Friday, April 10, 2015

Top 10 - Lessons We Can Learn From Jordan Spieth's Masters Play

Jordan Spieth is the hottest player on the planet. His 64 in Thursday’s first round of the 2015 Masters was very close to being a historic round at Augusta National. Let’s take a look at some valuable lessons that golfers of every ability can learn from his near record-setting performance. 

10. Do your homework 
While describing his first round, Jordan consistently stated with confidence the exact breaks of putts that he had throughout the day. He was describing putts from earlier that day, but he made those putts because he knew ahead of time what they were going to do. Great players do their homework. 

9. Have fun 
Did anybody else notice how much Jordan seemed to be enjoying himself on Thursday? It makes a difference. A positive attitude is a very important strategy that many of us amateurs forget to implement. 

8. Accept the results 
Jordan mentioned a couple times in post-round interviews that he was disappointed by his club selection on the 15th which led to a bogey. Even following a great round of golf, there will always be shots that you can replay in your mind and wonder “what if?”. It’s important to accept what happens during the course of a round. Focusing too much on the past can only prevent you from performing your best as you move forward. 

7. You are never too good to seek advice 
This year’s Masters will serve as Ben Crenshaw’s last. As a man known for his putting prowess, Jordan took advantage of playing practice holes with “Mr. Crenshaw” earlier in the week. Spieth was quick to give credit to the golf legend for advice he received around the greens. The best become better when they accept advice and make the knowledge gained their own. 

6. Practice smart 
Once getting off the golf course, one of the first things Jordan mentioned was that leading up the the tournament he was trying to find the balance between “resting and solid, good practice”. Practice is not about how much you complete, but about being wise in your plans to accomplish what is required to be successful. 

5. Great performances often involve great breaks 
Spieth mentioned that he felt he got a lot of “lucky breaks”. He was right. On 7 he had a clear opening to the green after blocking his shot into the trees. On 12 he watched his putt roll in for birdie as he walked toward the cup, frustrated by a poor putting stroke. Two holes later he hit the pin on a shot from the right rough which required a fade around trees. Without the pin he would have been at the back of the green instead of putting from 2 feet for birdie. Ben Crenshaw alluded to this point earlier in the week when he said, “Something really good usually happens to the champion that I think is a little out of the ordinary. It seems to happen here a lot”. 

4. Treat every shot the same 
When asked if he treated the birdie putt on the 18th, which he made, any differently than some of the others during his round, Jordan quickly stated, “No, it was just another stroke. Just another birdie putt”. Whether it be a par save, a rare birdie putt, or a putt to win the club championship, it is important to remember that each putt is simply that - a putt. Getting in the habit of treating all shots the same can significantly improve performance and consistency. 

3. Stay in the moment 
“I didn’t really know how many under par I was on 13, 14”. With this statement Jordan shows the value of focusing on the task at hand, rather than the scorecard. When playing well, focus on the process. Dwelling on your score only draws attention away from what is necessary to perform your best. 

2. Never focus on the outcome 
Focusing on the final outcome of a round, instantaneously takes you out of the moment and brings distractions that hurt performance. Jordan mentioned that on 15 he saw the scoreboard and realized that he could accomplish a personal first as a professional - shooting 10-under. It led to his lone bogey of the day. “I saw the scoreboard on 15 and maybe tried to push it a little bit”. It was when he got out of the moment and began thinking about final results that he began making errors. Focus on the moment, not the outcome. 

1. It doesn’t have to be “textbook” 
Something I really like about Spieth’s game is the fact that it isn’t overly polished. Don’t get me wrong, he has a great golf swing and rolls putts as good as anyone, but I like how he does it in a way that works for him. Too often we amateurs, and many professionals for that matter, will fall into the trap of thinking that if our games don’t look elite, they can’t be elite. Jordan Spieth has a front foot that moves during the follow through, a non-conventional grip, and a lead arm which bends slightly on the backswing as well as the follow through. But don’t go sounding any alarms. He just used that swing to shoot 64 at the Masters.


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This article was written by Jonathan Carr as part of our Eat Sleep Golf 'Top 10' series.  Jonathan is a talented and passionate golfer surpassed only by his passion for his faith and his family.  Connect with Jonathan on Twitter (@JonathanWCarr) or read some of his other articles here.