Daniel Berger’s stellar play down the stretch enabled him to defend his title at the FedEx St. Jude Classic over the weekend. He played flawless, bogey-free golf on Sunday, carding a pair of birdies on each nine.
Berger’s ascendance is no accident. The 24-year-old has devoted himself to a rigorous practice routine, which is paying off in a big way. Earlier this year, Berger shared his secrets in the February 2017 GOLF magazine cover story, and what works for him can make a big impact on your game too. Read on for his advice on how to nail your approach shots.
TARGET YOUR WEAKNESS TO START PURING YOUR IRONS
Berger says: Efficient practice beats extended practice any day of the week. But every swing, every ball, must have a purpose—rifling through a bucket won’t help. A way to be highly efficient is to target your errors. My common iron misses are cuts and pulls. Like you, I can get too steep on my downswing, the error that causes these mis-hits. Sure, I could bang balls until my swing gets dialed in, but that takes time (and money, if you pay by the bucket). My coach, new Top 100 Teacher Jeff Leishman, gave me a drill that cures in a few swings what used to take dozens of balls to fix. Follow the steps below, and kiss your cut good-bye.
1. Tee a ball up about three inches off the ground. (Use a long-drive tee, if you have to.) Swing, using your 7-iron. Your goal is to sweep the ball off the tee.
2. If you swing down too steeply, you’ll pop it up. Let your body “react” to the ball, as you did in the landing-spot drill on the opposite page.
3. After a few swings, your hand-eye coordination will kick in, and your swing will automatically flatten out through impact and catch the ball square. I never worry about “positions” when I practice. Drills like this one naturally groove good feels that soon become habits.