Brian Harman’s clever mindset to compete with golf’s longest hitters

Brian Harman has never been one of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour, but he also refuses to admit his length is holding him back from success. It’s an important mindset he said he adopted not long ago.

Harman appeared on this week’s GOLF Subpar podcast to discuss what it’s like playing Augusta National in college, teaming up with Anthony Kim at the Walker Cup, and more, but he also went deep on his own game.

Harman, who ranks 144th on Tour in driving distance (291.2 yards) but is 58th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, was asked if he ever gets frustrated with how much of the pro game focuses on distance now.

“At times, yeah,” he said, “but I’ve heard so many guys that hit it around the distance that I do complain and just whinge about how they have no chance. I made a conscious decision about two years ago where I was like, I refuse to believe that. I refuse to believe how far I hit it is limiting me. I don’t care what the stats say; I refuse to give in to that.”

Brian Harman: This is my simple trick for hitting extra-soft flop shots
By: Luke Kerr-Dineen

Harman said it just made it that much more important to focus on other parts of his game, areas where he’s struggled. He said he looked at his Strokes Gained: Approach numbers, which were never as strong as he liked, and he got to work there. He then went a step further and focused on his 100- to 150-yard approaches.

This season, Harman is 114th in SG: Approach, 24th in SG: Around the Green and 20th in SG: Putting.

“It doesn’t really matter how hard you swing it from 100 to 150,” Harman said. “I’m unlimited in my capacity to be good in that spot. I’ve tried to focus on that. And I’ve always had a great short game. I’ve always had good hands around the green, but never really felt like a specialist around the greens. So I’m trying more to be more of an elite short-game guy and double down on that skill.”

It’s turned into a great career. At 34, Harman has two wins, 39 top 10s and over $20 million in career earnings.

You can listen to Harman’s complete Subpar episode below.

Josh Berhow Editor

As’s managing editor, Berhow handles the day-to-day and long-term planning of one of the sport’s most-read news and service websites. He spends most of his days writing, editing, planning and wondering if he’ll ever break 80. Before joining in 2015, he worked at newspapers in Minnesota and Iowa. A graduate of Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minn., he resides in the Twin Cities with his wife and two kids. You can reach him at