Xander Schauffele shares tricks for improving your game without even touching a club
Xander Schauffele is on a mission. Not only is he seeking his first ever major title — after having notched top-10 finishes in all four major championships — but he’s on a mission to prove that he’s the best golfer on the planet.
But Schauffele understands that, in order to accomplish that, it’s going to take work. Not only is he going to have to push himself and grind, but he’s also going to need a little bit of luck as well.
I’m not talking about luck with his game, he already has that down. I’m talking about luck with his health, which is always the biggest unknown factor when it comes to great athletes.
After withdrawing from the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January with a back injury, Schauffele has had to ease into his recovery. While he’s participated in tournaments since — even sinking a beauty of an albatross at the American Express in late January — the 29-year-old knows he can’t push himself before major season comes.
So how is Schauffele’s back now? The current No. 6-ranked player in the world says he’s feeling good, but staying patient.
“It definitely feels better. What I need is just a couple weeks off to recoup — but I’m just not going to get it, unfortunately. It’s sort of a touch and go thing, where I’ll play and get a little sore, but it is what it is. I’ve gotten more scans and nothing’s showing up. My whole team continues to tell me just to stay really patient and to trust them.
He adds: “I can’t really hit as many balls as I’d like, because I need to get as close to 100 percent. They think that in a couple weeks, this lingering thing will slowly go away.”
Schauffele then described his mindset about the injury, saying, “just like a runner who hurts himself, if you keep running, you’re just not going to get better.”
Although Schauffele’s staying patient while he gives his back a break from all the torque and twisting of a golf swing, that doesn’t mean he isn’t still improving his golf game. In fact, if you’re either recovering from an injury or battling chronic pain, he says there are still ways to sharpen your game without swinging a club.
“I always thought that just going to the course and working on my game was the way to get better at golf. But my dad (and coach, Stefan) would always tell me there are several ways to do it.”
“If it’s a rainy day, there’s exercise you can do. If you’re injured and can’t exercise, you can work on your mental game. I know that’s kind of weird to think about, like, ‘oh, it’s raining outside, I’m going to work on my mental game.’ But there are ways to do it, and that’s what I’ve been trying to do — by practicing patience, meditating. I’m doing certain things to get myself in the best mental spot to perform. That’s all you can do at times, and I’ve been getting a little extra practice in that department.”