While most Americans are relaxing with friends and family today to celebrate the 4th of July, J.T. Poston is preparing to defend his title at this week’s John Deere Classic.
Poston, who won last year’s tournament by three strokes at 21 under, knows that, in order to repeat, he’ll need to stick to his normal routine — even if that means putting in a little work during a holiday week.
“I’m going to try not to put too much pressure on myself and go out and perform like I would normally try to,” he said. “I don’t think there will be any sort of different game plan for the week; other than just looking forward to being back.”
So what is Poston’s game plan coming into the week? Despite being familiar with the course (TPC Deere Run), the 30-year-old says he’ll follow his usual pre-tournament routine — which helps him avoid any surprises on the golf course.
“So usually, we’re getting into town either Sunday night or Monday morning, and the prep starts kind of right away,” he says. “You’re trying to get a feel for the golf course and how it’s playing.
“Is it firm? Is it fast? Is it softer? Getting used to the green speeds and stuff like that, see if there’s some new tees that may have been added since we were here last.”
Poston admits that he’s seen a lot of the courses before, “so there usually aren’t too many surprises; other than maybe the occasional new tee here or there.” Still, he gets in as many rounds as possible leading up to a tournament. By doing this, he’s able to mentally lock in, understanding what it takes to win in a given week.
“So my approach is sort of practicing and working on what I know I need to work on for the week, and then play nine holes on Tuesday and then nine holes in the pro-am on Wednesday,” he said. “That’s just kind of how I approach most weeks.”
This is a great piece of advice for amateurs to follow.
While most of us often play the same courses, it’s important to maintain a practice routine that allows you to gain confidence prior to teeing off — and making a game plan that helps you perform your best.
Once an amateur gets a feel for the golf course and how their game fits within the yardage, pin locations, and conditions, they can develop the right strategy, revealing how aggressive or conservative they should be.
This is something that Poston will do leading up to this week’s John Deere Classic, knowing it’s going to take a low score to defend his title.
“You know going into the week what it sort of takes to win at certain golf courses,” he says. “The John Deere, for example, usually there’s a lot of birdies, so you really want to be good with the putter. You want to hit as many fairways as you can and be sharp with your scoring clubs.
“You kind of attack each week based on the course and sort of how it plays.”