What can Amateur Golfers take from Brooks Koepka’s Record-Breaking Rise to No. 1 in the World?
After winning his first major at the 2017 U.S. Open, Brooks Koepka was looking for an even bigger season in 2018. However, a wrist injury at the end of the 2017 season forced Koepka to miss the 2018 Masters and face the possibility that rehabbing the wrist would cost the golfer the 2018 season.
But Koepka’s wrist responded to therapy, and the golfer made his way to the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock hoping for a strong showing. After an opening round 75, Koepka looked to be doomed to miss the cut. But the Florida-native bounced back to shoot a second round 66, setting the stage for a remarkable weekend of golf.
Koepka’s final round 68 clipped Tommy Fleetwood by one stroke for the 2018 U.S. Open title. Koepka became the first golfer to win the U.S. Open back-to-back since Curtis Strange in the late 1980s.
Brooks followed his win at Shinnecock with his third major victory at the 2018 PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club. The two major wins vaulted Koepka to the number one ranking in the world.
So with his remarkable climb to the top of the golfing world, amateurs are asking is there anything we can take from Koepka’s game that will improve our own? Here are five areas of Koepka’s golf game that are worth stealing for your next practice session or trip to the golf course.
1.) Finding the Best Driver For Your Game
Koepka is one of the more confident players on the PGA Tour. A great deal of his confidence comes from believing in his equipment, especially off the tee box. Koepka can bomb a drive when he needs it, and at the 2018 PGA Championship, the golfer set the tone for his win by crushing 320+ yard drives down the stretch when other golfers were laying up and playing safe.
Brooks loves his TaylorMade M3 460 driver because the movable weights allow him to set the club in a way that allows for maximum launch angle and distance. Every amateur should heed Koepka’s advice and find an adjustable driver that boosts their game off the tee box.
2.) Hitting the Sweet Spot is the Way to Lower Scores
One of Koepka’s more remarkable golf traits is his accuracy from the fairway. His ability to strike the center of the clubface with high regularity is a primary reason for his success. For amateurs looking to improve, and particularly high handicappers, a great drill is to head to the range with a can of foot spray.
Before you hit golf balls, coat the face of the club with a light mist of the spray. As you hit, you’ll be able to see where you’re striking the golf ball. Most amateur golfers overswing, so if you are erratic with your impact point, slightly decrease the swing speed for better contact.
3.) Know Your Alignment to the Target
Koepka has spoken often about how his coach, Claude Harmon III, preaches alignment to the target when he practices. Brooks knows that when he gets wayward with his entry shots into greens during tournaments that there is a reason and works to correct that during his time with Harmon III.
For amateur golfers, alignment to the target is something that is rarely worked on and checked throughout a round. Like Koepka, if you find that your shots are consistently drifting off the mark, ask a playing partner to help you find the correct line. This is true including in bunker shots where the use of a different club (the wedge) forces you to adapt to a non-straight line. Then when you practice, find a routine to help you align your body correctly when addressing the golf ball.
4.) If Your Putting is Off, then Change Your Grip
Feeling that his putting was becoming inconsistent, Koepka began to experiment with different putting grips. Before his win at the 2017 U.S. Open, Brooks finally settled on an overlapping grip where the bottom two fingers on his right hand became intertwined with the middle and index finger on his left hand. Koepka finished the grip with his right index finger pointed straight down the putting grip to assist with feel at impact.
If you find yourself struggling to find confidence in your putting stroke, then head to the practice green and hit putts with several different styles of grips to find the one that might boost your confidence and unlock your putting game.
5.) Take Kopeka’s Mindset to the Course
It is undeniable that Koepka is one of the more intense players on the PGA Tour. His competitive edge fuels his aggressive and bold play during majors. Okay, so maybe your weekly Skins game with your friends doesn’t have the same pressures as playing in a major, but you can replicate Koepka’s intensity on a shot by shot basis.
Amateurs tend to have mental lapses during their round causing their final score to balloon. Next time you head to the course, expend more brain power, like Koepka, dissecting your upcoming shot. Find a routine that carries you from finding your target line to following through on your swing. You’ll find more consistency and enjoyment in your game.