Golf Range Magazine: Do you think about specific shots from the course when you’re practicing and preparing for Augusta National?
Brandt Snedeker: I think a little bit of the course, but definitely with the driver I’m thinking of turning the driver over with my right-to-left shots. I’m also making sure my misses are right and not left. Most of the trouble on the course is left. Which is interesting, because Augusta is such a draw biased golf course (for right handers), but there’s a lot of room to the right and not so much to the left.
So the biggest thing that the ball is starting out to the right and either turning over a little or staying right. With irons, you’re not really thinking about the course, you just are thinking of good contact and shaping your shots on command.
GRM: With that said, let’s talk a little about your normal pre-round routine.
Snedeker: Before I go out on the course, if I’m working on takeaway and keeping my right arm more in, whatever it may be, I make sure I drill all of that in my warm-up. I’m also trying to get an idea where the ball is curving that day. Is it curving, is it not curving? Figuring out how I’m going to be playing that day by how I hit the ball on the range. I use the pre-round warm-up as a barometer of what I need to pay attention to in my swing.
I’ll then move on and do some short game stuff starting with chips out of the fairway and then chips out of the rough. I’m looking to see how the ball is reacting on the greens. I’ll then hit a few bunker shots. Ten minutes of chipping and bunker. Five minutes of putting before I go to the range and 10 minutes of putting after the range. It’s the last thing I do before I go to the first tee.
I used to practice putting, hit the range, chip and then go straight to the first tee. But if you think about it, that way you can go an hour or almost two hours before you even putt again. So that last 10 minutes of putting has been something I added.
GRM: Any more details you can give us on how you breakdown the range routine?
Snedeker: After putting practice to start, I’m on the range 40 minutes before my tee time. I’m hitting 10-15 wedges, probably a total of 30 iron shots, and probably a few 5-woods, a few 3-woods and a few drivers. No more than five or six each.
If something is off, then I might spend more time on a different one wood vs. another, just to get some kind of consistent feel that I can accomplish for that day.
GRM: Any go-to drills at the moment?
Snedeker: I have a little drill I do before I go out on the course. I use chalk lines and make sure the putter is going along the proper arc. There are a few things I check on the chalk line every morning, and it’s all about the right arc in my stroke.
Before I go to the first tee, I’m just really drilling on pace; making sure that my pace is good and that I’m on line. [It helps] build some confidence before I go to the first tee. I always want to have a good feel for the [green] speed before I go to the first tee, I feel like that’s the most important thing before you go out there on the golf course. You’ve got to make sure you’re comfortable hitting long putts and short putts on the greens.
GRM: What should amateurs work on more in our pre-round routines?
Snedeker: Most amateurs don’t like to practice what they’re bad at before they go out there. A lot of times it’s important to work on a drill to help you be a little better every time you play.
If you’re not a good putter, then work on a chalk line drill – so you can see what a straight putt looks like and can work on your stroke.
If you’re a bad chipper, practice some chip shots early. Work hard on keeping your weight on your left side. If you work on that throughout the course of your spring/summer it will incrementally get better. It’s not going to get better every single round, but throughout the course of your golf season you will see results.
GRM: Interesting. So for you personally, what are some misses or weakness you like to focus on the range?
Snedeker: When my right arm gets high on the backswing, my clubface gets shut and the ball goes left. I really try to make sure my right arm stays down and my clubface rotates through, so I can come in shallow. When I do that, I accelerate better.
Anytime I start hitting them left I know my arm is getting high, clubface gets shut, and I’m trying to hang on for dear life at that point. When I feel the clubface rotate and get more open in the backswing I feel like I can release it harder