3 drills to improve your game, according to pro caddies

cheyenne knight stands next to her caddie and points into the distancw at the meijer LPGA

Caddies are around elite players as much as anyone.

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It wasn’t long ago that people thought golfers weren’t athletes. Ditto the outdated notion that all caddies are slackers, smokers and scofflaws. Get real. The men and women in smocks today are more essential to the pro game than ever. Part stats nerd, part guru, part pack mule and therapist, a typical looper is both at the center of the action and a side player. What follows this week (and in the Jan./Feb. pages of GOLF Magazine) is a snapshot of the life — and loads of intel for your game.

ICYMI: 9 essential lessons every caddie learns, according to a pro caddie
ICYMI: 10 things a pro caddie would tell you about YOUR game
ICYMI: Joe LaCava opens up on what it takes to carry the bag for the game’s greats

1. Dial in your distance

We’re all going to misread putts from time to time. For me, the most important thing is speed — especially when you get outside of, say, 15 feet. A drill I use — actually, it’s more like a game — is to place an alignment stick two feet behind the hole, then set up putts from 15, 20 and 30 feet. The drill is all about getting the ball to the hole, but not so far past it that it hits the stick. Sinking a putt earns you three points. Rolling it past the hole but short of the stick earns you one point. Leaving it short of the hole loses you a point, and hitting the stick loses you two. Play to 21 with your buddies. It’ll improve your touch around the greens. —Billy Lewis, Steve Flesch’s caddie

2. Groove your takeaway

One of Cheyenne’s favorite drills focuses on her takeaway. She puts a ball directly behind her clubhead and then pushes it straight back as she begins her backswing. It’s a simple drill but one that anyone can use to make sure their takeaway is started on the correct line. —Chad Payne, Cheyenne Knight’s caddie

3. Take dead aim on the greens

It’s pretty standard on the practice putting green, but a drill Harrison started back in 2008 was to set up a three-footer, a six-footer, a nine-footer and a 12-footer, with three balls at each distance. He had to make all three putts before moving to the next distance. A miss meant going back to the three-footer. Eventually, he got to the point where he could jar three in a row from 15 feet. The following year, the drill helped him go from 120th in putting to finishing second [in putts per Greens in Regulation] behind Steve Stricker. —Marcel Lebas, Harrison Frazar’s caddie

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