The right balance is key when it comes to practice at Augusta National

April 4, 2017 GMT

AUGUSTA — The severe weather may have ruined a couple of golfers’ practice rounds, but at the same time, some golfers suggested a little less practice might make perfect when it comes to preparing for the Masters.

A few of the professionals traditionally like to get in as much practice on the course as possible, but others like to take a more calculated approach to prep for the first major of the season.

Aiken’s Kevin Kisner spent some time last week at Lake Oconee practicing and played nine holes at Augusta National each day this weekend, and he plans to spend a few hours at the course in the days leading up to the tournament.

“I’ve played the golf course enough. I know how it’s going to play and the shots I need to hit,” Kisner said. “For me, I just don’t want to overdo it. I don’t want to be over there grinding Wednesday night hitting balls all night.”

Kisner has the added advantage of playing in his back yard, which makes rest a bit more comfortable.


“It’s a home game for me. I never get to sleep in my own bed during a tournament except for this one,” Kisner said.

Even those who don’t have that added proximity advantage, less is more at times. Rickie Fowler loves spending time at the course, so he admitted it’s a bit of a struggle to make sure he doesn’t stray away from his normal routine. The thunderstorms that rolled through on Monday helped a bit. He generally rests and recovers on Mondays, and having just played in the Shell Houston Open, this week was no different.

“You have to kind of push yourself to stay away to stay rested,” Fowler said. “But the plan is to play 18 tomorrow. And then, yeah, depending on what the weather is for Wednesday, I’d like to get out for nine and then play the Par 3. But Wednesday could be, you know, I know there’s storm potential in the afternoon. But this so far has kind of set up exactly how I wanted to start the week.”

Masters first-timer John Rahm kept himself away from Augusta by playing in the Shell Houston Open last week. Rahm didn’t want to be at home anxiously awaiting the year’s first major.

“I know myself, I probably would have tried to come early and spend too much time here,” Rahm said. “The anticipation would have built up so much high in my head that I wouldn’t have been able to handle the first day.”

Fellow first-timer Tommy Fleetwood suggested that one of the keys to solving the puzzle that is Augusta National isn’t completely abut practice. Fleetwood, from England, came to the tournament as a patron in 2014, and that’s when he saw a lot of what he needed to see to learn a bit about the course.

“I think that’s better than a lot of practice; if you can actually watch the guys that are here and at the time are the best players in the world, watching how they go about their business and what they are doing,” Fleetwood said.