By Garrett Johnston
Rickie Fowler is one of the PGA Tour’s most popular players, a fan-favorite for sure, and for good reason. With every PGA Tour event that I’ve covered over the past ten years, I have noticed Fowler taking more time than most other players, engaging with spectators and signing autographs for fans. It doesn’t matter if it’s a hot, humid afternoon or a more comfortable day, Fowler always makes time for his fans. With five PGA Tour wins and eight career top-five’s in majors, Fowler’s game is impressive too. We recently went on the range with the likable Rickie Fowler:
Golf Range Magazine: I noticed you use an alignment stick in the ground in front of you, does that help with your start-line?
Rickie Fowler: I’m always working on making sure I’m in a good spot, in the takeaway and at the top of my swing, just to allow myself to then go ahead and swing. With the stick in front of me there I’m working on making sure the ball is not starting off to the right. Just start it on a tight…line. I’m really trying to get it in a good spot, and then fire and start the swing as you should with your lower body. Go ahead then and cover, and start it where you’re aiming versus the ball starting right or off-line.
GRM: What are some drills that you like on the range?
RF: For the most part I’m always checking alignment, starting out, kind of where the ball’s at, working on ball flight. I would say a big thing warming up is always rhythm and tempo. Starting slower and then kind of building in with speed. Kind of making sure, you don’t want the takeaway to get too quick. That’s where I get out of rhythm. I’m kind of making sure everything falls into place.
GRM: Is there anything you consciously do to slow it down?
RF: No, it’s more something I have to do personally. I have to be conscious to just let it happen and not get quick, not force it.
GRM: What are some good thoughts and habits for amateurs to have on the range?
RF: I think the big thing is to go to the tee with only one or two swing thoughts. And know that you’ve put the work in and that you just have to trust in that, and focus on one or two things during your round. For me, a lot of times there’s tempo. There are little checkpoints here and there and things that I’m just consciously aware of. [Things like] making sure I stay on top of the ball, not moving away. Nice and smooth off the ball. There are a lot of times when I’m just thinking from setup “Alright, get the club back to center, try and just hit the ball out of the center.” So, all the time keep it simple.
GRM: Any good alignment thoughts we should remember on the range?
RF: For me, I’ll line up to divots or little things in front of me to make my alignments as easy as possible. Sometimes your eyes are a little off depending if you’re 50 yards out or 250 yards out. I’m looking in the distance, so lining up with little things right in front of me, those are things I always do.
One of the things I go to, especially on the driver, is I’m literally only thinking of hitting it out of the center of the face. It’s a lot harder for the ball to move that far offline if it’s hit on the center versus hit off the heel or the toe – so that’s usually one of my go-to’s. Definitely, under pressure too, I’ll tell myself “keep it slow and smooth on the takeaway – hit it out of the center”.