Jon Rahm says this unique practice routine is key to giving 100% effort
Welcome to Play Smart, a regular GOLF.com game-improvement column that will help you play smarter, better golf.
It’s been an incredible PGA Tour season for Jon Rahm thus far.
Not only did the world’s No. 2-ranked player win the Masters in April (earning his first green jacket and second major title), but he’s finished top-10 in nine tournaments as well, helping him earn lots of money in the process.
There are a number of reasons why Rahm is having such a strong season, but the biggest might be his willingness to put in the work. That means lots of practice and lots of information to rely on when he’s out on the golf course.
Unlike many golfers, though, Rahm’s focused practice routine is a bit different — as he measures his success in time spent on a drill, rather than just completion. This allows him to give 100% effort.
So how does it work? Take a look below to see how Rahm describes his process.
Jon Rahm’s practice routine involves timed challenges
Most amateur golfers typically have the same type of practice, which tends to focus on completing a goal.
For example, you may want to hit five-straight putts on the practice green, or focus on getting three-straight drives in the middle of the fairway, before moving to a different drill. This is a good way to challenge ourselves by adding some pressure to a situation.
But Rahm is a little bit different, saying he doesn’t find it beneficial to practice trying to make a number of different putts in a row.
“I don’t find it personally very productive when I go and just do a drill, or I have to be here until I finish this, make X amount of putts, X amount of this and that,” he said. “Because I don’t feel like I’m giving 100% all the time, right?”
Instead, the 28-year-old Spaniard focuses on timing himself to complete certain drills. This helps him stay focused, and allows him to maximize his effort.
“I think it was basketball coach John Wooden who said he always liked to have the exact amount of time from start to finish, so every player would give 100% instead of reserving energy. So a lot of those games that I have are timed.
“It could be eight minutes, it could be 20 minutes. If I don’t got it done, I don’t get it done — which is very similar to what we do in real life in pretty much anything.”
That type of mentality helps Rahm accept failure, which, in golf, is essential for improving every aspect of your game. It reminds him that things won’t be perfect all of the time.
“You can try as hard as you want, but you won’t always get the chance to succeed, and this is golf,” he said. “So it’s easier to give it my all on a drill for 10 minutes and then change to the next one. Because if you do poorly, you kind of need to let it go and go to the next one and try to accomplish that.”
So instead of only practicing on putting until he makes five in a row, he instead carves out the time he needs to complete certain drills. This allows him to work on a different parts of his game — but admits that even he doesn’t always complete the drill; which he’s OK with.
“It’s not my entire practice, but I can do two or three games in each aspect of the game that, in total, is basically one to two hours. Sometimes I get it done in the first few minutes and it’s done; sometimes I don’t get it done.
“It’s just a way for me to put 100% of my attention and focus on getting something done in that moment, and have it spread out in different segments,” he adds. “When you’re doing other types of work, sometimes, you need repetition.”