The practice routines that pros use are *extra* apparent at the Masters

Pro golfer hits shot during 2024 Masters at Augusta National

What the pros do best is something that the Masters highlights perfectly.

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Welcome to Shaving Strokes, a series in which we’re sharing improvements, learnings and takeaways from amateur golfers just like you — including some of the speed bumps and challenges they faced along the way.

The Masters pits the best players in the world against one another, so it’s no surprise that each and every competitor works a little harder than normal to prepare for the grind that Augusta National presents.

Still, even with hours of golf practice throughout the week, the course can chew guys up before spitting them out — which we saw happen during Round 2 on Friday to reigning Open Championship winner Brian Harman!

But a poor performance rarely occurs due to a lack of practice.

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These guys grind at the range and on the practice green, watch what they eat, prime their bodies, and go through intense mental exercises in the hopes of piecing it all together in order to compete. Sometimes it works, and other times it doesn’t.

The dedication to their craft is apparent, and PGA Golf Professional Brendon R. Elliott — who’s currently on the ground at the Masters this week — says that there’s lots to learn from the pros during their preparation, with the first major of the season only highlighting how differently the pros are built compared to the amateur golfer.

So what can every golfer learn from the practice routines that pros use? Elliott highlights some thoughts below.

Everything is intentional at the Masters

What I love most about the Masters and Augusta National is how everything is perfectly planned and executed.

From parking and the flow of patron traffic around the course, to the storied and historic traditions, to the most perfectly manicured turf and one of the best practice facilities in the world, nothing is accidental here at Augusta National.

And why should it be? It’s the center of the golf universe for an entire week, providing a chance to celebrate the game and revel in decades-long tradition. Because of this, the media is able to capture nearly every moment along the way, getting a small glimpse into what separates top professionals from the average golfer.

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As a golf instructor, this is the part that excites me most.

It’s not just how these guys play the game, it’s more so how they plan, prepare, and execute every moment of their week. From practice routines, practice rounds, scheduled workout times, and even sleep schedules, we get an inside look at the player’s weeks like no other event in golf provides us.

Turns out, everything done at the Masters is done with intention — and a player’s golf practice routine is no different.

What separates the pros’ golf practice from yours

At Augusta National, the tournament’s practice facility allows for visitors to watch players as they do their practice work. In fact, this entire facility celebrates practice — yes, Allen Iverson, we talkin’ ’bout practice!

For the 12 times I’ve made the trip to the Masters, I’ve made it a point to set up shop and watch players’ golf practice, as I find it remarkable to see how much time they spend on every facet of the game.

I pay attention to what technology and training aids they use, and look to hijack the practice drills they incorporate while working on putting.

From how they stretch, eat, hydrate, pace themselves while hitting balls (and any and everything in between), I watch and make mental notes.

For instance, just this morning (prior to Round 2 teeing off), I noticed how players used each one of their clubs in the bag to work on flighting shots in order to battle the windy conditions. I’m not just talking about a few minutes, either, but hours, using clear intention with each swing.

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I saw the same type of dedication on the practice green from behind No. 1’s tee box — which is at one of the highest points on the property, exposing it to the wind. Players were circling the hole and hitting putts from all directions, just seeing how the wind might impact a shot.

This is what makes these guys the best players in the world.

Sure, they all have talent, impeccable ball-striking ability, a soft touch, and are able to visualize success on each shot — but those aren’t the things that lead to victories.

Here’s a secret: It’s their planning and preparation.

It’s finding the right routine for them and consistently sticking to it, incorporating that schedule into their golf practice day in and day out. So if they do those parts well, the execution will take care of itself.

So what can you learn from the routines of these players? Ask yourself these following questions: How often do you practice? Is your practice structured? How do you prepare for important rounds?

Many amateurs will struggle to answer those questions, and if that’s you, I suggest watching and trying to emulate the pre-tournament prep that players at the Masters use. Doing so will shave strokes off your game.

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Brendon R. Elliott, PGA Golf Professional Contributor

Nick Dimengo Editor