The four-time Ryder Cupper’s approach to practice
By: Garrett Johnston
Looking at the win column doesn’t tell the full story of Paul Casey’s career. Although he’s only amassed three wins on the PGA Tour, he’s accounted for 14 international wins and four Ryder Cup appearances – where he has a winning percentage of 54 percent.
The Englishman is highly respected for his consistent play, dedication to fitness and affable demeanor.
In this month’s issue of Tour Talk, we caught up with Casey to discuss his very regimented practice routine.
Golf Range Magazine: What’s the key to your range sessions?
Paul Casey: It’s either one of two things. I’m either working on technique – in which case I don’t worry about the outcome – or I’m working on the outcome. I try not to merge the two. That applies throughout my whole bag whether it’s putting, driving, chipping or iron shots.
Some weeks my timing gets off and I don’t feel like I’m playing well because of that. So to fix that, I will work on rhythm. I feel like I’m always bouncy at the top, so I try to quiet the transition at the top of my swing.
I can get a little bit too fast off the ball, so that becomes its own range session for me outside the warm-up.
Then I will have other practice sessions just working on cut shots for the particular course I’m about to play, based on outcome. In my mind I’m working my shots starting at a tree and moving it toward the flag.
GRM: How does your time break down in your warm-up?
PC: Twenty-six minutes hitting balls, nine minutes putting. It’s always on the nose and it never changes.
Sometimes we come out and do some extra putting earlier, outside of the warm-up when I’m working on something.
But the warm-up is a warm-up. The warm-up is not worrying about the outcome, just getting ready to go play.
I have a set number of golf balls that I hit, though I’m not great at mathematics (laughs).
9 – lob wedge 4 – 9 iron 3 – 3 iron
9 –56 wedge 5 – 7 iron 3 – 3 wood
9 – 52 wedge 3 – 5 iron 3 – driver
The last one is my tee shot on hole No. 1 – I want to visualize the start of my round.
GRM: Forty-nine balls in 26 minutes, that’s quite a lot to hit in that amount of time. What’s your go-to range drill?
PC: Peter Kostis gives me a couple. For the long, full swing sometimes I don’t turn enough. I slide about too much.
So I take swings with my feet together to encourage a fuller turn. That’s a great one for me.
The other one is a regular stance but I just hinge my wrists so the club is parallel to the ground and set. Then I just turn, and hit it. Helps me to not overthink it.