The best golf tip five-time PGA Tour winner Max Homa ever received came not from a Tour range or in a private session with a high-priced instructor but from his first golf coach when Max was only 10 or 11 years old.
“We were talking about a tournament I had just played,” Homa recalled recently during an interview with GOLF. “I didn’t play well and he said, ‘What’s easier to do: to shoot four under with four birdies or seven birdies?’ And I said, ‘Four birdies.’
“And he said, ‘Stop making frickin’ bogeys.'”
A request much easier said than done, but Homa knew what his coach was getting at.
“Making seven birdies is hard. Making four is a lot easier,” Homa said. “I still think about that when I start getting aggressive, and I look at the end of my rounds, I think to myself, you know, if I’m going to dumb in three to four birdies, I can play fairly protective to not make bogeys at this level.
“That one has resonated.”
The former NCAA individual champion said playing conservatively and not trying to force birdies leads to fewer bogeys. That’s something he’s said he’s learned throughout his career, even if one key member of his team might disagree.
“I’m sure Joe would argue that I’m not great at it,” Homa said jokingly of his caddie Joe Greiner. “But in between clubs going for a par-5 in two and you think you have to get it up by the green to make birdie, and you can lay back and you can make birdie still and then you can also make par and be fine.
“So a little bit more realistic and a little bit more cautious at times.”