front of the green. I'm not going to fly it closer to home. I fly it about midway there. It's going to have a little bit of heat to it. And setup wise, it's going to be in between what I just showed you. So it's not going to be all the way back like the bump and run. It's not going to be up for a high lofted shot over bunker.
I'm going to kind of go middle my stance, square face. And again, what I love about chipping, the same principles apply with a pitch shot, a chip shot, a bump and run, a bunker shot. You never want to rock back through impact. And you always want to keep that club-head going and your physical head with the club. So here, I'm kind of visualizing about halfway there, I want to land this ball. Try that again.
And one of my last little things for the pro-am guys. Do you think that most pro-am guys should be chipping with a 60, or do you think a 56 should maybe be used a little bit more often?
Yeah. I think 56 would be better. There's more balance on 56-degree wedges even around the greens, these bump and runs. I wouldn't personally recommend doing what I did with a 60. I think it's a lot easier. Paul grew up hitting eight-irons, nine-irons, so he's really good at it. I think you, guys, will find it a lot easier to hit some of these shots around the greens with I guess less lofty clubs.
And don't be afraid to putt some of these. I mean, guys, honestly, certain tournaments, if it's grainy enough around the greens, I'll putt it from right here. And all I'm doing different here than a normal putt-- I'm going to read it like a normal putt. I'm going to go through my whole routine. But knowing that this is fairway, the ball is just not going to roll as fast. So I'm just going to hit a little harder.
So don't be afraid to take the putter out. Guys, a lot of people asked me about my wedges. How many wedges do you have? Do you have three? Do you have four? I've always been a three-wedge guy. My pitching wedge says 47, but it's actually 48. My sand wedge says 54, but it's actually 55. And my lob wedge is 60. So I've got 48, 55, 60.
And the mindset there for me is I don't want to create too big of gaps if I don't have to. So that's why I've kind of picked these lofts. My pitch mark, it goes 140. My sand wedge goes 125. My lob wedge goes 108. And these are our scoring clubs. We're going to hit these more in the round than a four-iron. So we might as well tighten up those gaps and get better at those wedges.
One of the things that we try to look at when you get into these two wedges, which would be technically sand wedge and lob wedge slice 54 and 60. It's going to be the bounce. One thing that we try to recommend to the pro-am guys is chip as often as you can with that 55- or 56-degree. The bounce that it has is naturally there to help you and a little bit of the smaller flange as well.
It's there just to help you get through the grass better. When it comes to the lob wedge, if you can see the bottom and what we would call the bounce, which is here, Webb uses a mid-bounce lob wedge. The biggest reason why is that we play in a lot of different grounds each and every week. Might be at the British Open which is really, really firm. And then the next week, like Augusta, was really, really wet.
So you get into these situations where you kind of need something in between. And I know last year, even at the RBC and Canada, when we finished second, one of the things that we did, we had put this in. It was on the second week, we had it in the bag. And the reason why is because kind of a neutral turf as we went through.
So if you're playing your home course and it's really, really wet, you want a high-bounce lob wedge or sand wedge, both. If you're playing in a course that's always dry, always firm, you want more of a low-bounce. For Webb, we've really gotten to the point where this is being duplicated by a lot of guys because you can use it each and every week, and you don't have to worry about switching lob wedges back and forth.
One area that I believe every pro-am partner that we get paired with could really improve on is their pre-shot routine. And I'm going to add one little thing to go a quick pre-shot routine. We don't want to slow pre-shot routine. Even us on the PGA Tour, we have a specific amount of time we're allowed to take to hit a golf shot. And so we want something to be pretty quick. We've worked really, really hard on Webb's, and we're going to let him tell you a little bit about it.
Yeah. So there's a lot of information that you can have on each shot. So Paul's getting the yardage. I'm kind of thinking through where's the pin. You know, we're going to pretend here the pin's back left. So we get our yardage. Let's say, we got 150 to the hole. Then Paul and I, not only are we thinking 150 to the whole, we're thinking where do we want to land the ball.
So we're going to land the ball, hey, five yards short. That's 145. We're going to check the wind. We already know, is it cold, is it hot out here today? Because it really affect shots. Sometimes, if it's 55 versus 95, with a nine-iron, it might be 12 yards difference. So there's a lot of information being passed around between Paul and I, but it's very quick. Hey, what's the hole? Where are we landing it?
Once we have all that information, my routine starts. And for me, I'm getting behind the ball. I'm taking one practice swing. And in my practice swing, I might be thinking one or two technical thoughts that I'm working through that day. But when I hit the actual shot, I'm kind of clean. We call it no thoughts. So I'm starting a few feet behind the ball, pin's back left.
Like I said, I'm visualizing this ball landing about 10 feet right of the hole. As I come in, I'm seeing that target. And my last couple looks are at that target. And hopefully, we hit good shots. And he gave me the right yardage, so I can make some birdies.
It's a rarity, but when we do-- one thing I want to bring up is every now and then when you're over a golf shot, either you feel a little uncomfortable or a wind gust comes up. You know, we've worked a little bit on your back off because we want it to be quick. Can you say real quick what might happen if you're over it and something quick happens, what would you do?
Yeah. So we're all prone to second guess or doubt a decision we made a club selection. Where is the wind coming from? So if I'm over the ball-- again, like I said, I'm supposed to be clean with no thoughts. But if any thoughts do come, which they do, I'm going to take a quick kind of half second back off real quick, re-visualize where I want the ball to land, come back in, and hit the shot. I'm not going to redo my routine because again, nobody wants to play with slow players.
I don't want to be labeled as a slow player out here. We want to, for the integrity of the game, do our best to make others experience with us good. So again, you're not rushing, but you want to be aware of your pace of play. And so I think just a little back off, if you're not comfortable, is a good thing to do to get fully committed and go to hit a good shot.
I think, I got one more thing. My last little thing is when we're in between really a hard one and a softer one, we've been trying to go more and more with the softer one. And we see that a lot of times with pro-am players who come up short.
Can you talk that through why do you choose maybe the softer one over the real smashed one?
Yeah. So I mean, if I'm having hit a pitching wedge really hard, I know that I got to hit it perfect for it to get to the desired yardage. So not only I don't have to hit it perfect, I can get away with a little more, but it's a little easier to hit it solid if I'm going to swing easier. And again, like Paul said, we play with amateurs every week.
The only tendency I see from pretty much 99% of amateurs is to be short. They, at one time, were able to hit an eight-iron at certain yardage. They think now, every time, that's the yardage for the eight-iron, when they need to be a little more defensive and then just think about, OK, I'm an amateur. I have a day job. Golf is a hobby. It's OK that I don't hit it perfectly solid every time.
And I really do think that the people at my home club that I've played with that I've helped them with this topic, they've really gotten better. You know, they start getting the ball to the hole. They got more looks at birdie. And their misses are better. I hope all those drills, tips, and routines that Paul and I took you through will help your golf game, help your handicap get lower. Thanks for your support. Thanks for having me in your home with RBC.