By Garrett Johnston
Two-time LPGA Major Champion, Brittany Lincicome, spent her quarantine with family, taking care of her one-year-old daughter Emery. She watched some of her favorite TV shows and went on weekly fishing trips with her husband, Dewald. The eight-time LPGA Tour winner has developed a lasting fifteen-year pro career and often gets recognized for her booming drives. She spoke with us about where the distance comes from and how we can improve our range and overall practice regimen.
Golf Range Magazine (GRM): What got you started in golf?
Brittany Lincicome (BL): My dad got me started in golf when I was nine. I’d always played with my brothers, so I learned to hit it far playing with them. I got to meet Tiger Woods when I was twelve because I’d volunteer as a standard-bearer at the old JC Penney Classic mixed Tour event. I did it so many years that I got to know the guy in charge of standard-bearers, so he let me pick which group I wanted to go with and I always picked John Daly and Laura Davies because I loved how far they’d always hit the ball. It was just so cool to be inside the ropes and to be around them. Now, when I see fans who are kids as standard-bearers, I try to talk to them walking down the fairways, because I remember doing that when I was little and I remember when pros would talk to me and thinking ‘oh my gosh, this so cool!’
GRM: What are we amateurs doing wrong in our warmup?
BL: There’s usually no warmup (laughs). You’re usually rolling in late – you throw your clubs on the cart – you do some of these body twists and then you go to the tee. Obviously, the warmup is a big part of it, but we’re all getting older and you’re likely not as limber as you used to be.
If you could carve out five minutes to go to the range, start with a wedge – start slow, don’t just grab the driver right away. Get a kind of feel and a tempo for your swing for that day. Then, obviously chipping and putting is an extra bonus if you have the time. I think a lot of amateurs try to go too fast too quickly and as a result their swing is really quick for the day, especially mine. So, start with some 50-yard wedge shots and then work your way up slowly from there. Even if it’s just 5 minutes, just start with that wedge and work your way up.
GRM: What if we have 20-25 minutes, how should we spend our time?
BL: I think it’s great to hit more shots on the range. If you spend a little bit more time putting, that’s important. Putting and chipping are the first things to go when you don’t do it enough. So, for people who are at work and don’t get to play every day, hitting the ball [may not be] a problem. If you have time to work on your lag putts that’s very important, and then there’s those five-foot putts you need to nail down. Everyone needs to practice those knee knockers for sure. Hit a few chips, a couple lag putts, a couple of short putts, and then I think you’ll be ready.
GRM: Any drills you’d encourage us to work on during our range time?
BL: I don’t really do too many drills. With putting, I normally just work with a chalk line or a shaft that you can put down to make sure your stroke is a straight-back and straight-through kind of a motion. You could also go for inside to inside. When I’m on the range I usually work on my wedges 50, 60, 70, 80 yards. I usually have towels out there and baskets. I like to hit to a basket, some kind of target. We have a bell on my range here (in Florida), so I always try to hit the bell. With driver, it can be pretty exhausting to hit too many of those on the range. I normally hit three or five drivers, then go do some lag putting and work on some short putts.
GRM: How long is your pre-round practice routine?
BL: It’s probably 50 minutes. I feel like I go to the range for an hour but I usually talk for ten minutes so the routine is 50 minutes. I hit balls for probably 20 minutes, chip for like five minutes, putt for 20 minutes, use the restroom, and then go to the tee. It’s the same pre-shot routine every single day. Whether it’s before or after my round, I always hit my lob wedge, my sand wedge, 7-iron, 5-iron, hybrid, woods, and driver. The 9-iron doesn’t get hit, 8-iron, 6-iron – they don’t even have marks on them. I just don’t like those clubs. It might be a superstition, I don’t know (laughs).
GRM: How do we as weekend golfers want to feel as we go to the first tee from our range session?
BL: Go with an open mind. I see a lot of pro-am partners and they are super nervous to play in front of a pro golfer. Honestly, we don’t care how you play. The name of the game is having fun that day. So just go out and have fun. A lot of amateur golfers just put too much pressure on themselves. They want to hit that great shot and they get really upset when they don’t hit that great shot. But if you only really play once or twice a week, you can’t really have that expectation that you’re going to go shoot 65. You’re going to hit bad shots, so when you hit them just remember to try to eliminate the next bad one. Don’t dwell on it and then make an eight on the hole, try to get it back in play and make the fewest amount of shots on that hole. Ease up on yourself a little bit.
GRM: What’s the best way we can prepare on the range if we are about to play a brand-new course?
BL: I actually feel like that makes it a lot easier. I always thought if I go to a new golf course and I don’t know where the trouble is, then in my head, I think ‘ok, don’t hit it right here because there’s water over there.’ When you say that in your head, you’re going to hit it right and right into the water. So, I feel like an amateur going to a new course works as an advantage for you. I feel like me going to the US Open a month before to get a feel for the golf course – I don’t really do that – I don’t want to put extra pressure on myself. But when you’re on that range, work on your tempo and you’ve just got to play with what you got. Don’t try to change it on the golf course because that’s going to make it go even more sideways.