TEE IT UP: Rickie Fowler’s commitment to long-term plan paying dividends

Rickie Fowler holds the trophy after winning the Deutsche Bank Championship
Rickie Fowler holds the trophy after winning the Deutsche Bank Championship

Johnny Foster Golf Academy (JFGA) coaches, Johnny Foster and Chris Gallagher with their weekly look at the golfing world.

Last week on the PGA Tour we saw the second event in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston.

Rickie Fowler took advantage of a faltering back nine by Henrik Stenson to grab a one shot victory.

Fowler has replied very well to earlier comments in the season that he was the ‘most over rated player’ on Tour. He has notched up wins at the Players Championship, Scottish Open and now the Deutsche Bank.

We believe that Rickie’s strong performances over the last two years is great testament to the work he has done with coach Butch Harmon. When Rickie came out onto the PGA Tour he had a very individual style to his swing which, when it was on was very good but when off, left him struggling for consistency. There is a lot amateurs can learn from the ongoing journey of improvement shown by Fowler.

It is something we cannot stress enough to amateur golfers - LASTING IMPROVEMENTS TAKE TIME!

One of the first things we tell any student who comes to improve their golf with us is that they must trust the long term process of getting better and not get obsessed with short term gains. Fowler has made a pretty substantial change to his technique which has taken a long time involving hours and hours of hard work to get there.

So remember, when you commit to making an improvement in your technique, be clear on what you are improving and how you are going to do it. Commit to the process and always remind yourself it is for long term gains, not to play better next week. If you trust in the process you are working on with a good coach then improvements are inevitable.

On the European Tour, Lee Slattery claimed his first win in four years at the M2M Russian Open.

He finished very strongly to pip forgotten man Tano Goya by a shot. It was great to see Slattery grab a win after struggling for form the last few years. A mention also has to go to his caddy, Gerry Byrne, who had also won in Russia in 2013 on the bag of Michael Hoey. I’m sure Gerry will have no problem celebrating the win with Lee!

There were some strong finishes for home players and students of the JFGA this week on tour.

Michael Hoey finished with a 64 on Sunday for a fourth place finish in Russia. On the Challenge Tour JFGA students Chris Selfridge and Niall Turner finshed T9th and T14th in the Cordon Open in France. There was also a top 10 finish for Gareth Shaw. Great to see!

This week see’s the Walker Cup, where GB&I’s best amateur golfers come up against USA’s at Royal Lytham. There is the KLM Open in Holland and one of the biggest events of the year on the Challenge Tour, the Kazakhstan Open.

Quick Tip

At the JFGA, we come across a lot of amateurs who tend to strike their irons pretty consistently but then when it gets to hitting pitch shots they struggle to replicate that consistent ball striking.

Often, this is related to a lack of synchronisation between the body and the arms. In a full shot they have no problem turning back and turning through to return the centre of the clubface to the ball.

Although when hitting a pitch shot they tend to take too long of a backswing with the arms, forcing them to decelerate through the ball. This leads to inconsistencies in strike.

A good checkpoint to follow when practicing your pitching is to make sure that your chest dictates the swing length and controls the arms. We have watched the best pitchers in the world and one thing that they have in common is that they use their body to control the motion. At the finish position, their chest will always be pointing towards their target or slightly left of their target.

So next time you are practicing, try and focus on getting the chest facing the target at the finish position and that is sure to help you strike them pitch shots cleaner.

Thanks for reading. If you would like to find out more about the Johnny Foster Golf Academy please visit www.johnnyfostergolfacademy.com to view details on our coaching offers and Improvement programmes.

Until next time...