What average golfers can learn from Chez Reavie and other pros

As one of GOLF’s Top 100 Teachers, and the newly-named 2020 PGA Teacher & Coach of the Year, Mark Blackburn knows a thing or two about how to improve your game. Some of the best players in the world seek him out for his knowledge of swing mechanics, including longtime students and PGA Tour winners Chez Reavie and Kevin Chappell.

During an appearance on this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar, co-host Colt Knost noted that Reavie, in particular, is a pro that the average recreational player can relate to, because Reavie has had a great career on Tour despite the fact he doesn’t overpower golf courses, or have the “wow factor” of players like Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland.

“You just have to embrace what you do,” Blackburn said. “Every player has a personality. Chez is like Floyd Mayweather. Chez isn’t going to knock anyone out with a big punch. I use the analogy [because] Floyd Mayweather doesn’t knock people over — he just jabs people to death, and he wins on technical knockout. That’s Chez on a golf course. He’s precision. He’s going to put the ball in play. He’s sneaky, longer than you think, and then he’s just an incredible iron player. And he’s aggressive. Sometimes he’s a little too aggressive, too many jabs. We try and build a score.

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“Every player is different,” Blackburn continued. “So for him, he’s got control of what he’s doing, he puts the ball in play and leaves the ball in the right position. He’s very disciplined. I would say, the most important thing for most golfers is they’re reckless. If you want to be a good player, there’s a lot of discipline that’s involved. You watch Dustin Johnson, or Brooks Kopeka, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, the stuff they do, physically, they’re the top one percent of the one percent on the planet. So when you see them being aggressive, that’s just not what the average golfer needs to do. Good scoring is the compounding of small gains over every single hole.”

So how can players put that strategy into practice? It’s simple, according to Blackburn.

“Just put the ball on the green and two-putt,” Blackburn said. “If you put the ball on the green from 180 yards and two-putt, you’re going to be strokes-gained positive on the PGA Tour. Not a lot, but a little bit. You do that over 18 holes, that’s how you shoot low scores. And Chez is just masterful at doing that. That’s one of the things that everyone should figure out: What’s your strength, and how do you play golf, and you should just go after that.”

To listen to Blackburn’s entire interview, including his thoughts on the golf swing’s evolution and the difference between coaching beginners and elite players, check out the full video below.

Golf.com Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.