Why Brooks Koepka has an ‘odd’ practice range routine

Brooks Koepka of SMASH GC hits a shot during day three of the LIV Golf Invitational - Hong Kong at The Hong Kong Golf Club on March 10, 2024 in Hong Kong, China.

Brooks Koepka hits a shot during the 2024 LIV Golf Invitational in Hong Kong.

Getty Images

While golf fans in the States were sleeping, Brooks Koepka won LIV Golf Singapore, which comes just two weeks before his PGA Championship title defense, where he’ll attempt to win his fourth. Even at practice, the guy likes his odds. Here’s a snippet of an interview held on the Biltmore GC driving range in Miami, filming an episode of GOLF’s Warming Up. You can watch the complete video below.

Dylan Dethier: On the range, what club do you start with?

Brooks Koepka: I always start with 56 [degree wedge].

DD: What are you thinking about when you’re standing over those first shots?

BK: You’re not going to like this answer, but I don’t think about anything. Like, every golfer knows you can have the worst warm-up of your career and go and play great. Last year at the PGA, Saturday and Sunday were the worst warm-ups I’ve had in a long time. But it really doesn’t matter. It’s just a warm-up session. Shouldn’t be an issue.

DD: What club next?

BK: I’m an odds guy. I go 9 [iron], 7, 5.

DD: Every time?!

BK: Every time. Like, even when I’m home practicing I don’t practice with any even clubs. So it’s the same clubs every single time. That way it’s the same thing every time. But all the odd clubs wear out so quick.

DD: So you’re never hitting, like, 6-iron except in an actual round.

BK: Yeah. That’s basically it.

DD: And you’re not thinking about anything while you’re hitting?

BK: Nope.

Koepka clinched his fifth major at the 2023 PGA barely a month after posting a T2 at Augusta.
Koepka clinched his fifth major at the 2023 PGA barely a month after posting a T2 at Augusta. Getty Images

DD: How about on the first hole, on your approach? You’ve got 9-iron. When you stand over that, are you thinking anything?

BK: No, I just try to make it a reaction sport. Think about it. If you ball up a piece of paper and chuck it at the trash can, usually it goes in. But if you stand there and you think about it — like, you see it in guys. They make the extra waggle and you’re like, Oh boy, this isn’t going to be good. I make it a reaction sport. I don’t care if it fades or draws as long as it goes close to the pin.

DD: How much do you practice?

BK: Quite a lot. But in my head, I don’t. In my head, I don’t work hard enough. In my head, I’m the laziest guy in the world. But if you watch me, if you come practice with me, I’m there quite a bit. Like, I was at Grove [XXIII, in South Florida] right before Augusta last year, and I think everybody was getting tired of seeing me there all day, every day.

DD: So how is that not working hard?

BK: If you always think you’re not the hardest-working guy, it drives you to work a little bit harder, right? If I think somebody is outworking me, it motivates me to be like, Okay, I have to get to that point. And then, even when you win, it’s still not good enough.

DD: I guess there has to be something a little screwy about you to get to where you are.

BK: [Laughs] There’s something wrong with every great athlete, with all the guys that are the best at what they do. I think they’re a little crazy. So I guess I definitely go into that crazy category.

DD: Is there other stuff you’re really good at? Like, if we were to play beer pong or cornhole or other games where it’s kind of stationary and it involves hand-eye and some mental toughness, would you win?

BK: [Holding an icy stare] I’ll beat you in bags all day long.

DD: Do you love golf?

MASH GC Captain Brooks Koepka lines up his fourth shot on the 18th hole during day three of the LIV Golf Invitational - Jeddah at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club on October 16, 2022 in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia.
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BK: I love the competition. I think the misconception [that I don’t love golf ] comes from me not fully explaining it. I love playing golf, I love working hard, but it also is a job. Any athlete can say it’s fun when they first start playing, right? Then you realize that there is a business side of this. It’s not just, Hey, I’m just going to go out there and have some fun today. Like, no, I have to go play well. But I enjoy the competition.

DD: What’s the most fun part of the game, other than being in contention? Like, if you’re just at home —

BK: I’m awful. If I play with my dad, my brother, I mean, I’m lucky to break par.

DD: Really?

BK: I can’t do it mentally. I can’t get in the same place. I can’t just hit a golf shot for no reason. Like, when I’m practicing for the majors, every ball I’m hitting on that range, every putt means something to me.

DD: But even with lesser events leading into majors, you just can’t quite get there?

BK: It’s not that. I might be using it for prep or I might be trying to work on something. And week in, week out is great. I’d love to win those more often. I’m not saying I don’t care about any other event, but, I mean, I spent all December working for Augusta. Five months out and my head’s already there, and I’m just counting down.

All the guys that are the best at what they do, I think they’re a little crazy. So I guess I definitely go into that crazy category.

DD: Is there little stuff that gets to you? Like, playing partners that make you go, ‘I really don’t like playing with this guy?’

BK: I think it’s tougher playing with friends because they want to chat. I’m like, ‘I don’t care how good of friends we are, we ain’t chattin’. I’m here to do my work and then, when we’re done, I’ll see you in the locker room, we’ll chat.’ But for those four, five hours that we’re out there, I’m going to go play golf. Then we’ll be friends.

DD: One of the most fascinating friendships in golf is you and Rory McIlroy, because it seems like you can each borrow something from each other. Is that accurate? Is there anything that you can learn from him and he can learn from you?

BK: When I was first coming up, maybe from [age] 12 to 16, I don’t want to say idolized, but I looked up to him. And I was trying to figure out how he goes about it. And that’s what I think I did — I’d pick up from Dustin Johnson, Graeme McDowell, Rory. I’d try to grab little things from this guy here, this guy there, and make it my own. But then our friendship developed over the years. I’ve enjoyed playing with him, playing against him. I’m pretty sure he’s done the same. I mean, Rory’s a good dude. We’re all pretty good friends. And I think everybody understands everybody’s position. We’ve got no ill will. They’ve got to do their job, I’ve got to do mine. And as long as you’re honest — I think Rory was honest with me. I was honest with him. And it goes a lot better that way.

DD: What’s the final shot of your session?

BK: I’ll finish with a wedge, then go chip and get yelled at by [short-game coach] Pete Cowen because I’m doing something wrong. I’ll hit a few chips, then go hit putts. I’ll just hit a couple from three feet, make a couple of ’em before I go. That’s the big thing. You see a ball go in the hole, it’s like, All right, let’s get it going.

Dylan Dethier

Dylan Dethier

Golf.com Editor

Dylan Dethier is a senior writer for GOLF Magazine/GOLF.com. The Williamstown, Mass. native joined GOLF in 2017 after two years scuffling on the mini-tours. Dethier is a graduate of Williams College, where he majored in English, and he’s the author of 18 in America, which details the year he spent as an 18-year-old living from his car and playing a round of golf in every state.