In February 2016, I had the amazing honor to caddy for LPGA member, Annie Park, at the Coates Golf Championship in Naples, FL. From a young age, Annie was one of my students who I watched from her junior golf days to winning three times on the Symmetra Tour in one year, and now on the LPGA Tour. On Thursday and Friday, we were paired with fellow rookie, Meghan Khang, and the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open champion, Michelle Wie. The First Round was an up and down Even Par-72 for Annie. The weather on the second day took a turn for the worse, as rain and wind hampered the course. It was an early exit after a Second Round 76, but the experiences I left with were amazing! Here are a few things I took away from my caddying experience:
Here Are A Few Things I Took Away From My Caddying Experience
1) Practice With A Purpose – Practicing is not just spending time on the practice facility and swinging away. You must have a specific goal for that practice session. Whether it is to stop hitting the ball thin or heavy, there must be a goal when you step onto the practice tee.
2) Do Not Hit A Shot Without Full Focus – It is essential to have complete focus when practicing on the practice tee, or on the course. Focus is key in order to hit a solid shot. Jason Day is one of my personal favorites for demonstrating this. He closes his eyes, clears his mind, and visualizes the shot he wants to hit. More often than not, he hits the shot he wants!
3) Have A Coach – Many people are afraid that taking a lesson with a PGA pro will change their swing. That is not true; a pro will talk with the golfer and work on ways to improve their swing without changing it. It is not just lessons that pro’s do. We can help with the mental aspect of golf, or improve one’s course management skills. Plus, it is always good to have someone you can talk to about your golf swing.
4) Practice On The Course – You can get a lot by practicing on the course vs the range. Practice on a hole that always gives you variety, find uneven lies, and practice short game situations around the green. Be prepared for that week’s match or tournament.
*You cannot grind on your score for four hours*
5) Don’t Become Too Mechanical – If the hole is a dogleg left, play a draw off the tee; do not over-analyze. Do not think aim down the right side, close the cub face, swing from the inside, and release the clubface. The fewer swing thoughts, the better. Just think “play a draw.” Pick out a target, visualize the shot shape of the ball, and swing to that target.
6) Play Your Game But Be Social – There is no problem with playing a competitive game. Be focused on playing your own game, but be social too.