European Tour caddy Sean Russell on preparing for a round just like the best in the world
There are hundreds of things tour professionals do better than amateurs, and while the vast majority of players will never swing the golf club like Rory McIlroy or Bryson DeChambeau, there are two very simple things you can do just like their caddies Harry Diamond and Tim Tucker which will improve your scores without any practice.
The first one is really obvious and a real bugbear among caddies – keep your clubs clean! The clubface is your only contact with the golf ball, so it’s important to give yourself as good an opportunity as possible to make consistent contact. Tests have shown having dirty grooves on your seven iron (never mind clumps of mud on the clubface!) can reduce ball speed by up to 5% and half the amount of backspin you create, yet so many amateurs turn up on the first tee with clubs caked in mud. That said, we’ve all worked for pros who’ll turn up on the range at a tournament after a couple of weeks at home with equally filthy clubs.
All you need to do is keep a quarter of your towel wet, then just wipe down your club after every shot. Do that and you’ve exactly matched something every player in the world’s top 100 does.
The second thing the professionals all do is to have enough to eat and drink in their golf bags. No matter what the conditions are like, you need to take on enough water. Most pros will have something to drink on every hole and in places like South Africa, they can take on more than four litres while they’re on the course. The pros have access to water on every tee box, but you can always keep at least 1ltr in your golf bag and drink small amounts regularly.
It’s also important to eat on the golf course. Bananas, nuts and protein bars are all popular choices on tour – Double Deckers are sadly becoming less popular – while more and more players are turning to energy gels used by cyclists to get a regular burst of energy. The key is to keep a good schedule and increase the frequency you eat as the round progresses.
By preparing your bag and matching just two of the things the professionals do, you’ll give yourself a great chance of reducing your scores without ever setting foot on the practice ground.